Friday, April 8, 2011's within all of us

ok, so i think i finally figured out what to focus my fashion/consumerism/gender identity project on. thank heavens. here it is:

the question: how does mainstream fashion and consumerism dictate, influence, or offer an alternative to a middle-class, white, heterosexual identity? the discussion i want to center in on is specifically, how white, middle-class, heterosexual identity is promoted through clothing retail and shopping-centered literature, and how the public responds to this. the popularity of narratives like Confessions of a Shopaholic suggests that the white, middle-class, heterosexual image being portrayed in the narrative, is positively received by a large population, despite the probable evidence that this narrative hardly reflects the reality of its readers. why? if fashion consumption and fashion-narratives that promote a certain dominant image, are widely received even if they are unrealistic, then either the public sees itself as part of that identity whether or not they are, or else the public sees something else within the discourse of mainstream fashion and consumerism that it identifies with.

i like when people say they're not influenced by fashion. guess what: unless you make your own homespun broadcloth out of plant fibers you've picked yourself from a nearby field, with a machine you've handcrafted out of parts of trees that you found in the woods, then you are influenced by fashion.


Emmers said...

I'm not influenced by POPULAR fashion. Minus flats. Flats are my downfall.

But seriously, people that know me know that I'd like to be in jeans and cableknit sweaters all winter, jeans and poloshirts all spring and fall, and jeans and ribbed tank tops (which boo I can't wear around base)all summer!

I own and use a Coach purse b/c my MIL bought it for me and thank god it's not covered in C's. I don't like labels. If a brand actually has better quality stuff, that's fine. Otherwise I'd rather go for the unknown name!

Mmmmm, flats.....

Agatha Wells said...

hey! thanks for the input. I know what you're saying. i'm in a Cultural Studies program, however, so i'm looking at larger influences of fashion, not just "high" fashion. I want to understand how consumer choices that individuals make can simultaneously be both individual, and reflective of a larger dominant ideology. if that makes sense.

what i meant by people who say they aren't influenced by fashion, is that i see it in the same way as people aren't influenced by capitalism--you just live within it, you eat, you shop, you watch tv, so you can't help being "influenced" by it. but it's not the same thing as saying you are a pawn to fashion, or capitalism, or whatever. it's more about trying to understand the complex relationship between an individual and culture.

however...i admit that part of why i'm excited for this project is that i get to use Confessions of a Shopaholic as a source text! fun. :)

it's not just for the classroom!