Liberal Role In Fashion Industry? Consumerism

Discussion in 'Designers and Collections' started by izauze, Sep 10, 2004.

  1. izauze

    izauze New Member

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    Hello there,

    I really don't know if I'm in the right place or not, but for quite a while I've been wanting to ask someone in the fashion industry about how politics and worldview generally work. As in all art fields, I'm sure you guys have your share of liberal, forward-thinking people, with undoubtedly a few exceptions as well. Sometimes it seems to me that the more crazy-talented an artist is, the more likely they are to have developed a very educated and liberal world view. You go to the art community of any city and you'll find some of the most liberal areas of the world.

    What I don't get is how this squares with fashion. Fashion seems so tied into the idea of people engaging in "mindless consumerism" as it were...spend a whole bunch of money on stuff you don't need because there's a name attached to it and whatnot. It's all about the elite classes determining that you don't fit in and to fit in you have to surrender all of your money to the god of outer appearance rather than working on the inside. It's part of the same idea of Noam Chomsky's theories around sports and television - that they distract us from what is truly important and from making progress as a society. Wearable sculpture I get. Aesthetic harmony, I get. But it is the industry, not the art that drives the constant need to outmode old fashion ideas so people throw away the stuff they got just last year and have to buy new stuff to stay in style. I'm sure there are socially conscious designers...probably some very prominent ones...so how do they make these two apparent dichotomies fit together in their minds? I'm not looking to argue so much about liberalism vs conservativism or any of that old mess, I'm just curious how high consciousness and high fashion fit if at all.
     
  2. Lena

    Lena etre soi-meme

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    welcome to tFS izauze, very interesting topic indeed.

    in my book, fashion is not only about supporting with money whatever the big names/brands have to offer. Politically correct spending is been attached to non-sweatshop produced clothing spending (see major global players of the low price bracket) , supporting emerging designers, snob the copy cats, investing in what is new and original.

    True, what the 'ruling class' and the 'fashionistas' wear shapes the wardrobe/styles for the majority mass consumers, but this is not dictated by 'fashion' this is class mobility, it's general submission to social climbing, its mimicism and insecurity, its lack of 'faith' in one's personal style and most of all it is a matter of choice.

    Fashion is democratic, there is something for everyone out there. The choice is ours, when we make a blind eye to the mass media 'heroes'

    True, we do buy things we dont need, just becuase they 'move' us but this is not the 'fault' of the global companies, the responsibility is always down to the consumer plus.. it can be real fun. Sad that the consumer is manipulated in such a strategical way, but really its up to every single person to explore and develop 'personal style' , to snob 'socialite' fashions and copying what the 'starlets' are wearing, to believe that he/she can make the right choices, to exist as an individual.

    In europe, there is a growing movement towards 'detecting and adopting' the new and rising names, a fast developing trend towards personality and anti-established-label spending. Fewer consumers spend on luxury products (mainly due to all the cheaper versions flooding the mass market) so exclusivity and originality are defining the rising spending trend.

    Label slavery is certainly on the decline.

    As for being a 'forward thinking' design label owner, think of Miuccia Prada, she supports new ideas and craftmanship as much as she can, while growing her label and inspiring the global market. So, yes, i think it can be done, one can mix political views with directing a big label, its not easy, its not 100% ethical, but it does exist and could inspire more towards the trend.

    :flower:
     
  3. softgrey

    softgrey flaunt the imperfection

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    good topic and good post lena...

    i agree with everything lena says...it is not the fault of the fashion companies if society behaves like a bunch of sheep and is easily manipulated into following trends.
    It is the responsibility of the consumer to make educated desicions and not fall prey to the hype...

    consumerism isn't inherently wrong...it all depends on the motivation. and just because i buy something new each season, why does that mean i have thrown away my purchases from last season?...i throw NOTHING away... :D

    waste not...want not... ^_^
     
  4. clay

    clay New Member

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    Tell It like it is !!!!!!!!!!!
    :woot: :flower:
     
  5. Lena

    Lena etre soi-meme

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    :blush: FashionSpotters with attitude unite :wink: :flower:
     
  6. faust

    faust New Member

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    Oh, wow, Lena, what an incredible post! You said everything I wanted to say and more.

    All I have to add in reply to the original poster (and thank you for a wonderful topic which I have brooded over myself many a time) is that fashion to me is a form of art (applied or not), hence I follow and support (with a modest part of my modest income) those who I think treat fashion the way I do - they are the artists and creators in their own right. Hence, I don't see how different buying a sweater is from buying a painting. Furthermore, I think it is a very complex and challenging process to express something in a clothing collection than throught painting or written or spoken words, and it takes a true talent to do so.

    You are absolutely correct in despising the consumer society that turned fashion into a material fetish - I do the same. However, on this board, there are quiet a few members who view fashion the way you view art. Stick around, if you care, and you will be surprised at how much intelligence and forward vision you will encounter.

    Last, but not least, allow me to turn around and point the finger back at the so called "art world". Is there not wide spread commercialism in that world? I am sure you know plenty of artists hiding behind a pose and pretense who are out only for their own success and fame and could hardly care for art itself. Aren't there numerous galleries that propel such artists who only care about the material gain? I have been very disillisioned during my brief flirtation with the New York bohemia - these people are as guilty as any dirty businessman in their aspiritaions, twice as guilty because art is supposed to be the instrument of aesthetical expression, which drives the progress of society. Those who are supposed to be the beacon of human values of society are killing those values. And that is all I have to say at this point.
     
  7. Lena

    Lena etre soi-meme

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    i absolutely agree with the points made by faust regarding the art machine, society artists and semi-talented proteges are giving the art world a bad name...
     
  8. softgrey

    softgrey flaunt the imperfection

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    faust makes a good point about the current art scene...such as it is...
     
  9. orlem

    orlem New Member

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    Very nice topic izauze :smile:

    I love tFS for its members who rebel against "sheep mentality" in fashion. There are a number of us who oppose the idea that fashion is shallow.

    Here are some links to threads & articles where we discussed & debated the social conscience of particular designers:
    Tara Subkoff
    Rei Kawakubo
    Tom Ford
    Raf Simons
     
  10. Johnny

    Johnny New Member

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    I agree with Faust and Lena, but isn't an extrapolation of Faust's point that it doesn't really matter whether fashion is labelled art or not? Faust, you point out that the art scene is full of commercialism, bull**t etc. The point about art, or clothes, or any other product is whether it "moves" you (as Lena said). I agree that you have to have criteria for that, and that they are more subjective, but the comparison with "art" in order to obtain validity doesn't seem right to me, and it can, in my humble view, lead to "preciousness" that isn't very appealling at all.
     
  11. faust

    faust New Member

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    Well, I do think that fashion is an art form - I am not trying to label it art in order to make a comparison, so in that sense I don't need to validate it. However, since the original poster started the topic by juxtaposing the two, I thought it was only appropriate to keep the topic in these margins.
     
  12. faust

    faust New Member

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    And

    Ann Demeulemeester
    Dries Van Noten
     
  13. Johnny

    Johnny New Member

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    I'm also juxtaposing the two, just coming to a slightly different view.
     
  14. faust

    faust New Member

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    I see what you are saying. Absolutely, everything has to "move" you, otherwise life is passionless and ugly. BTW, the book in my signature deals with that exact issue - I strongly recommend reading it if you ever have the time.
     
  15. PrinceOfCats

    PrinceOfCats Naturellement pulpeuse

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    My complete revulsion at the pretentious cult of ego which fuels modern art these days leads me to be very cynical about the real intellectual merit of a lot of self-proclaimed liberal 'non-mainstream'/'arthouse' designers.

    The art community where I live, in England, seems to be ruled by a bunch of vacuous hippy-dippy-trippies who are all about style and very little about substance. To me it's a complete aberration that fine art has be transformed one of the dullest, most homogenous art-forms by these style-mongers with their trendy lifestyles and naive opinions.

    In truly artistic fields, such as the cutting edge of avant garde jazz, artists regarded as radical and cerebral in the fine art (or fashion for that matter) community would be hacked to pieces by their peers as conservative dullards.

    For these reasons the only designer I really admire and would be willing to support if he was still designing and I had any money is Yves Saint Laurent and as for the rest - for me, it's too soon to tell.
     
  16. Johnny

    Johnny New Member

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    OK thanks for the recommendation.
     
  17. MulletProof

    MulletProof Well-Known Member

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    Lena, Softgrey & Faust: keep rocking, you guys have wonderful thoughts and ideas... :heart: :heart: :heart:

    (great vocabulary, btw. dictionary.com is now my second home :P )
     
  18. faust

    faust New Member

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    thank you, thank you :blush: :flower: .

    BTW, if you go to www.m-w.com, which is merriam-webster website, you can install m-w bar (kind of like Yahoo or Google bar) - then you can type words you are looking for straight into the bar window, without having to open another browser window. B)
     
  19. faust

    faust New Member

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    BTW, I would like to nominate Lena's post for post of the year.
     
  20. MulletProof

    MulletProof Well-Known Member

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    danke, that's a very useful advice :flower: :P
     

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