Little Doubts Everywhere

Little Doubts Everywhere

In the 21st century ‘little doubts’ have entered the field of fashion at its core: from doubts about the necessity of the fast-paced rhythm of fashion to doubts about the sustainability of its production models. Yet none of these little doubts challenges the actual paradigm of the fashion system, rooted as it is in the temporal dynamic of rejection (advancedness and backwardness) mirrored by the fashion system in all kinds of ways: body types, skin colour, social class. So where might the paradigm-level change in the fashion system come from?

READ MORE

Everyday Use

Everyday Use

In real life I am a large, big-boned woman with rough, man-working hands. In the winter I wear flannel nightgowns to bed and overalls during the day. I can kill and clean a hog as mercilessly as a man. My fat keeps me hot in zero weather. I can work outside all day, breaking ice to get water for washing; I can eat pork liver cooked over the open fire minutes after it comes steaming from the hog.

READ MORE

Freedom!

Freedom!

‘Freedom’ is a word that is shamelessly overused in fashion media and fashion marketing. The term is a staple of fashion campaigns – which a brief look at ads of the past couple of years can confirm. Freedom is promised to you, the reader and consumer, as long as you buy a freedom-inducing item.

READ MORE

Skin and Smoke

Skin and Smoke

The great black and gold stoppered boules of Lanvin—Arpège or My Sin on Bette Davis’s vanity in All About Eve, the towering factice of Robert Piguet Bandit in the Paris bathroom from which Ann-Margret applies in delight in Made in Paris spoke to some secret world. Perfumes became the ultimate luxury in my eyes, and the ultimate femininity. My assumption was that this near-mystical sillage, like the distraction of a magician’s smoke, would transport me to womanhood. But I learned a scented path is as complex in its revealings of desire and development as any perfume’s structure.

READ MORE

Losing Control

Losing Control

The Nineteenth-Century Beard Movement in Europe and North America

Viewed from a distance of more than a century, the nineteenth-century beard fashion looks like a basic historical fact. And yet the arrival of this fashion came as a great shock for those who lived through it. Sweeping much of Europe, North America, and Latin America after roughly two centuries of clean-shavenness, the beard movement was almost certainly the most dramatic development in nineteenth-century men’s fashion – every bit as shocking as if knee breeches and ruffled shirts were to once more become the dominant mode of men’s dress throughout the so-called ‘Western’ world.

READ MORE

What Fashion Is Not (Only)

What Fashion Is Not (Only)

Fashion is often characterised as a representation of society, its ‘most precise reflection.’ Yet, specular reflections are optical illusions based on light and its energy. Standing in front of a mirror, we see not only a virtual image, but also a fundamentally distorted one. Underlying this metaphor seem to be two prevalent perceptions of fashion: that fashion communicates accurately and that what we wear is indicative of who we are. This reading of fashion implies that if fashion were a mirror of society and its members, the mirror can be read.

READ MORE