Made In Chelsea: Is It Beneficial?

Layla Haidrani debates that Made In Chelsea ‘perpetuates the class system’, and looks into how beneficial or not it is for society…

For the last month or so, for some people it appears that the only place to be on a Monday night isn’t the pub, that club with cheesy themes (80s disco anyone?!) or even the library studying for final exams. Instead, you’re more likely to be on Twitter where viewers across the country are tweeting about the trials and tribulations of London’s hedonistic elite in reality series Made in Chelsea (otherwise known as MIC).

A mere glance at social networking sites Twitter and Instagram is testament to the dominance of MIC’s appeal with many storylines often trending following an episode. And it’s no surprise why. Series 7 which has mostly centred on the scandalous antics of Binky’s cheating ex Alex and Spencer Matthew’s typical debauched antics has fully captivated Britain’s (mostly) young female audience while Alex Mytton is eagerly denounced as the Voldemort of reality TV. As opposed to its counterparts Geordie Shore or The Only Way is Essex whose popularity has arguably waned with each new series, MIC has witnessed an unprecedented surge in popularity with each new series. Although the cast appear frequently in tabloids, chat shows and book signings disparaging their love lives and friendship problems, it makes me wonder who really are the victims of the show?

Each episode feature the cast congregating in new haunts, hip restaurants and wearing upmarket fashion brands, creating an illusion of wealth and leading to viewers imitating them. However, what viewers have failed to realise is that this is a merely a façade – MIC characters have not only been paid to promote these brands but are also enjoying the fame that comes with being part of such a high-profile programme.

And this isn’t just limited to advertising products – MIC cast have cottoned on to the almost slavish devotion of their fans, creating their own businesses to promote them on the popular show. Ex-MIC ‘star’ Amber Atherton has described how the show was a great platform for her jewellery business, My Flash Trash: “It was a fantastic free advertising platform which has led to huge growth. We had to take on more staff too – before Made in Chelsea I had one girl helping me out and now we’ve got seven staff plus me. Our website actually crashed three times because of so many visitors!”

Despite being wealthy, the cast already have somewhat connived the British public into buying their goods. After all, Binky’s weeping on screen about her cheating boyfriend but she’s probably laughing all the way to the bank as her book ‘Being Binky’ is currently on Waterstones’ best-selling list. Meanwhile, Louise Thompson has recently opened up own denim fashion brand with much success and Jamie Laing’s confectionary brand, Candy Kittens boasts 94 thousand followers on Twitter.

What fans perhaps don’t appear to realise is that the MIC cast and producers may be satirising the aspirational consumers, who instead of going out and creating a better life for themselves as the cast are doing, are sitting in their living room watching personalities opening their own lucrative businesses. These businesses are benefitting the characters as opposed to the almost robotic and submissive consumer who order the stars’ new products or clothing in the vain hope and promise that these goods will offer them the possibility of ‘being’ them.

Although I cannot deny that the programme is a form of escapism as the Only Way Is Essex used to be a guilty pleasure of mine, it is the slavish devotion of its Twitter followers, Instagram fans, and even going as far to follow them in real life to club appearances that has arguably gone too far. The saddest part is when teenage viewers are sucked into this world where only goods and products deem you worthy enough to be included in such an exclusive, homogeneous world.

Made in Chelsea is a programme that not only perpetuates the class system, but is created to make others feel inferior merely so that they can gain money in the promise that their new clothing line, jewellery or being seen at London’s hippest new restaurant will make you ‘Sloane Street material’. As fans eagerly anticipate the long-awaited MIC New York special, my advice is that the next time you turn on the telly to watch that Made in Chelsea episode you’ve waited for all week, perhaps you should think about how much you are benefiting as opposed to the cast.


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