“[Fashion] is the armour to survive the reality of everyday life” – Bill Cunningham

I’ve been focusing a lot on identity and dress, fashion, which is why I think this photo is so important to post:

It’s from New York Fashion week.  I dont know who took it, or who those girls are, or who that man is, but that’s irrelevant for  where my thinking went.  I feel like a lot of reaction to dress, fashion, clothing, is that it’s often very excessive.  And, in some senses that is resoundingly true- and this picture really frames (so punny!) that.  That the social economic system we’re in allows for some people to have enough money it spend it on lots of “silly” clothes, while others are dirty and hungry.  This is so real.  Also though, because my whole shtick with being interested in fashion is how it becomes a sort of second skin, it becomes a signifier that is shapeable, removable.  It can push and play with the boundaries of normative identity.  Yet, what does that mean when the fact of the matter is that not everyone has the same access to clothes, and more importantly people are hungyr, without proper medical care, homeless, etc…  Does the way that fashion allows for a playing of boundaries help re-imagine enough to justify it’s very icky (capitalist, sweatshop,) consumerist underpinnings, the crux of it’s operation currently?  And does it actually allow for a re-imagining of already “fixed” signs, or does it just reinforce problematic modes of understanding based on clothing because we’re inheriting from these very rooted, deep seated, ideas about categories like race, gender, sexuality, etc…

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September 16, 2012 · 4:42 am

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