Monday, November 12, 2012

What do Americans Really Think about Top Fashion Designers?

A lot of my peer group think I'm an eccentric bisexual, like I may even have an ammonia-filled tentacle somewhere on my body.  That's okay.  
~ Robert Downey Jr.  

I recently learned about a delightful way to gain insights into the thoughts of typical Americans.  Maybe you've heard of it?  It's called Google Autofill.  

It's simple, really - you just start to type a query into Google, and it automatically fills in the most common searches that started the same way.  This shows you the common assumptions and burning questions on the minds of the American public.

The example that I saw was investigating stereotypes about states by looking at the first 4 responses to the query "Why is --fill in your state here--  so"

For example, if you enter "Florida" for the state,  and Google the phrase Why is Florida so, you get these responses:
  • hot
  • stupid
  • flat
  • crazy
Hence, we gain some insight into what the typical American thinks about Florida.  ;)

I thought I'd try it with famous fashion designers.  I used the stem "Is --fashion designer name--".  For example, I typed Is Donna Karan into Google and looked at the top 4 Autofill queries.

So, what do you think?  What are the most common stereotypes about top fashion designers?

Here is the result of my "research":

The most common query about fashion designers is whether or not they are gay.  This query came back as one of the top 4 most popular queries for 14 out of the 20 designers that I checked!  

The second most common query - returned on 10 out of 20 designers - was whether or not each is dead or alive.  

Tied for 3rd place - coming up on 7 out of 20 designers - was whether or not each is married and some variation on whether or not that designer's brand is a good brand, high quality or expensive.  

Finally, the one that struck me as odd, for 5 out of 20 designers, one of the top 4 popular queries was whether or not that designer is Jewish.  What's up with that?  

Some of the queries are kind of unfortunate.  Poor Kate Spade and Liz Claiborne - top queries on them include whether or not they are real people!  And lots of people want to know if Donatella Versace is a man or a transvestite...  

And Alexander McQueen?  Well, obviously, everyone wants to know if he is related to Steve McQueen!  ;)

Want the gory details?  Here is a breakdown by designer name and queries:  

Were you surprised?  I must admit, I was kind of surprised by some bits - like why would Jewish (5) and racist (3) come up so often?  And I guess I was kind of surprised by the fact that 65% of the most popular queries run on 20 different famous fashion designers can be covered by 5 questions - are they gay? dead? married? Jewish? a high quality brand?  

So, now that you know about this cool way to do research on the way America thinks, what are you going to go Google?  ;)


  1. Haha. You know it's funny these questions people have.

    When people really know about the designers, the questions are a lot stranger though.

    1. Hmmm.... Now you've got me curious! What questions SHOULD we be asking Google about the designers? ;)