Thursday, 9 October 2008

Blogosphere enters my head during lecture

Isn't it funny how worlds collide? During my 'approaches to contemporary fashion' lecture yesterday, I learnt something amazing which sort of answers a discussion posed by Skylark and Son in a recent post. Now, it could be argued that I knew this already but if I did I'd would not have been able to put it into context.

The lovely Skylark raised the issue of dualism by debating how to dress as an individual but also to 'fit in' with where she will be living. Dualism denotes a state of two parts, so movement and stillness, production and consumption, feminine and masculine. In fashion and society we constantly look for reconciliation between like and difference. Individuals are caught between dualism and trying to resolve this. Fashion is about being different and 'like'. the like, is a trend, being now, whilst different is individual expression with fashion. Fashion, the same clothes in context of trends (and I'm not talking hot looks, high fashion but similar style) allows us all to be in society, and yet fashion is always renewing and changing - this moves us forward.

The dualism of the individual taste versus societies taste (and value) is the hardest bit when you want to be and are being creative. Wearing items that are slightly autre exposes you and sets you apart except if you are surrounded by others equally autre.

Gosh lots to explore, this was just the tip and as the Marxists say - the dominant culture is that decided by the dominant people in society.


  1. There's my 'one thing' learnt for today (and the the third time I've tired to post this comment)!

  2. Sorry to invade your brain like that - I'll try to keep out in future so you can concentrate! ;-)

    It's really interesting to think about every day things in a more theoretical context - I've always found some amazing and useful insights to be found in academia, even the most esoteric (rhizome theory anyone?)

  3. But doesnt it come from within? Where we absorb the latest shapes and combinations by osmosis, and gradually start to incorporate it into our own sense of personal style.
    Yes I know there are people who consiously try out a new cut or waist height, purely because it is in mode; but I think there are more of us that say BLAH! when something extreme develops, and then 1-2 years later slowly adapt to it as we now see it as attractive?
    I'm not being obtuse, just relating it to the personal. (as usual)
    I mean, how else do you explain the 80's?
    I am still so jealous of your studentia!

  4. Hi there-a very interesting debate!! I've become more confident in my dress sense as I've got older-I will dress for me as opposed to what I think 'fits in'. The only thing about being adventurous as you get older, you don't want to be seen as 'eccentric or mutton dressed as lamb!' but fashion is all about fun, if you make a faux pas, you just don't do the outfit again!!

  5. I'm the opposite of Sharon Rose, my dress sense has become much more conformist as I've got older and thinking about it I'm not sure why as I've definitely got more confidence these days - weird!

  6. Really interesting! See, you could have gotten the same education from the blogosphere that you are getting at university.;-) And, I bet Skylark and Son doesn't assign any homework.

    I think when I was younger I struggled more with trying to be 'different' 'like' the group I wanted to be in. As I got older I don't consciously try to cultivate 'different' and I am not as concerned as much about being 'like' and hence I tend to be 'different'. Have you gotten into the binary dualism of how one of the two has more power? Ah, Roland Barthes!! How I miss grad school. But between you and Skylark I feel I might get my brain going through osmosis.

  7. I actually am finding it harder and harder to discern my own taste from the taste I'm "supposed" to have, tho I'm a bit ashamed to admit it. I still know what I HATE, and what looks wrong on me, but I feel like the more I learn about fashion and the more I am exposed to it, the broader my horizons become, and the more adventurously I dress. But I certainly agree that fashion, and even trends, can serve as unifying forces.

  8. Style for me is all about dualism (see my profile text - written ages ago). And I love that this universe is informing your work as a design student. How subversively mainstream!!

  9. I feel like I'm in school again!

    I always feel this weird outcastness and sameness all at once. I guess I'm just a dual dweeb. Like everyone else who loves fashion, and wants to be original, yet wants to fit in.

  10. Great post. V interesting! I agree with Hammie too.

  11. FOr me, what I wear is an expression of who i think I am...which is a 20 year old tomboy with goth/biker leanings. Unforunately, I'm 55.

  12. Substantially, the article is in reality the sweetest on this precious topic.
    I agree with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your approaching updates.
    Just saying thanks will not just be adequate, for the exceptional lucidity in your writing.


Thank you for commenting, much appreciated. Sorry about no longer offering anonymous comments but spamming had become a very annoying issue. xxx