Ben Barry gives a fascinating overview of his dissertation on diverse models in fashion advertising. Kudos to Elle Canada for publishing the piece.
‘Everybody has to get dressed in the morning and go about the day’s business. What everybody wears to do this has taken different forms in the West for about seven hundred years and that is what fashion is’ (Hollander 1994:11). Cf. Fashion and Clothing
Rebecca Arnold’s Fashion: A Very Short Introduction highlights the history of fashion through the lenses of Designers, Art, Industry, Shopping, Ethics, and Globalization. Throughout the book, I was struck by fashion’s very close relationship with media. Arnold notes that designers use the media to brand themselves in a certain way, and then create the clothes to match; for example, Coco Chanel was seen as simple and sleek, Donna Karen branded her self as a busy, working mom, and Donatella Versace is a jet setter type. (10). However, fashion’s relationship with the media goes much further back.
My scent of choice: Miss Dior Chérie. I’ve been wearing it exclusively for a few years now and barely remember how that came to be. I had never seen a commercial for it nor was I accosted by an overeager salesperson and a spray bottom at my local mall. My mother had another Dior perfume and the overall notes in the Dior collections were my style. But after reading an article by Cynthia Freeland in Fashion: Philosophy for Everyone, I wonder if there are other factors contributing to my or another consumer’s preference for a certain perfume. Share the Fantasy: Perfume Advertising, Fashion, and Desire first points out that perfume advertisements are fundamentally different from other aspects of the fashion industry: such as clothing and cosmetics.
As women (and men) in academia, we’re given a set of both spoken and unspoken rules on what is appropriate. Appropriate to discuss, to research, or even to question. Fashion has remained firmly outside of that design. For philosophy and the humanities, fashion has been ignored “if not outright dismissed as vain and trivial” (Wolfendale and Kennett, xiii). Fashion: Philosophy for Everyone is a collection of essays exploring various aspects of fashion and its impact on our professional and personal lives. Specific, often overlooked, areas of discussion focus on questioning and expanding current definitions and implications of being fashionable, being cool, and being ethical, which we will explore in more depth in other posts. The overarching theme of the collection focuses on the simple idea that fashion touches all of us too profoundly to be denied access to an academic setting. Each essay acts as “proof” for this assertion.
As fashion designers begin using technology to inspire and shape their work, we can see the important impact cyber culture has on our bodies, fashion and the built environment within which we function. Bradley Quinn’s Techno Fashion explores a number of fashion designers whose work is impacted by technology both conceptually and aesthetically. It is this evolution of fashion that has the potential to “shape and rearrange the patterns of human association and community.” (p. 13) The interaction taking place between urban environments and the fashioned human prompts fascinating inquiry as technology begins to seep its way into each. To better understand this evolution, it is crucial to understand the qualities of the built environment, the body, techno fashion/cyber couture, and the issues that arise from their interaction and integration.
First off let me state that this is not a fashion book. Nor is it a beauty book. Nor, and you may find this surprising, is it a feminist manifesto. Still interested? Good. As the title suggests the author, Linda M. Scott, offers a fresh perspective on the relationship of fashion to radical feminism. Now you may be asking, “What relationship?” That universal misunderstanding is precisely the stereotype that Scott tackles, head on, in this volume. Professor Linda M. Scott, with meticulous research, challenges the longstanding assumption that fashion and feminism exist in stark opposition to each other. In a nutshell, Fresh Lipstick: Redressing Fashion and Feminism is a revisionist approach to the history of fashion and feminism.
Before I started reading The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women (Naomi Wolf, 1991) I was thinking: “oh great, another book that will tell me how women are influenced by magazines, big news”. But I’m glad to say I was mistaken.
The title of this book is in no way misleading. It is, in fact, a very short introduction to the history of fashion. Arnold takes the reader on a helicopter ride through fashion’s past, present, and future, hovering far above specific instances to locate very broad patterns. Some of these include the rise of the designer, the intersections between art and fashion, the development of the fashion industry, the impact of globalization, etc.