Presentation on theme: "Dressing and culture People use dressing to make their bodies culturally visible. Clothing draws the body so that the body can be culturally seen, and."— Presentation transcript:
Dressing and culture People use dressing to make their bodies culturally visible. Clothing draws the body so that the body can be culturally seen, and articulates it as a meaningful form. We can examine dressing in relation to different factors such as class, power, sexuality and so on.
Class and power Dressing is used as a signal of class. For instance the Edwardians, in 1901, were socially stratified into those who wore tailor made clothing and those who were wearing second hand clothes. The social deviation between the socially powerful and the socially inferior and powerless was very obvious through a series of signs and symbols embedded in the way the Edwardians were dressed. In many cultures expensive clothes as well as designer labels are a sign of class and social superiority.
Dressing and resistance Often dressing becomes a sign of resistance. In Algeria for example, the forcible unveiling of women by the French during the Algerian war ( ) became a metaphor for the rape of Algerian society. The veil became a sign of unified Algerian identity and resistance.
Image and Power Dressing the body creates powerful images about the individual. These images are conveyed thus establishing further moral, aesthetic or spiritual connotations. In this case clothes become a uniform of power.
Gendered Dress Code Dressing code indicates the power differential implicit in traditional gender stereotypes. Self presentation is about power. Often womens dressing prototypes draw on male prototypes. It is a common belief that mens clothes are symbolically powerful. If women wanted to conquer the business world they had to be dressed with male clothes. If a business woman wants to be taken seriously she has to wear the male business suit. In a totally different version and context, the powerful woman is wearing sexy clothes and high heels and is ready to use her sexuality as a weapon in combat.
Dressing and Sexuality Dressing also relates to a system of symbols regarding the expression of sexuality, sexual behavior, gender identity and fetish. According to Valerie Steele soft fabrics like satin and fur are associated with women. These, were fetishised textures of the nineteenth century, while late twentieth century fetishised textures like leather and rubber tend to be predominantly associated with men. Objects like corsets, shoes and underwear are considered as usual fetish symbols. In 19th Century England, silk and especially satin (with its glossy surface and soft, slippery texture), velvet and fur seem to be the most commonly fetishized textures.
The symbolisms of colors Black is considered the most popular colour. Black in the African symbolism is associated with night and nothingness. Black and red are naturally justifiable clichés in our language because they are natural symbols. Night is black and blood is red. Black in its cultural history and since the Middle Ages is the colour of Satan. It is the colour of sexiness that could be proved perversely erotic. For example the sexy black underwear. Black is the colour of mourning for many cultures. Black is associated with the darkness of death and the pain of the soul. It is depicted in the black dressing. Black is the colour symbol for rebellion and sin, the symbol of anarchy and fascism. By the 1990s, black had prevailed as the undisputable colour in fashion. On the other side is red. Red is associated with the whore, and the flames of hell. Red is the colour of passion, anger, danger and revolution.
Self and Identity Our self-identity is stated through dressing. The way we feel the way we want to present our self and our identity. Dressing gives the individual the opportunity to present, explore and expose different aspects of identity. Because the individual holds multiple identities, we dress our different selves according to the situation. We dress our different selves in order to reinforce our individuality and to make our points very clear.
Dress and self invention Clothes are thus cultural products inscribed in the body working towards a self invention. What do we mean by self invention? We want to differentiate ourselves from other people but we want to differentiate our images compared to previous images as well. In order to do this we change the way we are dressed frequently. We usually choose the clothes we wear according to the kind of life we live or want to live. This year we may be dressed in a sophisticated way, next year we may adopt the bohemian look, the next year we are dressed casually and so on. Our need to reinvent ourselves is very much covered through dressing.
Fashion What is the factor that influences our dressing? It is definitely fashion. Whether we like it or not fashion is in our daily lives and we are influenced by it in a smaller or bigger scale. What is fashion? Can we see fashion as basically homogenous, created entirely by and for an elite and then transmitted downwards to the mass and outwards to a periphery, or are the sources of fashion now more diverse and polycentric?
According to one definition, fashion is an outcome of process of class differentiation or, according to another definition, an act of collective mood, taste and choice. In recent times the fashion industry has been transformed by a number of important developments. The rise of mass production, the growth in the diversity of products and growth both in the number of markets and types of selling. For example, the American innovation of purchase by mail order is especially interesting because it enabled consumers in the most remote locations to get in touch with fashion trends. The same innovation helped to establish the importance of what we may describe as non-elite fashion.
The Eurocentric culture During the 1950s the argument concerning fashion diffusion was that it was created centrally and then transmitted towards the periphery. For example, the Parisian centre of fashion and especially the Parisian haute couturiers would move at varying pace not merely geographically outwards, but also socially downwards and probably losing a great deal in subtlety, quality and workmanship. This process could be described as a classic example of globalization in that it contains the tacit assumption of a global consuming public whose tastes and standards are located essentially within the Eurocentric culture.
The polycentric fashion From the 1960s and 1970s onwards the prevalent assumption about fashion is that is pointless to turn to Paris or Milan to discover the directions of fashion or to assume that there is a single fashion in play. Fashion now originates from a diverse range of groups, sources and designers. This entails that there is a whole series of cultural or sub-cultural groups which may create their own fashion, or making something fashionable by adopting it and cause it to move outward and upward to other groups and social strata – even to the point that this item eventually becomes high fashion itself.
The sources of Fashion Sources of fashion such as the street fashion, pop culture and ethnic cultures are the major examples one can use so as to refute the argument that the mass production depends on the supposedly orderly dissemination of haute couture copies and derivatives. On the one hand, the street fashion very often takes no notice of designer innovations or merely adopts certain of their elements. On the other hand, in their constant struggle for inspiration the high fashion designers seem more often to adopt ideas borrowed by the street fashion.
What is Fashion evidently? We could conclude that fashion is not a single system which moves in one direction disseminated from the elite to the mass. It would be more reasonable to conclude that there are multiple fashion systems in which fashion moves up, down and along from a variety of starting positions and in several directions.