If you were forced to read ‘The Great Gatsby’ at any point throughout your high school career – or watched the Leo DiCaprio starring 2013 movie – then you probably know the difference between ‘old money’ vs. ‘new money’. Put simply, old money rich tends to follow the “quiet luxury”, Succession aesthetic, whilst new money rich is stereotyped as having red Lamborghinis and Balenciaga bags. However, lately it seems that the order is being upturned. There’s a new new money being established: influencers.
In a traditional context, an old money family could be considered the Rothschilds or Vanderbilts. They have the kind of surnames you’d hear on Gossip Girl, but you probably don’t know any of their first names or at least don’t hear them often. They’re often known for coming over to America on the Mayflower, which is where the term old money comes from: because their money is f***king generations old.
On the other hand, new money is Silicon Valley rich. It’s tech moguls, celebrities, and self-made billionaires. It’s the Kardashian clan. Stereotypically, old money rich is associated with a more classy, understated, “quiet luxury” aesthetic, whilst new money rich brings connotations of flashiness, excess, and flaunting of their new-found wealth. However, it seems that new money’s been undergoing a bit of a rebrand lately.
This all started with Sofia Richie’s wedding, where a young, new money couple established themselves in an old money aesthetic through carefully considered clothing, catering, location, and guest invites. Then, Kylie Jenner used her recent trip to Paris to completely alter her wardrobe, swapping out skin-tight bodysuits for tailored, white gowns and classic, black dresses.
Similarly, at Coachella Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber subverted their usual glittery fits for plain, denim jeans and a crop-tops, and suddenly it all started to make sense. As the new money rich decided they no longer want to be considered new money, someone had to replace them, and you already know who it is: influencers are the new new money.
Given the growing influencer industry, with the job actually being pretty lucrative when done right, it’s no wonder that influencers are beginning to be seen by the wealthy as a threat to the new money/old money order. As they become a part of the new money category, those already established as new money will want to differentiate themselves, and that’s exactly what the Richies and Kardashians are doing.
Really we should just drop the whole, new vs. old money divide, given the whole concept is so out-dated and elitist. But, to be honest, new money or old money – it’s all the same to us. Whether we’re talking about recently established new money influencers or the old money descendants of some oil-tycoon, no one is safe from the “eat the rich” campaign.
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