Tuesday, March 2, 2010

a blog worth blogging about

On her site "good morning midnight," Meg Clark made a post entitled "Why Fashion is Worth Blogging About."
She encourages her readers to read the blog and to dutifully consider the importance of the fashion industry. She begins by acknowledging that this concept is not new (and I would agree, as no concepts are) and she insists the importance of her post lies in the dialogue it is meant to incite. In appreciation for her article and what it represents, I would like to offer a response.
She claims that when she was younger she "hated fashion" (or so thought) and that she wore clothes that she defined as "anti-fashion" which were, indeed, a form of fashion. Fashion is not only a creative statement, but also a political one, so the choice to be decidedly "anti-fashion" is indeed a part of fashion. You make a deliberate choice to wear certain articles of clothing which associate you with a type of underground fashion, whether or not you are aware of the process is where the importance of where Clark's insistence upon dialogue comes in.
Fashion has been (and probably always will be) a political entity. It is a form of self-expression but it is also part of a double standard. Society wants us to consume and we struggle between our freedom of expression and the demand of The MAN for us to purchase products for the livelihood of our society. But even the very term The MAN can be deceiving. Yes, there are the "old male photographers" and the "naked underage underweight oversexed overworked female models" that Clark speaks of, but there are also the women and gays who she admits run the industry. We need to have this discussion so that women and gays can feel empowered by the fact that they have consumer influence. They inform a decision as to whether or not a trend will pass. Their spending power defines the world's  TASTE. Fashion is not anti-feminist (as Clark says in the beginning of her blog, choosing to wear or not wear something is an act of fashion and thus not a definition as to whether or not you are a feminist). Yes, there are uncomfortable aspects of fashion and it lies within a great paradox of women being enslaved to an impossible image, however we are creating that image.
The creation of that image occurs every day in "the rest of society" apart from the visible fashion world. Men on Wall Street dress up for work based on collections and designs that were put forth by women and gay men. Important socio political movements had their place in fashion (or with fashion, or being defined by fashion). The punk rock movement? It wasn't just about music. And you can't tell me it didn't have an important socio-political influence on society about large. It was largely influenced by fashion. Remember the Sarah Palin clothing scandal? That instance is an example of the power of image, and the power of image in politics is influenced by fashion. What you wear and who you wear, regardless of whether or not you consider yourself actively interested in the fashion world, means that you are part of the fashion machine.
Clark believes that society refuses to take fashion seriously. If this were true, fashion would not be entwined with politics. The rest of society is merely like Clark's teenage self, unaware that it is an active participant in fashion. The rest of society is Andy Sachs in "The Devil Wears Prada," oblivious to the fact that it has made a choice influenced by fashion (a speech referenced in Clark's blog entry). I think the importance lies in making society aware of how powerful fashion is politically, rather than letting them live under the blind assumption that fashion is something separate from them, something that they can see in a magazine, or on a catwalk, when indeed it is a living breathing part of their daily life.

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