Another idea that felt very today: the short-in-front, long-in-back going-out top worn with jean shorts. All rights reserved. Runway Latest Shows Season Designer. Buy on Moda Operandi. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter. Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini Resort Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini Pre-Fall Sign up for Newsletter. Plato draws the distinction between reality itself on the one hand and its appearances on the other, between depth and surface.
And fashion is surface through and through. It is, by the way, also possible to notice a certain scepticism about clothes as early as Plato, who links clothes to beauty, but a beauty of a somewhat fraudulent nature. In general, philosophers have not been highly fashionconscious, either. Once more an exception is Kant, who was.
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As Kant himself expressed it: It is always better [. When Carlyle began work on the book, he wrote in his diary: I am going to write Nonsense. It is on Clothes. Heaven be my comforter! The main character is Diogenes Teufelsdrckh devils shit , who has decided to investigate the moral, political, even religious Influences of Clothes. It then turns out that it is not the actual items of clothing that interest Teufelsdrckh, rather their meaning.
He underlines that the original purpose of clothing was neither warmth nor decency but ornamentation. This is the important thing for a philosophical investigation of fashion: the meaning of fashion. It must also be stressed that the widespread conception of Sartor Resartus as a rejection of fashion can only partially be said to be true.
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Rather than being an attack on fashion as such, Carlyle wishes to defend human authenticity that the inner is to correspond to the outer, and that ones outer self ought to be the expression of a genuine spirituality. To a great extent Carlyle considered Sartor Resartus a joke, and the book is undeniably amusing, but even so it is also one of the most perceptive books ever written.
As Simmel has emphasized in his Philosophy of Fashion, there is a link between fashion and identity. It is this track I have sought to follow in the present book. Clothes are a vital part of the social construction of the self. Identity is no longer provided by a tradition, but it is just as much something we have to choose by virtue of the fact that we are consumers. Fashion is not just about class differentiation, as has been claimed in classic sociological analyses from Veblen to Bourdieu, but just as much about expressing ones individuality.
Clothing is part of the individual, not something external in relation to personal identity.
a short philosophy of fashion in 35 quotes
The philosopher and writer Hlne Cixous emphasizes, for example, that clothes are not primarily a shield for the body but function rather as an extension of it. Of neces-sity this expression will be in a dialogue with fashion and the increasingly rapid cycles of fashion indicate a more complex conception of the self, because the self becomes more transient. What is it like to live in a world with fashion as a principle? We become chronically stimulated by a steady stream of new phenomena and products, but we also become bored more quickly to a corresponding extent.
In Jay McInerneys novel Model Behaviour it is said that we are in the sphere of fashion, where breathless enthusiasm sings in harmony with poisonous boredom. We try harder and harder to express our own individuality, but paradoxically do so in a way that very often merely becomes the expression of an abstract impersonality. Naturally, there are plenty who fall outside the domain of fashion but in our part of the world, and at this point in history, it is practically impossible to stay outside the sphere of fashion.
Even the poorest in the Western world are incorporated. To be excluded from the game, and aware of being excluded, is to be within its sphere. All those who read this book are citizens of the world of fashion. Fashion is not universal. It is not a phenomenon that exists everywhere and at all times. Its roots are neither in human nature nor in group mechanisms in general.
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Since it first arose in one society, it has induced an ever-increasing number of other societies and social areas into following its logic. It is normally claimed that fashion in clothes has its origins in the late medieval period, possibly early in the Renaissance, perhaps in connection with the growth of mercantile capitalism. The usual argument is that one cannot talk about fashion in Greek and Roman antiquity in the sense we do today because there was no individual aesthetic autonomy in the choice of clothing even though there were certain possibilities for variation.
European clothing had changed relatively little from the Roman Age to the fourteenth century. Although there had of course been variations in clothing as regards materials and details, to all intents and purposes the. Broadly speaking, rich and poor wore clothing of similar form, although rich people had their clothes made of more expensive materials and decorated themselves with ornaments. The impulse to decorate oneself is by no means a recent phenomenon in human history, but what people decorated themselves with in the pre-modern world had nothing to do with fashion.
The Vikings, for example, were very preoccupied with their appearance, and it was usual to have, among other things, a comb hanging from a belt that also included symbols of rank but there were no Viking fashions. Pre-modern societies are conservative.
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People in such societies can wear simple or sophisticated decorations and can be enormously preoccupied with aesthetical phenomena, but it is a recurring characteristic that such as hairstyles, clothes and jewellery remain more or less unaltered for generations.
The Romans of antiquity were vain, with both men and women using make-up and perfume, and with their hair dyed and curled if they did not use a wig. But such styles were also long-lasting. A style from one country might occasionally become popular in another, leading to a sudden change of style as when the Greeks began to remove their beards in order to resemble Alexander the Great. Such a change of style, however, does not need to be referred to as a fashion, for the Greeks subsequently retained their shaven cheeks and chins.
What happened was that one long-lasting aesthetic norm was replaced by another, without further changes apparently having been wished for or even considered.
In order to be able to talk of fashion it is not sufficient for a change to take place on rare occasions. It only becomes a fashion when this change is sought for its own sake and takes place relatively frequently. As mentioned, the origin of fashion is usually linked to the emergence of mercantile capitalism in the late medieval period. Europe was then experiencing considerable economic development, and the economic changes created the basis for relatively swift cultural changes.
It was here that changes in. Clothes changed their basic shapes rapidly, with changes in superficial details taking place even faster. They also began to resemble modern attire by being adapted to the individual person, with the cut being changed over time without any reason apparent other than the change itself. Around the midfifteenth century creative cuts, new colours and textures began to emerge, with variations in width across the shoulders and the chest, the length of clothing, the design of hats and shoes, and other changes.
This tendency further intensified, gaining perhaps its most extreme form of expression in the constantly increasing divergences from the actual contours of the body evident in the sixteenth century. Change in clothes became a source of pleasure in itself. Naturally for centuries this conscious change of styles was accessible to only the few, the rich, but it gradually spread with the emergence of the bourgeoisie, together with concurrent desire to be in fashion.
Even though it can be claimed that fashion began around , it would be more correct to say that fashion in its modern sense with quick changes and a constant challenge to the individual to keep abreast of the age did not become a real force until the eighteenth century. The bourgeoisie that emerged at this time, competing with the feudal aristocracy for power, used clothes to signal their social status.
In the s and 80s the first fashion magazines made their appearance, such as the English Ladys Magazine and the German Journal des Luxus und der Moden Fashion magazines explicitly for a male public, however, were not published until the s.
The growth of fashion is one of the most decisive events in world history, because it indicates the direction of modernity. There is in fashion a vital trait of modernity: the abolition of traditions. Nietzsche emphasizes fashion as a characteristic of the modern because it is an indication of emancipation from, among other things, authorities.
Fashion is irrational. It consists of change for the sake of change, whereas the self-image of modernity consisted in there being a change that led towards increasingly rational self-determination. Modernization consists of a dual movement: emancipation always involves the introduction of a form of coercion, since the opening of one form of self-realization always closes another. According to Roland Barthes: Every new Fashion is a refusal to inherit, a subversion against the oppression of the preceding Fashion.
The problem is that the one suppression is replaced by another, as one is immediately subject to the tyranny of the new fashion. Modernity liberated us from tradition, but it made us slaves of a new imperative, one precisely formulated by Arthur Rimbaud towards the end of Une saison en enfer: We have to be utterly modern. Medieval people, for example, did not think in such terms.