for my revised mind map I just added more and changed some of the pictures from my old photos to newer ones I was taking. I also added the word obsession and connection which I thought were important to my project.
This photo project is an exploration of why I care about clothes. All of the clothes in these photos are personally mine and have been styled and curated by me to present these ideas. I shot most of them on medium format color slide film on a camera used regularly in the 80s in fashion editorials. I approach fashion in an anti fashion way which is what my research paper is about. The me is a play on the common phrase people say like “that so me” on social media. It’s used in a very conforming way or relating to things usually and this use of me drawn on these is a ironic but also straightforward way to relate these photos of other people to me. I used the collage like layout to present the photos as raw and almost in progress. Its presented like an artist board connecting different pictures together through the placement. I use the website format also as a anti fashion statement of the elitism of the industry. A website can be used by anyone. I like breaking down information barriers that I see as a problem. The expressionless face is trying to take away the personality of the people in the photos to show all emotional and concept to the photo solely in the clothes. The location of my dorm hallway as the backdrop is similar to the website in it being almost anywhere. It’s used like a studio instead of a fancy expensive one. It could be anywhere.
My 7 in 7 were included in my final project. They were the first photos I shot for it. and my 100 drawings is clearly a huge influence. The latest new photography exhibition at moma influenced the layout and cy twombly influenced the writing.
This is one of my favorite projects I’ve done and a great progression of my work. I like everything I do to be a continuous narrative that builds on itself. I had been shooting my friends in thrift shop clothes I styled in my suburban beach town the past two years and this project was like a progression of those idea in a new form adding more to it. I’m very proud of it. It pushes me to think more of the project as a whole while I was shooting and how they all connected. Constraining myself to just my dorm hallway and using a huge medium format pushed me to analyze more of what I was trying to say. I love my website!! staying online for 6 months.
ANTI FASHION: Why I Care About Clothes
Clothes are all I think about. It’s constant all day. What could make clothes that powerful or important to care that much? I’ve always never liked the way most people talk about why fashion matters. They say self expressive or to make you feel good. They say things like to add beauty or luxury. While all these concepts you can find in fashion, It doesn’t do it justice at all. It just sounds fake to me. It’s not how I see it. The fact clothes can carry such meaning and intellectual weight and you can own and wear it is incredible. To put all these big concepts and ideas into something you can wear and let become a part of your life is something nothing else can. Anti fashion is a movement of ideas that go against the grain of mainstream fashion thought. It’s about these reasons I like fashion. It started in the 80s and 90s and most people think this golden era of fashion stops there. The anti fashion that started in the 80s and 90s still continues now through new brands Gosha Rubchinskiy, Hood by Air, Vetements, and the popularity of vintage clothes.
Anti Fashion is a movement started in the 80s to add meaning to clothes. It all started with the japanese designers Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto. They were the first to go against the glamour and luxury of the past. They wanted their clothes to be conceptual and reflect the times. Comme des Garcon is Rei Kawakubo’s brand that was the reaction to the overblown glamour and superficial fashion that was popular on runways at the time. Rei says her clothes are about the women being an individual, having personality, being confident, being a boss, and asserting themselves “like boys” which is what comme des garcons means. Her clothes had thoughtful concepts and ideas behind them unlike the other clothes before it. Yohji Yamamoto was less conceptual then the others but his background and how different it was makes up for it. He is from a small village in Japan with a single mother who made clothes for herself and he learned from her. He did not come from a wealthy background in Europe or America like most the designers at the time. This made his clothes so different. Yohji and Rei even dated and lived together for about ten years but didn’t show each other any of the clothes they were making and came on the scene at the same time.
The next anti fashion designer to come along and maybe the best designer of all time was Martin Margiela. He was a very complex man. He brought ideas of recycling and thrifting to the forefront of fashion making new clothes out of vintage ones and playing with a new concept of deconstruction. He pushed fashion boundaries by being totally conceptual with what he made but made it totally wearable to the point you didn’t have to know its conceptual. He didn’t like the idea of branding and used a blank tag. He even went so far as to not do any interviews, photographs, or public appearances at all. He has not been photographed since 1994. This was the biggest concept of his brand, anti marketing. Other designers of this time marketed themselves as superstars and Margiela went against that completely. He only referred to Margiela as we when asked. “He never really told us what he wanted, just what he didn’t want. He liked it when it looked as if the women could have put it together themselves.” He was extremely democratic with his fashion house.
He also brought sustainability and thrifting to the front of fashion by using recycled fabrics in his collections and even doing a show in a salvation army. He liked to push fashion boundaries by having shows in strange locations. The 1989 show is probably the most notable where he had his show on a playground in rural paris with kids participating and watching the show. Each show invitation were also all hand made by children in that town and the seats were first come first serve so the whole front row was just the kids. They included them in the whole show because they were in their space so they provided fun stuff for them all day. They wanted the clothes to look unfinished and change people’s ideas on what fashion had to be. “As a student I always thought that fashion was a bit superficial, all glitz and glamour, but this show changed everything for me.” -Raf Simons.
Raf simons came into fashion in 1995 with a whole new look. His first shows were skinny boys in blazers, graphic t shirt, and sleeveless shirts. His main focus was youth culture and it changed men’s fashion forever. He brought techno, goth, and punk influences together to create a world of teenage boy adolescence. This shifted what fashion could be once again. He was also the first person to bring graphic shirts and oversized hoodies into the realm of high fashion. This has had a major impact on almost every designer since.
Fashion seen through these designers is meaningful art that has stories and pushes boundaries. These designers opened the doors for so many people to see clothes as much more than they did before. The designers that came after continued these ideas started in the 80s and 90s and don’t always get the credit. People say “nothing’s new” but I would argue these new designers do have new ideas and add to what already exists or show it in a new way. Lots of fashion critics get stuck in the past and see these people as the end all be all, but new brands like Gosha Rubchinskiy, Hood By Air, and even Vetements are current anti fashion designers.
Hood By Air is my favorite example of a brand that is totally anti fashion. HBA took inspiration from Raf and others to use fashion to show a different community and way to look at fashion. There clothes are unisex and print HBA usually on hoodies and t shirt but it’s a lot more than that. There shows show a queer community as well as black masculinity and a new perspective on “urban” streetwear. They pushed gender boundaries in a way that hadn’t been seen before. They came from outside the industry. They were the first ones to use extreme branding but it’s in the same vein as Margiela. They use the branding of HBA all over there clothes in the same way that margiela used the blank tag. They want the clothes to be more than a person. HBA represents we. When you wear it you feel a part of it. It’s much bigger than t shirts and hoodies. It was something really new. They started so much and are one of the most important brands of the last five years who changed the fashion landscape forever.
Gosha Rubchinskiy is basically the russian Raf Simons. He’s from Moscow and started as a stylist for different magazines and shows but felt really bored with it. Just like anti fashion designers in the 90s, he gravitated against the posh club environment and found a new crowd. He started hanging out with the young skater kids around the city. He began making his brand which was all diy streetwear centered around these skater kids and a post soviet youth take on american ninety’s sportswear. This brought a huge focus to youth and skate kids to the forefront of fashion while coming from a whole new perspective.
Vetements is the newest of these three modern fashion brands. It was started by another russian designer Demna Gvasalia and his brother Guram. He had worked in the industry for years under Margiela, Louis Vuitton, and Marc Jacobs but he wanted to start his own brand. He named it “Vetements” which was just clothing in french. This brand was a really ironic and striped down take on fashion and streetwear. He took what margiela was doing with deconstruction to an extreme and ironic way by making big oversized hoodies with classic logos redone and charging $700 for them. Vetements is a completely cynical version of fashion where he is almost playing the customer. He even said he wouldn’t pay that much for the clothes himself.
The popularity of vintage clothing also has these anti fashion ideas in it without people even knowing. Vintage has reached the peak it’s even been right now. This is definitely a reaction to the corporate, fake, and horrible fashion/fast fashion industry. Used clothes have similar feelings that anti fashion designers use. They tell stories and have context or lack of context. They are mysterious and usually say something more in the small details you see in them from wear or the individual that owned it before. I would argue that the people buying these clothes have this in mind and feel a stronger connection to these clothes because of it rather than fast fashion or other big brands. I see this as modern day anti fashion.
I see fashion as the highest form of art. It has beautiful craftsmanship, intellectual ideas, collaboration, diversity, and can be worn. Clothes are extremely powerful. These designers can make something you can wear everyday and become a part of you. Nothing else has this kind of impact that you can grasp. To be able to creative a narrative or story that can become a part of your own one is truly incredible and something you can barely explain. This is why I care so much about clothes.
“What is clothing? The final layer.
What is fashion? A series of propositions.” -Martin Margiela