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Man Repelling

January 26th, 2011

I intended to include this in my post on feminism and fashion, but I accidentally left it out.  Anyway, Leandra Medine is a fashion blogger known for her playful site, The Man Repeller, which chronicles styles that repulse the opposite sex.  Typically, these items encompass difficult trends like turbans and ponchos, or garments that fail to flatter or eroticize the female body in a traditional sense.  Medine also offers a definition of “man repeller”  on her site:

MAN·RE·PELL·ER1 [MAHN-REE-PELLER]

–noun
outfitting oneself in a sartorially offensive way that will result in repelling members of the opposite sex. Such garments include but are not limited to harem pants, boyfriend jeans, overalls (see: human repelling), shoulder pads, full length jumpsuits, jewelry that resembles violent weaponry and clogs.
–verb (used without object),-pell·ing, -pell·ed.
to commit the act of repelling men:
Girl 1: What are you wearing to the party?
Girl 2: My sweet lime green drop crotch utility pants!
Girl 1: Oh, so we’re man repelling tonight?
*DISCLAIMER: the above conversation is not a drama took place in this room 5 minutes ago.
Origin:
2009-10; < repellius (ptp. of repellia to eliminate male attention), equiv. to L repel– (s. of repellix) unattractive, celibate, paris fashion week, M.C. Hammer + -repel ler1

—Related forms

man·re·pell·ant, noun

Her blog introduces a fresh outlook in comparison to women’s magazines that fixate on what’s a do or a don’t to attract men rather than dressing for oneself.

Works Cited:

Medine, Leandra. “The Man Repeller.” 10 February 2011. http://www.manrepeller.com/

Image Credit:

“Man-Repeller.” 17 December 2010. 11 February 2011. http://www.zimbio.com/Fashion/articles/HNRd2ruO0T_/Man+Repeller+Thank+blog+Friday

It’s Not a Man’s World

January 26th, 2011

Men and women share a deceptively similar relationship to fashion, however men usually attempt to distance themselves from fashion in due to its gendered connotations.  Men feign disinterest in fashion to avoid the superficial, silly stereotype.  They select sober dress as “a sign of duty, discipline and devotion” (Arnold 114) often connected to activities like the workplace.  Tailored suits with sharp lines read as powerful and competent, hence the female adoption of business wear in comparison to softer traditional feminine silhouettes.  In actuality, men cultivate their appearance just as decidedly and obsessively as women and abide by even stricter etiquette.

Body image for men seems to rotate between robust musculature and gaunt spareness.  Just as Barbie’s outlandish proportions have distorted little girls’ perceptions of beauty, GI Joe provides an unattainable portrait of virility for young boys and encourages muscle dysmorphia, or “the conviction that one is too small.”  GI Joe represents the macho “ripped mega muscular warrior” (Dickinson 162) prototype to the extreme.  In reality, GI Joe would boast 27-inch biceps most likely accomplished only through steroid use (Dickinson 162).  Furthermore, publications like Men’s Health and GQ have labored to sell products or give self-improvement tips much like women’s magazines do.  They create the illusion that they can offer the “ultimate alpha male package” (Cottle 175) to attract females and accumulate image success for a fee.  Most “men never suspect that…they share women’s insecurities” (Cottle 177) even though cosmetic procedures, supposedly inside the female realm, have steadily increased for males.  In 2009, 308,000 men received Botox and 66,000 obtained nose reshaping (American Society of Plastic Surgeons).  Generally, men prefer minimally-invasive procedures, such as laser hair removal and chemical peels, to surgery but the numbers have increased about 10 percent since 2000 (“Marketing Cosmetic Procedures for Men”).  On the other side of body image perfection, though, men suffer from eating disorders.

Eating disorders, like fashion, have long been considered women’s territory (Goode).   Consequently, men are much less vocal than women about their anxieties (Dickinson 162).  Pope et al. , in The Adonis Complex, contemplate how the prevalence of eating disorders has risen as a result of shifting body standards as the current trend prefers a leaner physique (129).  Or, perhaps men have simply become more outspoken or doctors more aware of the mutual gendered issue.  Grant, for instance, mentioned in The Adonis Complex, adhered to a strict gummy bear diet where he ate whatever he wished for breakfast and then gummy bears for the remainder of the day.  He lost over thirty pounds and weighed 158 pounds at 6 feet tall (Pope et al.127).  Steve another case, dieted down to 89 pounds at 5 feet 6 inches at age seventeen because he felt fat (Pope et al. 133).  Then at age eighteen he began weightlifting and became so entranced with getting larger that he took steroids and eventually weighed 189 pounds (Pope et al 133).   The National Runner’s Survey on Dieting and Eating found that 21 percent of 2,640 men were “terrified of gaining weight often, usually or always” (Pope et al. 134).  And recently, male models have quit bulking up in favor of slimmer measurements.  Now designers search for “long necks, pencil thighs, narrow shoulders and chests no more than 35.5 inches in circumference” (Trebay).  Ironically, while the public has started to appreciate curvier female figures like Crystal Renn and Christina Hendricks, men have become downright bony instead.

In a sense, women have more freedom in regards to dress.  Women have finally claimed male garments for business and casual wear, but men can’t borrow female garments (Hegland 181).  For example, in 1995, a London man was prohibited from wearing a skirt to his job by the Hackney Council because it too directly challenged the status quo (Arnold 117).  Men who select womanly attire receive abuse motivated from a fear that questions their sexuality and virility.  This video ad from 2009 insists that skirts will become fashionable for men and idealistically champions modern society as open-minded and credits historical styles like the Roman toga and Asian sarong.  Yet, thought the skirt is “adapted to the masculine body” (France 24 Fashion) it features shorts underneath.  This design markets hidden shorts by asserting its inherent practicality and lures reluctant customers with safety and familiarity of the shorts.  Truly, this is more of a hybrid skirt, or skort, rather than an actual skirt.  The popularity of the male skirt feels dubious.  One man questioned calls the male skirts “cool and trendy” (France 24 Fashion) but when asked if he’d wear one, he immediately responds, “No, I’m a man”  (France 24 Fashion).  With such firm gender standards it’s hard to imagine the average male population donning skirts and dresses any time soon.  Gender differentiations attract and perpetuate eroticized images.  Masculinity relies on unvarying formalities since it embodies law, order and control within society and any deviations from the norm create “great unease” (Arnold 111) for the dominant culture.  Women generate images of authority when they ape men whereas men degrade themselves by dressing as women, which further proves the negativity associated to femininity.  As Jane E. Hegland points out in “Drag Queens, Transvestites, Transsexuals: Stepping across the Accepted Boundaries of Gender”, we possess an instinctual approach to gender even without a “direct knowledge of a person’s genital sex, we know what a woman or man is supposed to look like.” (180-1) thanks to our ironclad delineations.

Our patriarchal society judges the sartorially inclined male as a threat to moral power, and flamboyant groups like the Macaronis and the Incroyables risk exposing masculinity as a purely imaginary concept (Arnold 112).  Dandies especially infuriated prudent bourgeoisie with their “inconspicuous consumption” (Arnold 112) and “sexually ambiguous status” (Arnold 112).  Regardless of their tastefully immaculate outfits, their dedicated infatuation to fashion above all elicited concern and suspicion.  Moreover, undistinguished Dandies could surpass class borders and fit in amicably with aristocrats due to their simple, pristine wardrobe.  Later, in the twentieth century, the emergence of glam rock superstars decked out in glittery makeup and the New Romantics love of frills and pirate get-ups have toed the boundaries between appropriate gendered wear.  Following in the footsteps of the dandy, the contemporary metrosexual has refined a new breed of men unabashedly concerned with appearance but of indeterminate sexuality.  Metrosexuals, as defined by Warren St. John, are “straight urban men willing, even eager, to embrace their feminine sides” (“Metrosexuals Come Out”).  They make easy targets for men’s publications due to their adoration of “$40 face cream…and custom-tailored shirts” (St John) and they wear pink and go shopping with women because they enjoy effeminate, aesthetic pursuits and feel secure in their sexuality.  In 2003, Bravo capitalized off the growing vibrancy of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy where five gay men educated clueless straight men in the art of style without sacrificing their masculinity.  However, the metrosexual is a figure bound to large cities, and men predominantly stay shackled to conservative apparel.

Furthermore, power wives and celebrity cougars have locked their sites on an accessory better than a Birkin: the trophy husband.  The day of the trophy wife hasn’t yet gone by, but more and more, high profile women are marrying pretty boy partners.  Demi Moore picked Ashton Kutcher, a former male model fifteen years her junior and Victoria Beckham found the ultimate metrosexual in David Beckham, a star footballer known for painting his fingernails pink.  Even Brad Pitt and Kurt Cobain arguably qualify; Angelina Jolie and Courtney Love pursued them for their sex appeal and success to straighten out their own bad girl reputations.  Gender equality is approaching, but not in an idealistic, egalitarian sense with the erasure of distinctions or disposal of physical imperfection woes.  Tension and obsession over appearance is steadily developing men, just like women.  Thanks to overwhelming media pressure, “guys are no longer pumping up and primping simply to get babes, but because…it’s something everyone expects them to do (Cottle 177)” by nature and not by option.  In our current culture, men are “becoming hysterical over the first signs of crows feet” (Cottle 177) just as women are over those last five pounds.  Everybody, women and men, care about appearance, but fashion isn’t easy on anybody.

Works Cited:

“Marketing Cosmetic Procedures for Men.” CosmeticSeo. 4 July 2008. 25 January 2011. <http://www.cosmeticseo.com/blog/marketing-cosmetic-procedures-men/>

“2009 Plastic Surgery Procedural Statistics.” American Society of Plastic Surgeons. 25 January 2011. <http://www.plasticsurgery.org/Media/Statistics.html>

Arnold, Rebecca.  Fashion, Desire and Anxiety: Image and Morality in the 20th Century. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2001.

Cottle, Michelle. “Turning Boys into Girls.” The Meaning of Dress. Ed. Mary Lynn Damhorst, Kimberly A. Miller-Spillman, Susan O. Michelman. New York: Fairchild Publications, Inc, 2005. 173-8.

Dickinson, Amy. “Measuring Up.” The Meaning of Dress. Ed. Mary Lynn Damhorst, Kimberly A. Miller-Spillman, Susan O. Michelman. New York: Fairchild Publications, Inc, 2005. 162.

France 24 Fashion. “Fashion: The return of men in skirts?” Online Posting. YouTube. 10 December 2009. 25 January 2011. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3vcyBrk0D8>

Goode, Erica. “Thinner: The Male Battle With Anorexia.” The New York Times. 25 June 2000. 25 January 2011. <http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F02EED7133EF936A15755C0A9669C8B63&pagewanted=1>

Hegland, Jane E. “Drag Queens, Transvestites, Transsexuals: Stepping across the Accepted Boundaries of Gender.” The Meaning of Dress. Ed. Mary Lynn Damhorst, Kimberly A. Miller-Spillman, Susan O. Michelman. New York: Fairchild Publications, Inc, 2005. 180-8.

Pope, Harrison, Katharine A. Phillips, Roberto Olivardia. The Adonis Complex: The Secret Crisis of Male Body Obsession. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2000.

St. John, Warren. “Metrosexuals Come Out.” The New York Times. 22 June 2003.  25 January 2011. <http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/07/fashion/shows/07DIARY.html>

Trebay, Guy. “The Vanishing Point.” The New York Times. 7 February 2008. 25 January 2011. <http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/07/fashion/shows/07DIARY.html>

Image Credits:

“Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore.” 5 September 2010. 10 February 2011. http://bestofmichaeljackson.jclondon.com/2010/09/05/white-suit-watch-ashton-kutcher-adds-a-checked-scarf-black-lapels-and-his-wife-demi/

“Beau Brummel.” Painting. 13 August 2010. 10 February 2011. http://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/2010/08/13/beau-brummels-tailors/

“GI Joe.” 10 February 2011. http://media.gamerevolution.com/images/misc/image/gi-joe-trasnformation.jpg

Blue, Taylor. “GQ Cover Jon Hamm.” 18 November 2008. 10 February 2011. http://tengossip.com/2008/11/18/gqs-men-of-the-yeardo-you-agree/gqman2/

Hello Magazine. “David and Victoria Beckham.” 16 December 2010. 10 February 2011. http://www.hellomagazine.com/celebrities/201012164672/hello-magazine/personalities-of/the-year-2010/1/

Johnson, Eric. “Male Models.” 7 February 2008. 10 February 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/07/fashion/shows/07DIARY.html

V&A. “Pirate Outfit. Vivienne Westwood.” 10 February 2011.                          http://www.vam.ac.uk/images/image/59345-popup.html

Fashion: Feminist Friend or Foe?

January 19th, 2011

Who has fashion?  Well, women for one.  The word “fashion” itself almost automatically links to females.  The common association conjures up images of excessive adornment and vapid frivolity: sky-high heels, clownish cosmetics and frilly dresses.  Women face bullying for failing to don feminine attire and weather insults when they focus on clothing with inordinate enthusiasm.  Yet, as Elizabeth Wilson reminds her readers in Adorned in Dreams: Fashion and Modernity, “until the seventeenth or the eighteenth century, sexual difference in dress was not strongly marked” (117) for children or adults.  Women and men carried purses and daggers and wore identical sporting clothes.  Both genders shared an affinity for jeweled bodices, earrings and curled hairstyles among other communal “bisexual styles” (Wilson 118).  But, as the eighteenth century approached the bourgeoisie, which advocated modesty and good taste, expanded in power and designed a stricter gender dichotomy (Wilson 118), one that eventually favored supposed masculine power over feminine frailty.

Economist and sociologist Thorstein Veblen, in his Theory of the Leisure Class, labels the Victorian woman as the ultimate luxury commodity through “conspicuous performance of vicarious leisure” (Veblen).  In this system, women are not only subservient to men, but also act as a mirror to his social status.  Veblen asserts that the ideal wife “is useless and expensive, and she is consequently valuable as evidence of pecuniary strength” (Veblen)of her husband.  Thus, a wife becomes an ornament, and her husband’s ability to maintain her lavish decoration communicates his own self-worth, hence the perceived value of debilitating items like the corset and the practice of foot-binding.  Obviously then, patriarchal society encourages behavior that renders a woman impotent.  She is invaluable in her physical (and even mental) worthlessness.

Consequently, feminist thought urges for the shedding of such a rigid portrayal of gender.   After all, gender is a social construct of biological sex.  Sex differences are natural whereas gender differences are artificial.  Alison Lurie discusses in The Language of Clothes how sartorial sex-typing starts from birth (214).  Although male and female clothing for children use nearly identical shapes and materials, distinctions arise from application of color (never pink for boys nor blue for girls, though the reverse was once true) along with decorative elements that convey mobility and vigor for males and gentility and nurturing for females (Lurie 214).  These gendered structures persist throughout life.  Moreover, as fashion gradually fluxes between styles, periods of marked cultural insecurity often reinstate conservative silhouettes, as seen with Dior’s New Look, which championed the maternal image as troops returned from war and sought to settle down with their spouses.  His wasp-waisted ideal “resurrected the overt femininity” of couture “which relied upon women seeing themselves as decorative objects” (Arnold 102) waiting for proper embellishment.

For that reason, the feminist perspective views fashion as a reinforcement of “traditionally sanctioned roles as sexual object, wife, mother, and homemaker” (Davis 175) as created through a lens of male dominance. Therefore, some feminists support the adoption of men’s dress to close the masculine/feminine gap (Davis 176). However, eradicating gender entirely seems problematic.  By dressing like men, women would in essence deny and discredit the legitimacy of the feminine while ironically validating patriarchy.  True, men have molded our model of femininity, but   if we covet feminine dresses should we wear them anyway?  If so, why should that be wrong, unless our desires are socially conditioned?  Then again, it’s difficult to find a craving that isn’t learned.  Additionally, fashion, for all its perceived frippery, does function practically.  Lurie explains how the adorned body appears “like a half-opened gift” (212) and entices through its concealment while the unadorned body feels dull and ordinary, especially after any long period of exposure.  So fashion clearly delineates the sexes through gendered apparel and aids in attraction, and eventual reproduction.  The eroticism of fashion assists human survival.  During times of heavily gendered appearances birth rates increase, and with more indistinct appearances birth rates decline.

Modernity hears the constant “cries of gender confusion” (Arnold 101).  Men face nearly analogous but inverted concerns as women.  Those who articulate too much interest in appearance or wear effeminate clothing risk a shameful connection to the feminine.  Contemporary fashion toys with conventional gender by blurring and reinventing styles that betray the instability between male and female.  But the issue lies in extremity.  Such balance requires the acceptance and integration of both the feminine and the masculine.  A gender mutable civilization would outfit women in suits and men in pink and vice versa without hesitation.  Fluidity voiced through the – unlikely – freedom of choice.  However, the unisex and androgynous “utopian dream” (Arnold 118) that appeals to individuals revolted by ostentatious consumerism reaches an impossible homogeneity.  Unisex fashions typically splinter off into more traditional gendered silhouettes.  Once an item acquires a specific designation, the other gender tends to shy away from it.  Androgyny, seeks to blend male and female traits into a single hermaphroditic unit, but the original androgynous body links the Grecian athletic youth, depicted with “male genitalia, and the flat, waistless figure of the masculine adolescent” (Arnold 123).  Even today, women more frequently masquerade as boys down the catwalk rather than the other way around.  The “fantasy of ‘wholeness’” (Arnold 122) venerates a singular body.  Our biological differences divide us, and fashion complicates them, if not makes them more compelling.

Sources:

Arnold, Rebecca.  Fashion, Desire and Anxiety: Image and Morality in the 20th Century. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2001.

Davis, Fred. Fashion, Culture, and Identity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992.

Lurie, Alison. The Language of Clothes. New York: Henry Holt and Company, LLC, 2000.

Veblen, Thorstein. The Theory of the Leisure Class. University of Virginia. <http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/VEBLEN/veb_toc.html>

Wilson, Elizabeth. Adorned in Dreams: Fashion and Modernity. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2003.

Image Credits:

“Life & Style: Shiloh Jolie-Pitt.” Photo. 4 March 2010. 10 February 2011. http://teenymanolo.com/2010/03/04/leave-shiloh-alone-jebus/

“Sofia Coppola Le Smoking.” Photo. 19 March 2009. 10 February 2011. http://sistersinblackfrocks.blogspot.com/2009/03/le-smoking-sofia.html

Kipar, Nicole. “French Noble Lady and Gentleman: 1693.” Engraving. 10 February 2011. http://www.kipar.org/period-galleries/galleries_1690e.html

Tang, Xiyin. “Men in Pink.” Photo. 28 January 2009. 10 February 2011. http://www.refinery29.com/menswear-gets-cheek.php

TMZ. “Adam Lambert and Kimberly Caldwell.” Photo. 19 March 2009. 10 February 2011. http://www.tmz.com/2009/03/19/adam-lambert-david-cooks-ex/2/

Whitson, Stephanie Grace and Nancy Moser. “Victorian Bustles.” Drawing. 4 November 2010. 10 February 2011. http://footnotesfromhistory.blogspot.com/2010/11/displaying-women.html

Introductory Remarks

January 12th, 2011

The code of reputability in matters of dress decides what shapes, colors, materials, and general effects in human apparel are for the time to be accepted as suitable; and departures from the code are offensive to our taste, supposedly as being departures from aesthetic truth.

-Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class

When beginning any new study I find it’s usually best, for clarity’s sake, to start straightaway with definitions.  But with fashion, explanations are elusive, or at the very least, startlingly insubstantial.  My personal go-to online dictionary, Dictionary.com, provides seven definitions for fashion, two of which are categorized as obsolete.  The first three read as follows:

  1. a prevailing custom or style of dress, etiquette, socializing, etc.
  2. conventional usage in dress, manners, etc., esp. of polite society, or conformity to it
  3. manner; way; mode

Each definition feels accurate but unsatisfying due, somewhat ironically, to its blunt factuality.  Last semester, when I first arranged this independent study in fashion theory, my original intention focused upon devising a coherent delineation of what fashion and anti-fashion are comprised.  Yet already after some preliminary readings, I’ve come to wonder if the more relevant and interesting question in terms of fashion hinges instead on the why.  Why does fashion exist?  Why do people select certain styles?  Why does fashion invade and spread within our culture so effectively?  The what of fashion follows a gradual cycle that operates on a return and retreat pattern from trends, but the why, the motivation for continual consumption of fashion – sexual attractiveness, self-expression, an articulation of power or novelty – remains an uncertain (albeit a more compelling) matter.

Fashion defies solid analysis as a result of its intrinsically paradoxical nature, specifically illustrated by Georg Simmel’s dichotomy of socialism and individualism.  Simmel observes in Fashion how fashion both enhances “the charm of imitation” (132) within social groups which frees consumers “from the worry of choosing” alone in favor of merging “as a creature of the group” (132).  However, he also remarks upon the opposing quality of individualism implicit within fashion.  Just as clothing acts as a medium of unification, it can separate and distinguish between people with a “need of differentiation… the desire for change and contrast” (Simmel 133).  In fact, Simmel asserts that “Fashion raises up even the most unimportant individual” (140) stimulated by a lust for attention or a need for rebellion.  Duality is fashion’s lifeblood. This maybe exemplifies fashion’s appeal to a wide audience who aim to blend and protrude sartorially.  Additionally, fashion supplies and exemplifies the zeitgeist, it embraces modernity and the avant-garde but remains within historical and commercial lines for fear of conservative customers (Blummer 343).  By and large, trends cycle slowly and radical changes receive disappointing sales.  Another intriguing relationship, fashion and anti-fashion, perpetuate through their “parasitic relationship”  (Davis 167).  Previously, I assumed that fashion functioned as a cultural standard of aesthetics and anti-fashion as a marginalized response, but Fred Davis collects contrary evidence in Fashion, Culture, and Identity of designers themselves crediting how modern fashion relies heavily upon the inspiration of anti-fashion (164) in its multiple guises.  Indeed, Davis analyzes how designers discredit “mere fashion,” (164) infusing it with a negative connotation, in favor of anti-fashion movements.  On one hand, this partnership combats monotony of style through an exploration of innovation, but on the other, anti-fashion proponents could rebuke fashion’s leaching attitude as a dilution of minority and/or underground apparel for a profit.

Aside from shameless moneymaking, a poisonous stereotype of frivolity and vanity lingers around fashion.  Critics of fashion deride and question its value in society.  Although, as Thorstein Veblen points out in The Theory of the Leisure Class, “The effects [of fashion] are pleasing to us chiefly because we’ve been taught to find them pleasing (Veblen).”  Yes, fashion acts as a social construct, but after its long history, fashion remains one that communicates on a deeply symbolical level permeating cultural consciousness.  Fashion is a visual translation of a person’s identity.  What we wear indicates our gender, can amplify our race and ethnicity, classifies our sexuality and suggests our social and financial class among other basic characteristics.  Furthermore, in the hands of individuals, the sartorial can become a tool for image manipulation and an accidental detector of personal aspirations.  Truly, fashion speaks louder than words. Valerie Steele argues for the “intimate connection with the self” (45) and adornment in Fashion and Eroticism as vital to connecting the unclothed human body to its particular cultural context.  Any fashion statement then, even one of outright apathy or the total rejection of clothing, generates a personal statement of one’s “ideal self” (Steele 46).  Moreover, minimal essentials fail to gratify the public.  Purchasing clothing by the seasons might not be economically sound or even necessary, still a utilitarian outrage approach to dressing with unisex modular suits designed for year-round wear hasn’t yet caught on in the mainstream (Davis 171), which signals the prevailing pertinence and consumption of fashion as identity crafter.

Over the years the dissemination of fashion has adapted as well.  Once the indicator of conspicuous consumption, fashion has become attainable for much of the world’s population rather than a wealthy few.  Simmel’s concept of the top-down or trickle-down theory appears apt, yet less appropriate in conjunction to the trickle-across or horizontal theory, which proposes that mass fashion and media exposure permit people of any status to acquire new styles (McCracken 42).  And Diana Crane champions a bottom-up model for that very reason.  She claims that age rather than class serves as the mode of fashion diffusion (15).  Simmel himself identified how upper classes, much like the middle-aged, behave conservatively to change because it cannot grant them more power or authority.  Whether horizontal or bottom-up, though, the fashion industry has continued to widen its grip on the public through mass-production of goods transported across vast geographic space.  The exploding ubiquity of fashion bloggers, the craze of fashion-related TV shows, such as The Rachel Zoe Show, What Not To Wear and Project Runway, and the DIY philosophy as marketed through small, handmade businesses trafficked by Etsy has initiated a more of a hands-on, no-fear stance toward fashion for consumers of all ages.  Read almost any fashion blog and you’ll find a flourishing network where bloggers advertize for each other’s blogs, include posts on socializing with fellow bloggers, receive items gratis from designers and launch giveaways and contests for readers. Given the burgeoning transition toward computer technology and the Internet over print resources, it’s doubtful fashion blogs will disappear.  For instance, in 2009, Vogue and the CDFA launched Fashion’s Night Out in 2009 as a strategy to improve the industry during a struggling economy and to broaden general knowledge of fashion community (“Fashion’s Night Out”).  By the next year, sixteen more countries joined the list of participants (Wang).  Today, the heads of the fashion business and the technologically savvy ingénues sell the inclusive dream that fashion is for everyone.

Sources:

“Fashion.” Def. Dictionary.com. Web. 12 January 2011.

“Fashion’s Night Out NYC 2009.”  Nitrolicious. Web. 12 January 2011.  <http://www.nitrolicious.com/blog/2009/08/18/fashions-night-out-nyc-2009/>

Blummer, Herbert G. “Fashion.” International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. Ed. David L. Sills. Vol 5. The Macmillian Company & The Free Press.

Crane, Diana. “Diffusion Models and Fashion: A Reassessment.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. Vol 566, No 1. 1 November 1999: 13-24.

Davis, Fred. Fashion, Culture, and Identity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992.

McCracken, Grant D. “The Trickle-Down Theory Rehabilitated.” The Psychology of Fashion. Ed. Michael R. Solomon.  Lexington: Lexington Books. 1985.

Simmel, Georg. “Fashion.” International Quarterly 10. 1904: 130-55. <http://www.modetheorie.de/fileadmin/Texte/s/Simmel-Fashion_1904.pdf>

Steele, Valerie. Fashion and Eroticism: Ideals of Feminine Beauty from the Victorian Era to the Jazz Age. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985.

Veblen, Thorstein. The Theory of the Leisure Class. University of Virginia. <http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/VEBLEN/veb_toc.html>

Wang, Connie. “Fashon’s Night Out Expands World Wide.” Refinery 29. Web. 12 January 2011. <http://www.refinery29.com/fashions-night-out-expands-worldwide.php>

Image Credits:

“Splurge vs. Steal.” 16 February 2009. 10 February 2011. http://www.fabfindsunder50.com/2009/02/splurge-vs-steal-south-of-france-chic.html

“Street Fashion.” Photo. 20 December 2007. 10 February 2011. http://www.hipgirlie.com/2007/12/20/bizarre-and-funky-street-fashion/

Dryden, Helen. “Vogue Edition Francaise.” Drawing. 13 November 2007. 10 February 2011. http://eyesing.typepad.com/eyesing/2007/11/vogue-edition-f.html

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