Opinion

The More You Subtract, The More You Add

The More You Subtract, The More You Add

On Disempowering Women Through Fashion Advertising

As far as I know, I was the first person to study the image of women in advertising. I started collecting ads in the late 1960s, tearing them out of magazines and putting them on my refrigerator with magnets. Gradually I began to see a pattern in the ads and to see certain themes emerging – such as the tyranny of the ideal image of beauty, the dismemberment and objectification of the female body, the obsession with thinness, and the normalisation of sexual assault and battering.

READ MORE

Fashion Writing: On Fighting the System

Fashion Writing: On Fighting the System

It’s an open secret in the industry that advertising brands dictate editorial content, sometimes explicitly, often tacitly. Stories of reporters being banned from shows after unfavourable reviews belong to fashion folklore, but accounts of PR people demanding final approval of articles, interviews being cut short after an uncomfortable question and designers bringing their own recording devices to interviews are surprisingly common.

READ MORE

The Art-Fashion Tangle

The Art-Fashion Tangle

Separating the art and fashion worlds from each has become increasingly difficult in contemporary culture: fashion, which has long been a borrower of imagery from art, is also used as material for artists to critique the commercial and social values it represents. With fashion being the thriving image marketplace that it is, there is always an abundance in appropriated or re-contextualised images.

READ MORE

Perfectly Hideous

Perfectly Hideous

Beauty and Ugliness in Contemporary Fashion

Against an over-saturation of images and information, our aesthetic judgments are complicated by the coexistence of ‘beauty’ and ‘ugliness’ within contemporary fashion. At this intersection emerges ‘good-bad’ taste, identified here as an eclectic montage of formal qualities that evoke past and traditional imagery otherwise rejected as faux pas – fashion ‘don’ts’ – revived in the present and celebrated as beautiful.

READ MORE

Fashion Grammar

Fashion Grammar

Making a Case for Re-reading Barthes

Given its infancy in the world of academia, fashion studies still shows signs of a discipline in the making, measuring and comparing itself against the long tradition of critical thinking in subjects such as art and architecture. With this in mind, we can in fashion theory often find a reliance on certain key figures. One such figure is Roland Barthes, whose name reverberates throughout the field.

READ MORE