23.7.10

textual. contribute you all. (rhymes?!)

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A few days - ahem, WEEKS (man, I've even had this post prepared for awhile now...) - ago, I posted this super awesome magazine and, to end the post, I posted my absolute favourite page of the entire magazine. Which is below. I suggest you read it, because that's what I'm surrounding this post on.
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Now, I don't usually ever (as in NEVER) do "all-word" posts, but I feel like this is an important topic. I'm kind of assuming that most of you have an interest in fashion as this is a fashion blog, and you probably have a fashion blog, and yeah, so I thought that this might be a good arena to discuss this subject of "fashion." I'll try to make it as coherent and eloquent as possible but, truth be told, I'm kind of between ideas and opinions and thoughts and rambles and I can't promise that those two adjectives will best describe my words. So warning?

When I read this page, I IMMEDIATELY agreed. Fashion absolutely has a tainted portrayal of the real world; the clothing is unaffordable, the sizes are unnatural, and fashion's overall portrayal of the world is incorrect. Absolutely. Without a doubt. Looking at magazines, now in particular, a lot of questions run through my head... Why don't I see normal people on the runway? Why are the pages in the magazines from a seemingly different world than my own?
It's really sad what fashion portrays. There's this tainted perception of beauty and what's "hot" and what's "in," warping people's mind on both beauty and the fashion industry, in general. And I disagree with this. Definitely. At risk at sounding like a five year old, the fashion industry needs to GROW up. We NEED to see different sizes and races and people. We NEED to see the real world, and not just this warped world of so-called "beauty."

But, then again, I don't think that fashion denies what it portrays. No one is like, "No, fashion depicts what life should be." No. I think that we can ALL recognize that the world isn't filled with size 0 white girls in thousands of dollars worth of clothing. I think the people in the industry recognize that fashion ISN'T reality. (I'm almost certain that Anna Wintour alluded/ said this in the September Issue, but I'm failing at finding a quote that encompasses this.) Ultimately, fashion - or at least how it's portrayed in the media, in the runway, in the industry - ISN'T real life. And perhaps that's the idea?

Is
fashion SUPPOSED to reflect the real world? Is fashion supposed to be attainable? Or is fashion supposed to be an idea, a dream? Something to escape to?

I don't know; I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with these thoughts. These are just questions that are entering my mind. I guess the main concept that all of these ideas are kind of leading towards is WHAT IS FASHION SUPPOSED TO GIVE YOU?

The answer to this question is pretty subjective - to be honest, I don't even have my own, full opinion constructed - but I'll try to examine it. I mean, from an industry's perspective (and I am in no way in the industry, so I guess that this is just an "outsider's" perspective), I would think that the main objective of fashion is to create a vision - it's a luxury, it's glamorous, it's something people are supposed to look at and WANT. (Again, insert Anna Wintour quote here.) Magazines put pretty people in pretty clothes with pretty words and when you see all if this you think, "Wow! I want that!" No, it's not realistic, nor attainable. But that's the idea. I mean, if it WAS attainable, if it WAS something you saw looking outside your front step, what would be the purpose of the magazine? What would it be presenting? After all, fashion is, ultimately, like any other industry - a business. To sell, to market, to manipulate. All in all, the fashion industry wants to create a vision that you WANT; not something that you already have.

Now, what is fashion supposed to give YOU, as a person? Like I said, this is obviously extremely subjective. It gives me something to get excited about, it gives me a mean of self expression... But, when I thought about it - I mean, really thought about what and why I love fashion - it kind all boils down into a simple idea: it's an "escape." When I look at a beautiful collection on style.com, flip through a fabulous editorial in NYLON, put on a eccentric outfit, or even write in my very own blog, I feel like I'm entering a different world. Not necessarily a world of "glamour" per say, but a world that's, well, different from what I'd see at a local mall. It's NOT real life. It's a whole new world. And THAT'S pretty damn cool. (Is that the trap of fashion? Is that what the industry is TRYING to do? Am I being lured in?)

So I guess this is kind of alluding towards the idea of fashion and what it does: which, in my opinion, is creating a vision, an escape. Something that IS different from real life. IS fashion supposed to be truth? About real life? Or is it supposed to be an image? A vision?

Now, I know that it sounds like I'm defending fashion, so I'll have you know that I am, in no way, agreeing with the fashion industry and it's portrayal of "beauty" and, as the magazine is alluding towards, life in general. Rather, I'm trying to generate an idea as to WHY this is going on. WHY fashion DOESN'T show "real life." And, in my opinion, the creation of luxury, image, and visions is why this goes on.

This isn't to say that I support all this. No. Definitely not. I remain true to my initial reaction to this page - utter agreement. To put it simply (my personal opinion, of course), FASHION NEEDS REVOLUTION. It needs to change its perception of the public - deciding what people should look like and the ideals of beauty - but, at the same time, the public also needs to change its perception of the industry. Because of these faults of fashion, the public has a very warped perception of the industry. And rightfully so. With skinny-minnies going down the runway and magazines flaunting all things "HOT," OF COURSE the public questions the industry and its morals and ideals alongside.

But, I think that the industry has SO MUCH POTENTIAL. Fashion is everywhere. It really, really is. I know that I'm being very bias because I love fashion, but still. I'm kind of reiterating what I said in part of my speech here but, fashion is inescapable. To borrow a quote from Coco Chanel, "Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening."

I truly view fashion as art. Look at something like THIS and tell me that's not art. It's beautiful. But, because of how the fashion industry can portray itself in magazines - "Wear this!" "Ladies, look hot today!" 'That's so out!" "Lose your fat now!" - fashion gets the label of being frivolous, arrogant, and stupid. And sure, in some respects, perhaps caring about your appearance IS arrogant. Yes, we should be judged for WHO we are - our personality, our morals, our talent - not what we wear. But is that to say that we have to reject fashion? Yes, there is more to life than fashion. Absolutely. But is that to say that we can't ENJOY fashion? A powerful form of self-expression? The singular way in which you CAN express yourself, without even SPEAKING?

I guess I'm really just SICK of many aspects surrounding the fashion industry - both how it portrays people/beauty/fashion and, at the same time, how people portray IT. I was reading the comments on Fashionista regarding Vogue's September issue to feature a BLACK actress, Halle Barre. Despite the racial change - in which many people applauded as a refreshment from the generic blond/ "all american" actresses - people still indicated their need for CHANGE. The need for things to move forward. To refresh. To REVOLUTIONIZE.

Why DON'T we see more regular people on the covers of magazines? In runway shows? In magazine editorials? Sure, we're trying to maintain this image of "beauty" but, is that to say you and I - regular people - AREN'T beautiful? Isn't everyone beautiful? Fat, skinny, black, white? In some shape or form?

In a way, blogging is a step in this direction. To me, one of the most appealing things about blogs is that they are REAL people; real style, real clothes, real sizes, shapes, ethnicity. The phenomenon that blogging has created is INCREDIBLE. Real people! Why can't we see more real people in magazines? Why not some elderly rocking editorials more or some "fat" people on magazine covers once in awhile?

And why are we always labelling things in fashion? "Hot" "not" "in" "out." One thing that I find ironic is that, in general, we have the fashion industry mocking conformity - ha-ha, those kids in those hideous hollister mall assembles. Yet, at the same time, I can't help but to think that the fashion industry, too, looks like a sea of conformity. So much of what we see in magazines - the styling, the people, the labels - are THE SAME. (The model off duty rant is a whole other post...). Is it too scary to make the jump? Is sticking to what we know the safe bet?

I can't predict the future but maybe - just maybe - WE can be part of the generation that gives the fashion industry the push it needs. We don't have to reject the ideas that formulate the fashion industry in the first place - the vision, the dream... it should all stay, it needs to stay - but, while creating this dream, why not embrace the WORLD? Everything and everybody in it is so damn beautiful and can, surely, still create this beautiful vision and escape that is embodied in fashion. But instead of manipulating minds and gaining labels of arrogance and stupidity and creating this aura of exclusiveness, let's SHARE the love. Don't tell people what to wear. Don't tell people what's hot, what's not. For god's sake, stop taking every damn thing so seriously. Can we please just have some FUN with fashion?! OPEN people to new ideas! To embracing fashion, not rejecting it as arrogant! To recognize the ART behind it. The PASSION behind it. It's not stupid - it's pure LOVE for the subject that creates these kinds of things. But, while doing so, just inject some fun and lighten up.

I write all this and I dream all this because I love it so much. But, MAN, it drives me crazy sometimes.

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Pheeeew! Enough from me. If you read all that, well, I give you a gold star because you're a winner. (That was weird.) But honestly, virtual high five, now? You're a trooper. Please, I'd LOVE to hear all your thoughts. So, without further ado...
YOUR THOUGHTS ON ANY OF THIS?
Do you think the fashion industry is supposed to be a vision? Or should it be more attainable? Would you like to see more "real" people in magazines and on the runway? Or do you like the luxury and glamor presented? Do you think the industry conforms too much? Or do you think we criticize it too much? What does fashion give YOU?

Feel free to write a post in response or anything of that manner because I'd genuinely LOVE to hear your thoughts.


18 comments:

Naka said...

i think fashion is an illusion when people say they use fashion to represent themselves im quite confused I kinda wish they explained theirselves more and reasoned kinda thing hmm i digress

i think there should be more diversity in the fashion world, and i agree fashion is a luxury and should be fun not painful (models starving themselves and risking their life and fertility just to fit in tiny clothes)

LyddieGal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LyddieGal said...

This is a big issue, and I don't think that fashion (haute couture) has to be real.

Looks on the runway are typically artful and imaginative and not something I would ever, actually want to wear. I am not interested in the person in the clothes so much as the clothes themselves. and it's not the fashion industry that makes me wish I had longer legs -- it's all the real bloggers with amazing legs that haven't been photoshopped so I can't just say "eh, i'm sure her legs aren't really that great."

I jest.

Clothing stores want their clothes to look good. In our world skinny and tall is perceived as good.

since they are only concerned with their bottom lines, it's not in their best interest to change.

I know my body, I know how to dress to my best features, and seeing clothing on a model who's body is similar to mine might be nice, but it wont change what I buy.

And then there are us. the fashion bloggers. scores of real people, everyday, wearing clothing that was only intended for the tall and slim, and looking fabulous. if fashion changed, would we?

or would we stop to shout out a brief hooray, and then keep on going, exactly as we are?

Chic on the Cheap

Ali said...

Hell, I totally see it as dreamlike. I've seen articles and interviews where models say they don't even recognize themselves in those pictures.. even though it's them. There's no diversity, even though at times they say "we're hiring plus size models, etc" but in the end it all ends the same because they don't even look like themselves once the pictures are done.. programs can edit people on and on and on.

I agree with Lyddie above, too.. I know what fits me and what works and sometimes I can't follow the fashion industry, which gives me a sense of freedom, but also I can feel locked because there is a want of looking a certain way.

Awesome post, dude.

CDG said...

I feel that so many people have a misinterpretation of what fashion really is. They get fashion and the fashion industry mixed up with one another. I like to think that fashion is more about personal style, where as the fashion industry is the trends and skinny=beautiful image that is thrown at the public.
So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that the fashion industry is not attainable to most of the population. But, personal style is attainable to anyone.

Fashion is a simple pleasure in life that some people take full advantage of. At the end of the day, I'm going to wear whatever I want and I don't give a shit if it's "in" or "out."
You nailed it when you said that fashion is an escape. That is the one reason why I love it; in this crazy fucked up world, fashion is one thing that genuinely makes me happy. So, in my opinion, magazines and the fashion industry can remain the same and throw stick thin models down the runway and in editorials. It will never really affect me or how I choose to dress.

Becca said...

I can see both sides of the argument. I do believe that fashion is an art form, and if a designer believes his work is best displayed on a rail thin model because that's how it's created, then we have to accept that to a certain extent. If the designer is actually an artist (and I think that this is true of some designers, but certainly not of all of them) then it's unfair to say how his or her vision should be expressed and displayed. To put it into perspective, you wouldn't walk into the studio of an artist and complain about the quality of the canvas he's using. When you think of fashion as art, you have to think of the model as a canvas. In fashion that can be elevated to the level of art, the model is largely secondary anyway.

I also think there are some artistic elements in the magazine industry. For example, there is no denying that Grace Coddington is an amazing creative mind. However, the overall effect of magazines is conveying standards of beauty and encouraging consumption of that which is deemed "in." In perpetuating standards of beauty, I think the magazine industry has a duty that the artful designer does not, and that is to show a variety of skin tones, body types, and notions of beauty. This is probably also in their overall best interest, by using a varying standard of beauty, a magazine can reach a broader audience. This goes back to the idea that fashion is largely an insider game and is designed to appeal to the in crowd, which may be the overall problem.

I completely agree with you that blogging is revolutionizing this industry and opening up fashion to a much broader community. I'm quite excited to see what influence blogging will have on the future of fashion.

Ruta, Look Ugly in a Photograph said...

Want to publish this somewhere? You should. I'm totally linking this in my post tomorrow (Tuesday).

I agree with you that the fashion industry is a vision, an escape. I don't read that many magazines anymore because I realised how hypocritical they are.
Plus like you said, the things they show are way too expensive. The average woman cannot afford it. But again, like you said, it's supposed to be a vision. It kind of creates goald for women to seek to be at that certain level where they can achieve what the fashion industry portrays.
I dunno, I'm kind of sick of fashion as run by all those people at the top. i prefer bloggers because it's regular people who wear things that anyone can afford. They are the original people. Hot or not, in or out doesn't exactly exist in the blogging world.

I'm rambling. I can't really get my point out right cause it's late, but AMAZING post. I really enjoyed reading it and will definitely recommend it to some of my friends.

Gayle said...

Thank you for your thoughts :)
Glad to see some people are actually deep enough in all this superficiality madness of fashion.

Kudos to your post!

-Gayle
Visit my blog!
www.gayleisvolatile.blogspot.com

Lexy @ Quirky Explosion said...

Wow - thank you so much for all the thorough comments. Really really really excellent points! (Damn, I sound like a teacher.) I'm glad that we're kind of on the same page.

Keepitrockkinn said...

Fashion is part of how you present yourself. In a lot of ways, it expresses who you are. There are two sides to your argument, obviously. If the designer has a "vision" and if that involves someone who is paper thin, then so be it.

I think that maybe if some designers were to break that mold, then it will slowly become more acceptable to include different races and different body types. It deeply distresses me to see young girls trying to be skinny so that they can look like the girls on the runway or on the magazines.

I mean, I just want to see some hot couture that would look good on me, and it's a liiiitttleeee unfair that it's not made to look good on people who are not skinny but not fat (in other words, average).

Great post. I really, really identify with you.

frockitout.blogspot.com

michelle_ said...

get ready for my "essay comment"
im so glad you tackled this issue lexy. i've been wondering myself too. I agree with the thing that we fashion people are in another world. Sometimes even the my "normal, boring" outfits are considered fancy and dashing enough for the "mall people".

as for the skinny models, etc. that's really a though debate. being a fashion business student, i understand why it's crucial to use skinny models. simply because they look good in pictures, making the brand's product look good.. which also triggers customers to buy it. Even a healthy figure could look big in pictures (usually the camera puts 5-10lbh more).. so its really a tough debate for that.. for me, the best bet is to use a "skinny fit" model like doutzen kroes. she's actually not just a bone structure walking down the street ! she those curves and her face is just as gorgeous as other models !

i just got a comment on my latest post from my regular reader that i look bigger in the top I wore. Not that im being defensive and unwilling to accept criticism, but i honestly dont think i look big at all ! yes the top sorta accentuated my boobs a bit (and with a cinched belt i guess my chest sorta popped out more).. but i still think my weight is totally normal.. people actually find it surprising that my weight is around 52 kgs (and no im NEVER ashamed of sharing my weight unlike many girls do).. they though im around 45 kgs.. id look sick if i was that light !

this is why i love the wonderful world of blogs. i dont know why but the chinese racial group is actually pretty good in terms of blogging.. i mean Susie Bubble is one of the BIG bloggers there ! the haute pursuit ! lily from bleed for fashion. the park and cube ! and even YOU lexy [yes i didnt type that wrong]. so i DO get some confident boost when i see alot of other asian girls do their fashion experiments throughout the internet !

In other words, the fashion industry DOES have the power to change people's way of thinking. lots of my asian pals think they look ugly and they spend gazillions of dollars for those double lid eye surgery. im one of the few that's anti plastic surgery. not being hypocritical or anything. I think if the industry starts to display girls in all sorts of tones, shapes, etc. our generation will feel better about themselves. and anoxeria problems will decrease too !

Joanne Faith said...

This is a great piece of writing. I agree with you, I think that fashion is 'another world' like you say, one where the aesthetic is of highest importance. It's okay to get lost and have a bit of fun - but it's important to remember that this need to have 'everything' isn't as pressing as you think it is. The people who look at pictures in magazines/shops are so much more 'normal' than you think!

kyki said...

I wish I had read the books! *sadface* Everyone has, and they're like, "Oh, the series won't be that great. I already know what happened", and I'm like EFF YOOOUUUUUUUU. Haha.

I'm glad you stopped by and saw the award! I meant to leave you a comment about it earlier but I totes forgot. Whoops. I'm super duper sorryyyyyy. But you're legit great and cool ("grool" - OHSNAPMEANGIRLSREFERENCEI'MSOCLEVER).

Make a new blog post! OKAI? I'm dying without new content from your awesome mind. KKK? K. I'm done sounding like a creep now. >:)

- xo, kyki ♥

lunacy--fringe.blogspot.com

Britty said...

life... so agreed with you =]

Leia said...

Really thought provoking post as usual! I haven't really thought about it much... I suppose one of the things that makes people love and covet fashion so much is because designer fashion *isn't* attainable, which makes us want it more! Maybe we would all be less materialistic if it were. I do wish we could have more 'real' models and less airbrushing and crazy dieting, though!

Leia

shannonnatasha said...

I completely agree with the article. I know fashion isn't attempting to be reality but if it conveying the idea that we all should desire to be size 2 rich, white women, I think that's even worse than attempting to be realistic and posting photos of size 2, rich, white women. Personally I think that if fashion presented something more achievable, it wouldn't be undream-like but instead, could make someone feel good about themselves to realise that no one is perfect and diversity is beauty. Not conventionalism.

Feby said...

I do agree with you and your photos they're amazing <3.

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