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FSN 223 Concepts and Theories part 1

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FSN 223

FSN 223 Fashion Concepts and Theories Dr. Ben Barry Week 1 Why Study Fashion theory  Think critically about fashion  Use fashion to empower  Reinvent the fashion system Explore, question and re-imagine the production. Promotion and consumption of fashion. Fashion - Sociology - Anthropology - History - Business - Fine Art - Psychology Lecture Topics - Fashion Impulse - Fashion cycles, symbols and flows - Fashion Representation - Eurocentric Fashion System - Fashion, Body Techniques and Identity - Fashion, Aesthetics and Art - Fashion as a Business and Cultural industry - Popular culture and fashion - Politics of fashion - Film Evaluations Theory in action: 15% FEB 13 Wardrobe: 45% MARCH 13 Exam 40% APRIL 15 -17 th th Fashion Impulse: Key Terms - Fashion: prevailing custom of dress ( it is collective, time limited) - Dress: all ornamentation on their body - Style: combination of silhouette, details, fabric... it is personalized - Fad- short term style - Trend- direction that a style/ fashion is heading - Classic- style that has lasted for an indefinite period of time - Anti-Fashion- and outfit of a particular style that is outside of fashion - Fashionable- style that conforms to fashion 3 Main Elements of Fashion - Fashion is a system of Communication o They convey identity o Meaning o Clothes function as symbols o These symbols change in different contexts o Le Saap- group of men in congo, group of tastemakers and elegant people that wear pink. They are the epitome of masculinity. Pink- for a different meaning, gay/homosexual, queer movement- color of pride Versace H&M- pink suit, genderless, new look, avant garde, marketing - Fashion Helps Us Define Ourselves As Individuals and Group Members o We will model ourselves in some ways from another group o Black is the best selling colour- safe (blend in), and slimming, want to stand out, elegant and glamorous, anti-fashion (sub-culture) - Essence of Fashion is Change The Fashion Impulse - Constantly changing clothing codes and stylistic registers-20 (more group) - Clothing codes that balance the impulse to belong to a group and the individual desire to stand out and assert that attributes of the self -48 (individual) The Fashion Paradox - Express yourself, yet conform, sometimes subconsciously - Maintain some customary style be current yet classic - Do we have control. Or following a larger code in fashion Sumptuary Laws - Regulate the ownership of certain clothes - What colors, fabrics types certain class women could wear - Queen/royalty purple and silk - What not to wear- certain look that is acceptable, they all conform, are their rules enforced..? Does Fashion Exist Beyond Consumer Culture? - The Little Black Dress o Black can signify death… only for mourning o Elegance and luxury, nobility o White accents around the face, mood, gesture facial expression - Macaroni o After young men finished university they would take a tour of france and Italy, year of travel to learn food, culture, slim cut clothing, never eaten macaroni and ate it in Italy and brought it back to the UK, fashion was very popular- brought back a slim style and taste in fashion - Sailor o 1800s Functional uniform, wide leg pant, blue and white o To runways, Tommy, Dolce, Chanel o Gay community Does Fashion Exist Beyond Western Culture? - yes - Myth that the traditional ways of dressing are conventional, unchanging not influenced by trends or fads, idea that non western groups haves dressed the same forever - its like looking at the suit it hasn’t changed, but if you look there are differences in the way the aesthetic has changed - Canadian aboriginal, fur trade, cloth and beads o Change in the types of beads they wanted, size & color o Taste was highly subjective o Fashion trends change o Fashion before the westernized consumer culture Chpt. 1 The Fashion Impulse: Many have argued that fashion is a modern cultural practice that coincided with the emergence of capitalism and consumer culture- I have argued fashion is not exclusively the domain of modern culture and its preoccupations with individualism, class, civilization and consumerism. Fashion Impulse- constantly changing clothing codes and stylistic registers - these occur in non-western & non-modern societies - myth that non-western cultures have stable, unchanging clothing codes (called costume/customary dress) Fashion was used to describe the dress performances of preindustrial cultures. It is wrong to suggest that fashion in contemporary cultures is different from that of other societies We can classify the business suit as customary dress but to understand how it is worn we need to examine the performance of the individual wearing the suit to get a sense of identity within the wider suit-wearing group. Same argument with the little black dress-individualized in many different ways. Clothing behavior of many cultures and societies exhibits fashion in how clothes become part of social performance. Term fashion is specific to European culture, fashion changes as well as the concept of fashion. th Fashion- term used since 14 cent. To refer to particular manner of dress/ style Fashion started long before the 1th century, traced in Canadian Natives customers, and in 1670 (formation of Hudson’s Bay) signaled the start of lucrative fur trade, was very specific in types of cloth, beads, etc. Tastes changed and were highly volatile. These demands all exhibit the criteria of fashion. Tastes changed both at individual and collective levels The First People set the terms of demand and the European traders employed modern marketing strategies to satisfy the fashion impulse Chapter 3 Fashion cycles, symbols and flows Fashion as cycles and structures - fashion theory explires a number of fashion’s different roles: a symbol of essential humanness, chronology of human development, organic process of civility, descriptive shorthand for the features of a culture or selection - fashions are abandoned because of better, newer models and changes in taste - fashion mechanism appears not in response to a need of class differentiation and class emulation but in response to a wish to be in fashion, to be abreast of what had good standing, to express new tastes which are emerging in a changing world. Blumers three features of fashion custom: - uniformity through consensus about a prevailing mode or trend and its connotations or associations with property (conformity to established manners) - orderly and regulated way to monitor and mark the shifting underpinnings of social norms (religious-civil- ones sensibility to another) - act of accepting/ rejecting- shaped by changing cultural conventions Davis emphasizes - the failure of collective selection theory (along with trickle-down) to adequately consider the palpable influence of the elaborate institutional apparatus surrounding the propagation of fashion in the domain of dress FSN223- Fashion Concepts & Theories January 23, week 2 Fashion Cycles, Symbols and Flows Discussion: Men and Eating Disorders What is a theory? -a lens to understand a phenomenon, like a theory, -one perspective, each theory is a different colour of lens What are Fashion Cycles and Flows? -Trickle-Down; start at the top(influential), elite or fashion leaders and move down to the masses or fashion followers(elite to the mass population) -introduced by Thorstein Veblen, wrote during industrial revolution, upper class looked very different then lower, and then eventually the lower classes would copy them, (make/buy) but of lower quality. Emulate -George Simmel, said it applied strictly to fashion three stages, elite wanted to differentiate themselves through fashion, lower copied upper to achieve idea of upward social mobility, as lower copied, they would change, to remain appearing differently, two opposing forces, imitate & differentiate are two major forces -Grant McCracken, wrote culture consumption, “in todays society its not based on wealth so much, not the most powerful, changes must be made to this theory”, no longer richest who people emulate, but the most powerful and influential. Still trickles down, but the elite are not the richest, but most powerful. -EXAMPLE: the corset, very expensive materials, lower class would reproduce with the boning, bust in wood(not same impact, power), changed, in and out of fashion as lower class adopted, H&M collabs with designers, a lot of the major prints are reproduced, some patterns, but with cheaper fabrics, colours not as vibrant, etc Who are the Fashion Leaders Today? -Kate Middleton, Michelle Obama, us (street style sites), anyone in the media, Are some consumer groups consistently excluded from Trickle-Down Theory? -Plus size? -Segregation -Trickle-Up; start among the masses (youth, sub-cultures) and move upward to the fashion leaders and elites. Come from everyday, street influence. Clothes always take on different meaning when they trickle up, -1970, “Status Float Phenomenon”, G.A Field, shift in cultural attitude, sub cultural groups forming, identity politics, people no longer identified themselves with a certain class, but movement instead, express themselves through appearance. Designers started to take styles, attach new meaning to them, as soon as designer took style, the sub-cultural group would take new style -Ted Polhemus; talked about street style, before blogs, etc. How that influenced others, wrote “street Style”, in 1994, in 2010, updated, people wanted to identify with real people, authenticity, designer needs to take up motif, -EXAMPLES: Denim; durable and practical, Levi’s, taken up by US army, navy, workers, all over high fashion, key staple, Vivieene Westwood, upset with the hatred, war, etc going on in world, hated older generation for not doing anything, was a punk to make society more just, equitable, part of subculture, took group, brought it to the runway, influence and power made it popular, she was actually part of how she identified herself, making it more authentic. Bloggers to magazines, How has the Internet changed the trickle-up dynamic? -pop up anywhere, people are changing style so much, rotation, or combine different looks, “style-surfing”, “When will today’s fashion journalist realize that their job now is to celebrate and present the diversity which is all around us rather than to try to cram everything into a single direction?” (Ted Polhemus), designers lending clothes, just so people in the industry could be photographed wearing their clothes, -Trickle-Across; Fashion moves horizontally from fashion leaders to masses at same social level. Much debate over. Started as critique of trickle-down, C.W King said “no longer explains fashion diffusion, leaders to masses but at the same strata” each kind of sub-culture, two main reason; mass production, (sell at different markets/ different price points, simultaneously) and the mass media, brings fashion to homes instantly. No need to be wealthy, or in the industry to see it. Styles emerge and are shared simultaneously, between levels. EXAMPLES: zara man and Balmain Homme(FW10), very similar styles across multiple price points, whatever is on trend, you can buy regardless of price point, diffusion of ideas simultaneously Where is the line between Thievery and Inspiration? -mercy(small Canadian fashion brand) in 2008($300), diane von frustenberg copied in 2009($1000), employee fired, company sued, H&M/zara will alter patterns to defend themselves, Fashion Cycle: Elites Elites Mass Pop Across West Non-west Mass Population -Cultural Appropriation -being inspired, fashion flowing from one culture to another -appropriation vs appreciation; when adopted, removed from indigenous context and new meaning is caked on, -EX. Jean Paul Gaultier, ss2005, beading inspired by beading in Kenya, -cultural appropriation; susan scafidi, “Taking intellectual property, traditional knowledge, cultural expressions, or artifacts from someone else’s culture without permission.” “Harmful when the source community is a minority group when power relationship is not equal” -the harm of cultural appropriation 1. Misrepresentation of culture (one is reduced, diluted to single culture) 2. dehumanizes and devalues culture,( could be insulting, when put on an outfit, thought of simply as costume, stop thinking of them as real people, or real cultures) 3. Removes context and meaning -How can I Ethically be inspired? By Susan Scafidi, the Three S Test -source; given approval? Source been consulted? Involved in creating -significance; designers, consumers need to think of importance, religious significance that needs more respect? -similarity; how similar is appropriate item from original, or just a nod to colours or silhouette? (Navajo nation & Urban outfitter, took direct print, put on clothing, underwear, flasks, very upset, and sued, won) -context and sharing; try to provide historical or cultural context, background information, celebrated, (sunny fong, always inspired by cultures, always includes background info) involve culture, where idea is coming from in some of production, sourcing, profit sharing, give back to community, -can a culture claim ownership over designs? 1. Who are the stakeholders of a culture? 2. Does intellectual property constrain creativity? 3. How can you ethically borrow from cultures? -complicated, for example, from the Congo, the sol de…. Where they wear all the bright suits? Inspired a English designer Paul Smith and then ended up on the runway, almost exactly, -Recycling Fashion 1. Historical Continuity (natural evolution) 2. Shifting Erogenous Zones (parts of the body that are exposed by fashion loses their erotic power over time) 3. Pendulum Swing (changes from one extreme to the polar opposite) 4. Dynamic Cycle or Recurring Wave (fashion trend recurs eventually) 5. Historicism or Retro (elements of past style that are repeated, with a slight change, may not have same companion element) Fashion Symbols -fashion is a system of communication -economic development -conveys meaning -fashion system: “codified rule about garments, accessories and combining these to create particular looks” (Craik 2009, 121) -Language of clothes by Alice Lurie “Long before I am near enough to talk to you on the street… you announce your sex, age, and class to me through what you are wearing-and very possibly give me important information (or misinformation) as you your occupation, origin, personality, opinions, tastes, sexual desires and current mood” (lurie 3, 1981) -can show political, social conditions of a particular era -understand meaning behind individual piece, semiotics, a menu/recipe is what you need to do to analyze their wardrobe -Roland Barthes, French scholar, two keys books “The Fashion System” and “Elements od semiology” Concepts and Theory Week 3 Noreen Flanagan, Editor in Chief, Elle Canada - Sample sizes… all different, they don’t get to choose what they get - Bags are one size fits all - Was told not to put a black model on the cover because it wouldn’t sell well - 10 years working, they were only featured in 2 - became editor in chief 2 ½ years ago - black model on cover.. % had dropped… unfortunately - showing progress and commitment to featuring black models/ models of different race - Entire art team is made up of Ryerson grads! - Important to feature a whole range of models throughout - Ben worked with creative director giving suggestions about who to feature… models of all shapes and sizes and ages (these inspirational women are going to be in the next Elle “New Business Model”) models-benefit-brands/a/58327 - Valerie- incredible, broken ankle, cancer, heart problem pushed through it all Her Career - studied to be a nurse, child nurse - worked with a lot of young girls with eating disorders - left children’s hospital traveled, Iran, Pakistan, Nepal, shared a ride with a journalist.. she would rather be writing about her adventures/ where she was volunteering at - fresh start… no blood, bones, or tears - then went back to school for journalism - worked for newspaper in Vancouver, edited small fishing magazine - worked for 7 years, no fashion - got married, went to central America.. set up eco tourism things - ran out of money came to Toronto - ad for flare… 3 years, health, features, managing, executive then editor in chief - then went to Elle when it came to Canada has been there ever since - keep eyes, ears open, may open doors - many unplanned experiences/opportunities - Every day is different, emails, marketing/advertising, co-producing, ways to serve client and reader - Goes to a lot of events… - Non stop! - She is like an advocate to the reader… interest in story telling, she is a journalist, has an interest in fashion, but Elle is not all about fashion - Interest in fashion, beauty, culture interest in international outcomes, it is the woman you would hope to be… current on the worlds trends in fashion and culture - Doesn’t just report, but does it in a colourful and playful way - Print is dead, everything going online- all newsstands are down.. 14% from last year… everyone switch to iPad editions … struggle. It isn’t bringing in as much revenue that they want it to. Must work with audio and effects they didn’t before. Their website is servicey. IPad includes sounds, movement extra photos. They get to tell different stories. Print isn’t dead yet. But stories will never die. - Newsstand isn’t as relevant as it used to be. 3 of the 12 issues will feature colored models - All responsible for filtering culture. Some hide behind magazines…point fingers. Everyone has a role including consumers. - Always had a broad perspective on who their reader is - Works 3-6 months ahead Fashion and Representation 1. What conventions explain the representation of women in fashion> a. The western beauty ideal b. Objectification and the gaze c. Dismemberment 2. How do these conventions apply to men? 3. Assignment tweet image to @DrBenBarry, Name the theory, Include #FSN223 What conventions explain the representation of women in fashion - Jean Kilbourne, can’t buy my love. Looked at the impact of the message (advertising), Feminist Ashley Mears- a model, if models all look the same how does one rise to the top, she went undercover as a model and used that as research for her PHD Western Body Ideals - Normative body promoted in fashion (global) - Height: 5’10-5’11 - Size 0-2| Age 13-22 - Caucasian - Able Bodied - Bust 34, waist 24, hips 34 - 5% of women have a chance at being a model - very clear ideal but it hasent always been that way - 80s, 90s.. models were a size 8… over time they have been slimming down - average model weighs 23% less than a regular women - before it was only 8% - today models are the thinnest they have ever been - Charles Worth- brittish fashion designer based in paris… He created the live mannequin, he drew women from his workshop floor, all the criteria he had was that they had to be good mannered - Cristobal Balenciaga- used models, but bulkier shorter- because he thought it suited his brand better - Ideals of size have changed over time and according to country - Size ideals are historically and culturally specific - Anna giordin- Italian artist wanted to know what would renaissance paintings look like today, when the ideal was curvy. She flattened stomachs, and thinned thighs.. - What is the meaning of only seeing thin models? o Exclusive glamorization of one body type. Why? o That size has been naturalized o Feminist study: cultural fear of female power, it is going hand in hand with women’s rising status, beauty ideal has become thinner and thinner, allows women to focus all of their energy on bodies- taken away from other dreams, careers, and aspirations - What are other interpretations of the exclusive use of female thinness in fashion o Most practical for the industry o Aesthetic of the fashion looks better on certain body types o Just because there are two similar things doesn’t mean there is in fact a connection o These images all have different messages… - What is the impact of ultra thin models? o Anne Becker- study in Fiji before there was American television introduces, little talk of dieting, celebrated curves. Went back 3 years later, 74% of teenagers felt too big, 64% had started dieting to look more like the people they saw on TV. Why is there one ideal being celebrated? o One ideal is to maintain distinction between high fashion from commercial mass production brands o High fashion models communicate luxury lifestyle, brand identity o Increasingly mass production brands want to present themselves as on the same level as high fashion o They even hire the same models - Economic Objective o Always an ideal that you hope to achieve by purchasing their product o Karl Lagerfeld: unreachable beauty is a reminder to make an effort o What consumers find aspirational was to have the look/fashion/artistry/styling of the clothes/accessories... and it didn’t have anything to do with the model - Sample Size o One prototype for every garment and all collections o Walk down the runway o Printed o Magazines are always working ahead so they need the first images of the garments o Production is always a step ahead o It is too expensive to buy extra fabric etc. o There is a time crunch…with 4 lines/shows a year, no time for alterations, tradition. We all learn to make clothes that will fit the mannequin/judy. You will follow what is expected of you. This convention gets locked in as a norm. Easier to get a thinner model… easier to take in clothes - Unthinking Reasons o Models are clothes hangers, fall better on thin body, easier to make (bigger/ different sized models distract from the clothes on runway) o Designers/stylists are gay men, they want to create a masculine look, boyish figure - Race and Representation o After WW2 that’s when black fashion models were being featured in magazines o 1 on vogue was Beverly Jonston 1974 o 1969 Naomi Sims, first black model on the cover of Life o Oct. 2005 first Asian on Vogue, 2013 January Italian Vogue o Jezebel said that spring summer 2013 was the most diverse group. 79.4 % were white, 8.1% black, 10.1% Asian, 1.9%
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