Friday, February 19, 2010


I read a blog post this girl wrote about why fashion is worth blogging about. Its completely what Ive been thinking about lately-and what someone argued with me about. I wish I could be so eloquent as this girl was but I am not. So I'll copy and paste the points I most identified with. Since, I have readers that do not use profanity and neither do I, I will put other words in. I'll also add some things to it, because I have my own opinions to add because there are things related to everyone in there including Christians and I wanted to bring that out a bit. It is rather all over the place because its a rant but...bear with me. **And note that I do not take credit for this rant. I did put some of my own statemtns in, but I dont take credit for it. Not only did the girl make most of these statements, but so have alot of other people* I realize its random, but I wanted to get this out there.

For those of you who think that fashion is stupid, silly, inane, shallow, for girls, a waste of time, consumerist, idiotic, antifeminist, misogynistic, pathetic,etc, etc, ad nauseam, you are wrong. To say that you don't care about it and you dont follow it is a load of crap. To even go so far to say its evil and you shouldnt be involved in it is a misconception. To say you aren't involved is a misconception. And I’m tired of people pretending that they’re above that, and telling me that I’m above that, and thinking that it makes you a “better person” and “smarter” and “more moral” to not care about fashion and that I should feel bad and embarrassed of writing about fashion and that doing that makes me a bad feminist or something like that. (I'm not really a feminist, but she is and thats what she wrote. but i agree.)

There are politics in it and issues that are there. Fashion is fun but it's serious business too. In many ways it's a social barometer reflecting the times and current events that surround the creating, selling and wearing of a piece of clothing.
Are there are lot of morons out there talking about fashion, and are there are lot of desperate consumption-driven miserable humans out there doing horrifying things in the name of fashion, and are there a lot of women making absurd sacrifices and dedicating themselves blindly to stereotypes and standards promoted by fashion and fashion media without thinking about why or how? Undoubtedly. It is corrupt, riddled with problems, linked to systems of oppression and some of our most problematic social issues. Which is why it’s stupid to dismiss it. But what industry isn’t like that? And furthermore, why is the existence of these problems (and their heightened visibility in fashion due to its focus on the link between appearances and money) continually used as reasoning for a.) ignoring fashion and b.) dismissing it as worthless? We don’t do that with music, film, art, real estate, or finance and I think we’d all agree they are just as messed up — just in more subtle ways.
If it’s so messed up and shallow and bad, why push it aside? Why not cut it to pieces and sew it back together in new ways, talk about it and analyze it and get involved and have an opinion and do something about it? (And possibly even have fun and make some friends while we’re at it?)
Aside from all of the corruption, there are alot of intelligent people with insane talent that make beautiful, wearable pieces of art. People who have influence on others. So where are the people who are willing to stand up,use that influence and talent,and succeed while doing the right thing?-There are some Christians out there who think that its a waste of time. You can't reach people through that and God doesnt care about any such thing. You think He doesnt care? Does He not talk about rainment and what He expects of us in our dress in His word? Where is the person who stands up in that realm and makes clothes for people that want to be modest but still in style?- They reach out and make a difference on people in that industry and out of that industry. Everyone must reached and if it's a tool-a way to reach people-why not use it?! And why not do something you enjoy doing and have a passion for?

And if youre of the Christians that say its wrong and youre not apart of it, lets take a look at the Bible. Fashion is about expression and a part of cultures. What about many colours of Joseph's coat? What about the expression and effort Jesus put into His carpentry? He was a craftsman and when He made the sky and the flowers, He used the most gorgeous colours. You select things to wear because you like the colour and its "you". You are apart of it. God uses the colour blue to symbolize His presence and wears purple because its royalty. Its Him. He expresses Himself too. And I thought God dreams up bigger dreams for anyone than they ever could.

I so often hear “I don’t have any interest in fashion, the industry is so messed up and it’s so shallow and consumeristic. I don’t really care what I wear, I only shop at thrift stores. I can’t stand fashionistas, I can’t stand girls who only ever talk about style. I hate fashion.  I don't get involved in fashion because I must be plain and not flashy.” But that is, clearly, an interest in fashion. That is an incredibly intense personal statement about the ways in which your clothing choices relate to the complex web of religion, economy, and politics. That personal statement could be about reclaiming the deliberately oppressive fashion of earlier decades into a personal statement about your appearance and your beliefs and money, or about rejecting one particular set of aesthetic/social norms. That is not proof of immunity to fashion and above all it is not, in any way shape or form, an acceptable excuse to dismiss fashion OR to condescend to those who express any interest in it.

Why do we take the costumes and makeup and tattoos of other cultures seriously and consider them interesting (or at least fetishize them as novelties or put them in museums) while dismissing the fact that such things exist within our own society? Why don’t we bother to think about what is going on in the minds of girls wearing Uggs, because let me tell you your tennis shoes are just as comfortable, so why are they wearing those things on their feet? What statements does it convey within their social groups, what references does it evoke and what does it imply about their economic and social class? There are serious and fascinating social psychology and sociology things going on here — and they deserve to be talked about too. This isn’t “kid stuff” or “stuff for dumb girls” or even “art” (which is equally dismissive in its own way.) This is society, and self-presentation, and economy, and patriarchy, and sociology, and billions and billions of dollars.

If shopping is an informed choice we must make when considering that a.) being naked is cold and socially unacceptable and b.) we exist within an inescapable capitalist society — and furthermore, that what we put on our bodies and how we present ourselves is also an informed choice which allows us to somehow express ourselves publicly on a daily basis — well, that’s a little different than Barbie’s favorite hobby and, you know, airheaded housewives dragging their fat bored rich husbands around the mall, frittering his paycheck away on girly things as he drags his feet and rolls his eyes.

And that’s a fascinating double standard — that an industry so often vilified for its terrible imaging and treatment of women, and an industry which historically has done a lot to keep women economically and/or metaphorically (and physically, as in corsets and petticoats and bound feet) enslaved, is also an industry where women are taken much more seriously as an economic, artistic, and intellectual force. Fashion takes women seriously (as it should! It’s a  ton of our money moving the whole industry!) — so why doesn’t society take fashion seriously? And if, as women, we have enormous a.) financial power within this industry as educated consumers and b.) a much larger chance of being taken seriously on the career and influencer level than in most other industries — well, what the hey, I’m going to care about it — and talk about it, about both what I love and what bothers me — and that doesn’t make me stupid or less moral either.

So please —let’s argue back and forth about whether or not Alexander McQueen was an artist or a misogynist or both, and let’s talk about Jen Kao’s use of models of colour and with slight variations in body shape and whether or not this is progressive or pathetic. Let’s talk about how and why Kirkwood’s shoes completely rule and why Rad Hourani’s insistence on unisex collections is interesting and whether or not it’s transgressive, and let’s talk about whether or not the “tribal” obsession fetishizes “third-world” nations and how our concepts of aesthetics are linked to lingering post-colonialism. Let’s talk about how your self-presentation and choice of clothes is linked to your public projections of your sexuality and social ideas as well as your personality and your friends, and let’s talk about awesome young and upcoming designers who are creating beautiful things.....Because, as long as were sitting here talking and arguing about it, it is relevant. And let’s make sure we know what we’re talking about too, because “following fashion” does not make you stupid.

And you say, "Well,  Madison, why do you care so much? You shouldnt be so wrapped up in that! Dont you care about whats really going on out there! You dont care about people out there who need God and who need help and who are starving! There is so much more to life than any of that stuff!"

True. There is more to life than fashion. I care so much about people out there and their conditions, I have a passion for them. I care so much about people and ministry. But that, in no way, is supressed by my following of fashion. I am a creative being, as we all are,and this blog is what I enjoy creatively and something that I invest in because I see the need for a blog that talks about fashion-yet, still shows how you can be stylish and modest. God made me a creative being and I will use what He gives me and have fun with it. Why should I hold back my ideas? God is in fact creative, and we are created in His image. My Senior English teacher once said that since the beginning of time, humans have been known to create even in the most perilous of times. Drawings and paintings, pottery and literature have been found from people who endured wars and famine. There is a whole book of the Bible that is nothing but songs! There is a  love letter from God to His beloved. One can not go through life without expression and aesthetic creation. This comment someone made on the blog entry sums it up:

To say there's way more to life to worry about is to demand the exclusion of all aesthetic pursuits- there's more to life than the silly television shows and movies I make and watch, or the books we read. there's earthquakes and plagues and how DARE we enjoy ourselves? But to make the argument that to care about fashion because there's "real" stuff going on in the world is to suggest that all creative consumable media should be documentary based and all writers should be journalists and all film makers creating exposees. Fiction and art and narrative film have as much validity as fashion. The same is true of food- should we eat only rice because developing a palate is bourgeois and neglects the thousands suffering from starvation? We "have" to wear clothes and we "have" to eat. How we choose to express ourselves, take a necessity and make it into an aesthetic, is what makes us highly evolved and interesting. To do so to the exclusion of all other thoughts is arrogant and materialistic, but to swing the pendulum to the other side and live sparely does not necessary garner greater influence or purity of mission. There is the same arrogance to assuming one can "care more about other more important stuff" as to the assumption that those who don't care enough about the "right" things are lesser individuals.I agree that perspective is VITAL in maintaining a socially responsible lifestyle. Balance is key..."

And this comment
"I've never understood why people insist that fashion and intelligence must be mutually exclusive. I don't blindly follow all the latest trends or emit high-pitched squeals when I see a pair of shoes I like (I, madison, do emit the high-pitched squeels sometimes. however I get excited about pretty things), but I do put thought and effort into how I dress. Like it or not, first impressions and outward appearances do matter. They are an extension of the personality inside, just like the words you speak, the company you keep, and the work you do. Every visible action is an outward manifestation of who you are. If you dress in old jeans and a t-shirt everyday to let people know you don't care about how you look, that's just as much of a statement as wearing expertly tailored suits or floral print dresses with ruffles and bows. And brands that target anti-conformity are no different than brands that target yuppies, or jocks, or JAPs, etc. No matter what you do, you're putting a label on yourself and people are going to pick up on that, and judge you accordingly. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it would make sense, then, to at least take control of your own image because it's part of who YOU are as a complete package..."

Anyway, I wanted to share that. Its long as a freaking book and I didnt expect anyone to read it but thought I'd throw that out there.

If you'd can read the original entry here

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