In the film The Devil Wears Prada, Andrea Sachs works as an assistant for Miranda Priestly, the executive of Runway fashion magazine in New York City. She finds herself being an outsider because she does not have a sense of fashion and is not concerned about looking like the models in the magazines. In order to keep her job, she realizes that she has to start to care about what the people she is working with are passionate about. Andrea changes her attitude and behavior so that she can be successful in her job as an assistant. Runway fashion magazine’s office in New York City makes arguments about the film’s society, culture, time period, tone, and mood through the appeals of ethos, pathos, and logos.
Through the argument of ethos, the Runway magazine office being very modern and professional looking shows the importance of the fashion industry. All of the employees in the Runway magazine office are dressed stylish and in high-end designer brand names. They are extremely knowledgeable about the current trends in fashion, as well as with business strategies. It is mentioned several times throughout the film how any girl would die to have the job that Andrea has as an assistant to Miranda. This shows the argument that most girls are passionate about fashion and self image during this time period. The Runway magazine features models all having similar images of being thin and is the most popular magazine at the time. Nigel, one of the stylists, mentions how the magazine is so powerful that it even gives gay boys that are afraid to show their sexuality hope that they can one day participate in something as brilliant as Runway. By having Runway magazine’s office and the employees so contemporary and qualified, the fashion industry, which is the main focus of the film, gains credibility.
The audience connects with the protagonist of the film, Andrea, when she is an outcast at work because of her lack of knowledge in fashion. Miranda treats all of her workers with harshness and does not tolerate any slack. Andrea finds herself conforming to the fashion culture because of the pressures of the environment she is constantly in. She realizes that she has to become trendy and fashionable in order to get the acceptance of Miranda and her other coworkers. The audience can see that Andrea changes because she is tired of feeling like she cannot rise in her position at work due to her self-image. Andrea’s attitude transforms once she changes her clothes and goes through an entire makeover. This is shown through the argument of pathos and the feelings that arise in the audience while seeing her go from being a complete outsider to accepted and fashionable. Andrea’s “good looks and sex appeal are compelling traits, predisposing us in favor of a given character” (Giannetti 406).
The Devil Wears Prada empowers women and their place in the work field through the argument of logos. A woman is the top editor of Runway magazine and is responsible for assigning everyone his or her jobs. Most of the other employees at Runway, including Andrea, are women. This shows how more and more women are able to hold high positions in the work field in today’s society. The argument that women have power in the work field is an assumption “based on shared values derived from culture and history” (Lunsford 87). All of the people working at Runway Magazine wear designer brand clothing that are recognizable to the film’s audience. “Brand-name products and logos realistically reflect the landscape of everyday American life” (Smith 2). By having the characters wear identifiable clothing brands, the audience can distinguish logically that the clothes are extremely expensive and that the characters wearing these clothes are passionate about fashion and keeping up with the different trends.
The argument of ethos is used to establish the credibility of Runway magazine and the fashion industry as a whole. It shows how pertinent fashion is in today’s society. The influence of fashion is shown through the appeal of pathos. The audience’s emotions are triggered when seeing Andrea’s change in her values, behavior, social skills, and self-image in order to be accepted in the fashion culture. The empowerment of women in the work field is shown through logos. By having recognizable, high-end clothing brand names worn by all of the people at Runway, the audience sees how important people in the fashion industry value clothes and appearance. I rate the main setting of this movie with four slurpees because it does an excellent job at capturing arguments about the film’s society, culture, time period, tone, and mood. It presents these arguments effectively through the use of ethos, pathos, and logos in showing the audience the norms in the fashion industry.