The cold war
The fashion industry is less like Sex in the City and more like a cold war. In the words of the late Coco Chanel, “Fashion is in the sky, in the streets; fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, the way we feel.” Fashion mirrors society, showing exactly what is going, what people are feeling and the state that civilization is in. So, what exactly is going on in our world? Among a multitude of things, we can all agree that the world is in a state of ideological conflict. There is a presence of discord and disagreement among groups of people; different races, social classes and political groups are in a discourteous state. Corporate fascism and modern forms of colonialism continue their campaigns of cultural genocide, their aggressive presence causing social tension in many countries. A number of countries are experiencing social revolutions: like Brazil, Egypt, the Ukraine and Thailand, inciting wide spread violence.
Fashion is about ideologies and competing cultures
I see fashion as being less about beauty and more about politics. The clothes you wear represent a flag; it shows what larger ideology you partake in. Into punk style? Then you are on some level branding yourself as part of the anarchist movement, with an attraction alternative lifestyles and with less appeal for cultural norms and values. If you are into brand named clothing and luxury fashion, your lifestyle most likely represents high pop culture–you are successful in the accepted social route: academics, high education and white collar jobs. There are many other sub-cultures and counter cultures that fashion styles represent. Inevitably, these sub-cultures are in direct conflict with each other. Punk and street culture are the antithesis to high pop culture. Hip-hop is another example of a culture with anarchy in its DNA. The movement is meant to rebrand society; it gives appeal and value to lower classes and ethnic minorities. Inevitably, the hip-hop style is in direct conflict with preppy fashion, which represents economic privilege.
What tribe are you in?
What larger ideological group are you a part of it, and how do your clothes represent your beliefs? Don’t let the maps you see in books disillusion you; those countries only exist in politics. The real boundaries are in our clothes. The hip-hop tribe spans all continents. They listen to similar music, look up to the same people and have like-minded values. You will find they the similar thoughts on society and life; they really are like their own country. The same idea goes to other sub-cultures and styles: such as high fashion, punk and corporate.
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