David Bowie Exhibition
Subsequent to the exhibition, there were many costumes that were spectacular and inspiring. However, I found a garment that had caught my eyes. Personally, I can relate to the flower details stitched onto David Bowie’s garment. As a half Korean and Japanese, the name Yuri defines a “lily” in Japan, which is an important element of my identity. Growing from a non-English speaking country and trying to grow and learn more from different cultures and backgrounds, the flower blossoming on the garment gave a big inspiration for this upcoming Bridge 2 project.
Integrative Seminar 2: Bridge 2 (Interpretation + Argument)
June 15, 2018
“My trousers changed the world.” As a singer, songwriter, and actor, David Bowie had inspired his unusual fashion taste to many individuals through his numerous stage costumes. Bowie had challenged society’s cultural norms and identity by wearing his gender-bender costumes in his popular song, Ziggy Stardust. His costumes consisted of radiant spandex, leotards, dresses, and suites. Out of the countless costumes, David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust costume was the most influenced clothing that had impacted the society. Today, David Bowie is considered to be the most influential figure in the fashion industry. However, gender stereotypes are yet to be present and are one of the issues that are occurring in current society. Male are expected to be muscular, confident, and aggressive. On the other hand, women are expected to be emotional, passive, and cook for the family.
“The Dressed Body” by Joanne Entwistle introduces two different forms of dress practices. Entwistle states, “…practices of career women, this contrast between formal and informal situations and the way the body articulates these implicit rules of such situations…” This demonstrates how women have evolved from only men wearing suits and going to work. With more job opportunities for women, many designer brands today manufacture dress suites particularly for women in work as well as comfortable pajamas for women at home. However, today many fashion designers have begun to produce dress practices that are both comfortable and formal for women. Thus, this idea questions whether the comfortable and formal clothing depicts the level of professionalism in David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust costume. I can argue that Bowie wears two different types of clothing to stay professional and loose. The photographs in the David Bowie’s exhibition at the Brooklyn museum display Bowie wearing a loose flowy dress laying on the couch as well as a new perspective of David Bowie on the stage with the peculiar fashion – that is, intended for women only.
Another source, Against Ethical Violence article, by Judith Butler claims that one can change or lose his or her character in order to be like others and affirm to be with the majority. Yet, the Ziggy Stardust costume did not affirm with the common people. Bowie decided to take his own unique style of clothing and fashion to stand out from the others. Bowie’s idea of gender identity and presenting himself with gender-bending fashion uncovered his own odd personality and did not alter to conform with the majority. Observing Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust costume, the playful, vibrant colors of red and silver depict the fervent passion and love for him. The radiant colors and the gaudy leotard stuck to Bowie’s shape of the body appear more feminine. The low cut v-neck also exposes his skin, which acknowledges the notion of seducing people. His dramatic pose with his hand on his knees and hips reveal his desperation to be the eye of the crowd – Ziggy Stardust. Consequently, the exposure of showing the feminine side of himself contradicts Butler’s argument of conformity. Instead, David Bowie started his own trend, which allowed the people to change their characteristics to fit into Bowie’s style of fashion.
To a large extent, Ziggy Stardust costume has overwhelmed and shocked many commoners that were not used to discerning the tacky, vivid leotard suite on a man. Psychologically speaking, conformity and gender stereotypes may be factual to a certain extent. Disregarding the stereotypes of how women are assumed to wear pants or dresses and men are assumed to only wear pants, I believe that David Bowie’s gender-bending costume has inspired and evolved the fashion industry to change the outlook and freedom of what we can wear in today’s society.
What did you learn from this assignment?
From this assignment, I was able to learn more about the fashion industry as well as the specific details of David Bowie’s fabric. Each garment helped me clearly see the personal life of David Bowie. Additionally, I learned how to use scholarly sources and ask to what extent the sources are credible to make my essay more enriching and clear.
What’s the strongest aspect of your essay?
I have noticed that my essay has very strong argumentative points that have helped the main purpose of the essay as well as the citation to cite my scholarly sources to show credibility to my essay. Additionally, I think I was able to describe my observations with good use of abstract and concrete words, which I thought had strengthened my essay overall.
What needs the most improvement, besides spelling, grammar, and punctuation?
In this essay, I have realized that I need to improve my analysis and clarify my points with in-depth analyzation. I make clear argumentative points about gender identity and stereotypes, but I didn’t elaborate enough on its point to signify the argument that I was trying to address. Hence, this bridge 2 essay has helped me notice my weaknesses to improve to become a better writer and editor.
How did this essay shape your thinking in Studio?
Going to the David Bowie’s exhibition and seeing the actual costumes in real life, it helped us to specifically look at the type of fabrics that Bowie used and experience the life of David Bowie. Through this essay, I was able to be inspired by David Bowie’s costume and how each garment reflects a part of his identity. Hence, it helped me reflect on my identity and create a garment that is special to me.