Intro to Fashion Studies: Response to Christoper Breward’s Aphorisms

These two aphorisms come from Christopher Breward- Forward- Introduction to Fashion Studies Research Methods Sites Practices

“Fashion is made manifest in material forms. It demands study in the same way that ancient artifacts are made meaningful by archaeologists: through careful excavation.”

Artifact can be defined as something made or given shape by man, such as a tool to a work of art, especially an object of archaeological interest. Also, in my opinion, the aesthetics and significance of an artifact are usually served as a result from archaeologists’ analyzing of physical facts and historical backgrounds which include size, texture, shape, color, prints or contents; socio-political, historical, cultural context; and its purpose of use. As Christopher Breward acclaims, fashion and analyzing fashion (fashion studies) should be treated the same way as archeology in same respect. “From form to function, from extrinsic to intrinsic”. I think it is a good way to study and research. And the learning process, outcomes can be considerably constructive. But fashion has a wide range, from an H&M cotton tank top to an haute couture dress by Oscar de la Renta, we are all calling it fashion. Are we using the same way to study both clothes? Also, fashion can be a trend, a type of manner, a habit. It’s like ancient artifact is only one of hundreds of categories in archaeology. So the learning method of careful excavation may not be fully necessary with all the “fashion” though it brings meaningful research and understandings. And frankly, careful excavation to any items, products or phenomenon leads to deep understandings. But it depends on whether the subject carries the significance and necessity.

“Fashion can be about confirmation, of self and others, But it is also about anxiety, ambiguity and worry. As an aid to understanding psychological complexities it is surpassed.”

Most of us do care about our appearance and sometimes we can say the wardrobe carry your personality. As we are transferring into an era that celebrates difference, creativity, and uniqueness, clothes has changed from practical asset to a social marker. While we are walking on the street, we judge. By only looking at the fabric of the clothes, we know if a person is rich. And by only looking at the style, we know if he or she follows the trends or she keeps his or her own style. So the outfit begins to define you, represent your personality and affect your social status. It helps you attract friends with similar tastes. Also, exclude some passers-by who think your outfit is disgusting. Then, here comes to the self consciousness, the anxiety of wearing wrong, the desire of luxury products, the addiction of shopping, and other psychological disorders that fashion carries may tortures you. So fashion can be a feeling, of being good and confident, or of being miserable and anxious. I think fashion truly can be studies from psychological aspect as an aid to understand the complexities of the relationship between fashion and feelings. But using the word “surpassed”, I think he considered fashion much too important that it is actually is.

9 thoughts on “Intro to Fashion Studies: Response to Christoper Breward’s Aphorisms

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