Introduction to Fashion Studies: Assignment 1, Comparative Aphorisms

Hello There!

In this post I am reviewing over and contemplating the definition of specific aphorisms relating to the term: “Fashion.” In the ways in which they apply themselves in my own mind, and how I might disagree and agree with them. According to the “Foreward- Introduction to Fashion Studies Research Methods Sites Practices;” by Christopher Breward, ten aphorisms relating to the terminology of Fashion are suspended into the air for debate. The statements are rather haughty in “fashion;” due to little response after all are listed. By page eighteen, aphorism three, we are informed that the word fashion has been almost entirely shoved into a single industry and activity which relates to the sort of lifestyle found in the content pages of magazines like Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar.

“Fashion is not necessarily spectacular (though it often conforms to the theory of the society of the spectacle), it can also be demotic, ordinary, mundane, routine, and humble. It is the stuff of the ethnographer and the anthropologist.” I would have to agree, fashion is all too often tied to the status and practical use of labeled material: Hermes scarves, Prada handbags, Burberry coats, Versace gowns, etc. This leaves no room for the “fashion” that happens everyday sans thousands of dollars to be acknowledged. The quirks one adopts when ordering a cup of tea in England; with sugar, without; milk, no milk; or a cup of coffee in New York- americano, latte, steamed, no steam, foam, no foam; two shots of espresso; are diverse ways in which we fashion our behavior ethnographically. Human expression and emotion are easily displayed in the ways we fashion our body language; for instance with the pose of crossed arms, we are fashioning ourselves in a way that expresses frustration or boredom; yet if we roll our eyes or raise an eyebrow, perhaps we are fashioning ourselves in a way that displays annoyance, disrespect, or suspicion.

Fashion is in itself as much of a verb as it can be a noun; it is active and overreaches the walls of society norm leaping in possibility. However, on a traditional note; fashion is closely guarded by the elite and wealthy; those with power and celebrity status  are granted complete access to authoritative trendsetting; and it is a multi-tasking network of industrialized abuse on every level- from the inhumane demand and low pay of its production workers; to the dictators of acceptable size and weight broadcasted through to the lens of insecure, growing children of varied body masses. In this way, I disagree with the idea of fashion somehow winning the vote for duplicitous means– most of civilization will recognize fashion as somehow related to the clothes on one’s back. Interestingly enough the aphorism directly following, aphorism four on page nineteen; suggests that fashion is genius by nature, one of the only arts to adopt social networking and practical need alongside the impracticality of human imagination.

“Fashion moves in space and time. It shares the complexities of physics and mathematics, making patterns and networks, forming mazes and constellations. Through its forms we have an opportunity to re-unite art and science and to heal the rift of the two cultures.” Once again, fashion truthfully is the best representative of fine arts being catapulted to the screams of universal dependence and desire. It is a market that requires not only the critical thinking skills of its dressmakers; but also the rich intuition left untapped by all except its designers. Then again, fashion as an industry does not create mazes, in the past; majorities would stay home with store-bought patterns and construct their own garments; but even then fashion had its mandates, as well as Butterick and Sears Roebuck. Fashion has its representatives, far beyond the obscurity of the top of the golden latter which still to this day dictate what stays and who or what goes. With that being said the quote: “Fashion is cut throat;” is all the more an appropriate response- circumstance makes the industry direct, and void of grey area, as competition thrives. Hence, that would be the conclusion of my outtake on the selected aphorisms.

Hello, My name is Megan Taylor, I am a returning student here at Parsons; my major is Fashion Design with a peaking interest in environmentalism and animal welfare; I hope to transform the industry someday...slowly but surely. My wish is to combine luxury and aesthetic appeal with the consciousness of how and where it is made along with the idea of what to do with it after use. I have been following my need to create and share with the world art and fashion since the tender age of eleven years old.

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