WEEK THREE: Post-blog DimePiece Designs

This weeks readings on fashion distinction and hierarchy and the author’s discussions on femininity, expression, culture and political identities made me take a look into start-up clothing lines such as DimePiece, HellzBellz and Married to the MOB. These clothes are not only designed to cover up your body or to make you look good, but are designed to create a certain type of woman that truly embodies the concept of female empowerment.

DimePiece designers Laura Famo and Ashley Jones started their clothing line two and a half years ago in the Spring of 2007.  Famo and Jones have taken the concept of female empowerment and the breaking of typical feminine stereotypes to create their intentionally, what they call, ironic brand name ‘DimePiece.’  Ashley Jones from DimePiece quotes “How dense is our society that we rate women by a number scale? We mean for the term ‘DimePiece’ to be ironic and rule-breaking. We intend to turn the perception of a ‘DimePiece’ around so women would be able to use it proudly.  A Dimepiece is a woman who is unique onto herself and doesn’t place herself into any categories. She’s self-governing, opinionated and doesn’t rely on her appearance for sole-recognition. She is a positive representation of today’s young female and is essentially the perfect ten… all around.”

This weeks readings and DimePiece clothing line go well with one of our course themes that fashion discourses and clothing practices drives identity as a term of history.  DimePiece’s t-shirt design “Love Don’t Pay The Bills,” is an example of how DimePiece challenges stereotypical notions of love and woman.  Professor Nguyen describes Enstad’s take on historical notions of woman during the 1900s as woman not being seen as actual workers because their earnings were only a small contribution and because of this woman had to forcefully create their “worker” identities by claiming a right to their earnings to buy a shirt or shoes.

What kind of identities and historical notions/stereotypes of woman do you think DimePiece is trying to address through the images and description provided? Can DimePiece clothing be seen as a contemporary example of the creation of woman as political and well off identities in today’s society? Or does fashion itself and the act of wearing these clothes say nothing at all or make you less than the person DimePiece is trying to create? Can DimePiece and it’s sort of “girl power” t-shirts be a seen as a signifying practice where woman create themselves as these strong, independent, self-governing woman, just as the working woman in Enstad’s article created themselves as ladies?


19 thoughts on “WEEK THREE: Post-blog DimePiece Designs

  1. I think that DimePiece is trying to target women who want to be independent and try and empower them. Since women have always kind of been in the back burner or “less” than men I feel that what they are doing is a good idea. I like the different sayings that they have on their shirts and feel that by wearing their clothes women are speaking. I have gone to stores and seen that there are words or phrases used on shirts to express feelings and emotions. When a person wears a shirt like that, it’s because they feel strongly or agree with what is written on the shirt because why else would you buy a shirt that says “ Love don’t pay the bills.” The message behind it is for women to show others how they feel. I don’t think that the clothes that DimePiece is trying to make makes you less of a person or puts you down. I believe that it stands for a voice and helps women create an environment and show other people how they feel without verbally saying it right away. If women want to wear these articles of clothing with a message behind it then I think they should be able to.

  2. I feel Dime Piece is trying to address the fact that women are independent, have power and choices. There has been many stereotypes of women not having as much power as men and being very dependent on men etc, and DimePiece clothing opposes that. The messages on the shirts show that women have a say so in what happens to their bodies or what they need in their lives. For example, the shirt that says “One pussy you can’t f*** with”, shows the power that a woman has. Society doesn’t recognize women as being powerful because men are the ones who usually have the high paying jobs and since the 1900s women have been the “stay at home moms”, so the shirt is chipping away at that stereotype that women don’t have power and a say so over their body parts.
    I feel that DimePiece clothing can be seen as a contemporary example of the creation of women as political and well off identities in today’s society. I feel women who are actually trying to make a statement and women who believe in the message that the clothing possesses, will be the ones to choose to wear DimePiece clothing. Furthermore, the shirt will make the woman wearing it feel like she has a voice in society, make her feel a sense of independence and self – worth etc. Many times a woman is not afforded the opportunity to speak without being stereotyped first based on society beliefs or her appearance, but with DimePiece clothing she doesn’t have to open her mouth, the world’s first impression of her will be exactly what she is all about through the messages on her clothes. Through DimePiece and it’s sort of “girl power” t-shirts, it can be seen as a signifying practice where women create themselves as these strong, independent, self-governing woman, just as the working woman in Enstad’s article created themselves as ladies. As I mentioned before, women will not wear clothing that convey a message that they don’t approve of or don’t believe in. So the clothing, for example, the shirts with the messages on them, will empower women who wear them, whom are not quite independent or opinionated etc, to become that way or strive to become that way. I feel DimePiece is doing a very positive thing in the fashion industry by allowing women to express themselves through style and actual words on their clothing. DimePiece is the one positive women’s clothing line that I know, which makes it unique and intriguing to women everywhere; therefore, DimePiece clothing will continue to sale and play an essential role in the lives of women for years to come.

  3. You brought up some great questions about the DimePiece clothing brand. As soon as I finished reading, I searched for the DimePiece website and started to look through more of their clothing. It appears that the brand is attempting to address the stereotypical concept that women are the lesser sex and do not need to be taken as seriously. We can see this in the two t-shirts that display “I ain’t no wifey” and “One pussy you can’t fuck with.” To me, and I believe what DimePiece was trying to convey, is that women can be sufficiently and successfully independent and extremely powerful. Women are no longer “the weaker sex” and the brand is trying to suggest this in their clothing.

    Interestingly, on the brand’s website there is a t-shirt that reads, “You’re gonna get yours.” I find it interesting to ponder what the designers are trying to express. It insinuates that something has already happened, presumably to the person wearing the t-shirt. I imagine that they are speaking of an injustice of some kind. However, it is the threat that the statement holds that I find intriguing. It is telling the reader of the t-shirt that what happened to the wearer is going to happen to them to. I read this as a statement that the wearer is explaining that unfairness can happen to anyone and it is only a matter of time that it happens to the person who is viewing the t-shirt.

    I agree with a past comment that expressed how wearing this clothing, having the slogans literally plastered across one’s chest is a strong statement. It communicates that the person wearing this clothing is passionate about the message being sent. I look at t-shirts like these as a sort of tool. The person who purchased and is wearing the clothing wants others to know that this is how they feel, how they think. Clothing is the perfect medium to express this. It not only shows personal beliefs, but it forces people to view and thus think (however small of a thought this may be) about the topic that is being portrayed. DimePiece is trying to make a statement and by putting their strong beliefs on clothing, they are sharing their ideas with others.

  4. Before actually reading the blog post I scanned over the pictures that accompanied the post and was immediately turned on by the clothing design. The clothing I observed was edgy, bold and most importantly different than what one would observe at most retail stores. DimePiece fashion, in particular, suggests an empowerment theme with the cut, style and slogans on each article of clothing. Like we discussed in class last Wednesday, generally in women’s fashion the main focus of the clothing is to accentuate, flaunt or hide the body it is draped over. In cases such as DimePiece, HellzBellz and Married to the MOB, the exact opposite holds truth. The main focus is the message that is being conveyed. These brands are able to covey these messages to a wide audience by creating a clothing that is wearable for all sorts of bodies. The message is generally displayed on a looser slinky material in a black color. By no means do I think this is a coincidence, these labels are examples of women as political identities. There is a rather a strategic attempt in these brands to take back the stereotypically thin and timid ideal of fashion and allow all women, and all bodies to feel equally empowered in these clothing’s.

    • The post about DimePiece stated that:

      “We intend to turn the perception of a ‘DimePiece’ around so women would be able to use it proudly. A Dimepiece is a woman who is unique onto herself and doesn’t place herself into any categories. She’s self-governing, opinionated and doesn’t rely on her appearance for sole-recognition. She is a positive representation of today’s young female and is essentially the perfect ten… all around.”

      I have mixed feelings about the brand. On one hand I like it; the edgy styles and in-your-face messages are cool and empowering. Yet, I would not say it is suggesting that ALL young women can be the perfect 10. The model on the site is stick thin, white, blonde, and beautiful. There are no women of color or of differing sizes. I don’t agree that they are taking the stereotype of the thin model back. I would argue that the baggier t-shirts sold on the site can look frumpy and unfitted on women who are fuller or curvy, and may not be the idea style choice for them. Many of the white tops look shear and may not be idea for women who don’t feel comfortable with their bra or skin peaking through. Also, some women may feel that a white shirt with an edgy message for 40 dollars is an impractical purchase because they are limited where they can wear it( ie, the work place, school). With that said, some of the shirts have bold messages like “can’t fuck with this pussy” and may only be a shirt a woman would wear to a party or outing with friends. If a woman spends most of her time working this may not be an option for her. The messages are empowering, but some women might want to show their feelings through their actions and feelings, rather than on a t-shirt.

      I have contradictory feelings about this brand. But I believe that it is very much playing into the skinny. beautiful,high fashion model, and not so much real women. I feel like the site is sort of saying ” if you don’t wear this message then you are not unique and don’t have power.” Some would argue that these shirts are “unlady like” and ladies don’t “swear.” The counter argument would of course be that these shirts challenge that notion and allow women to decide for themselves who they want to be. However, some women who do feel unique and self governing may have a personal preference not to send those feelings outward through messages that contain obscenities.

      My questions is my do women need prove that they are powerful and self governing by making bold ” don’t fuck with this bitch” type of statements?

  5. I also have mixed feelings about the brand DimePiece and their clothing line. While their slogans are edgy and in your face, I don’t believe they provide any sort of real rebellion for women against a patriarchal society. Brands such as this sell revolution in the form of $40 t-shirts instead of asking women to find their own voice and power. Perhaps if a woman wore a shirt with this saying to a political rally it would become revolutionary, but I believe that the clothes are dependent on the actions of the wearer to express real attitude and not the other way around. As a previous comment stated, these clothes will most likely only be deemed appropriate in a party type atmosphere, where slogans like “One pussy you can’t fuck with” take on a sexy and edgy feel but are not necessarily truly controversial. The bottom line for me is that while clothing like this is promoting a positive message about a strong woman, the women who are truly strong are fighting for equality and not merely wearing their rebellion. No matter how controversial a t-shirt slogan is, unless a woman is engaging in meaningful action while wearing it then it has no real power.

    • Just like some of the people in this class, I have mixed feelings about the t-shirt brand DimePiece as well. Even thought the messages on the t-shirt are empowering and catchy, it reminds me of a graphic t-shirt. Clothing stores such as Abercrombie have shirts that have funny, catchy messages on them and most of the time people just read them and ignore them. Although the message and the concept fight for women’s rights and equality, I don’t know how far a t-shirt will get women in the fight for equal rights. The most important part about the clothing is that women will turn words and clothing into actions. I would guess that the women that wear these shirts are the ones that would be strong enough to stand up for their rights in ways other than sending a message with their clothing. These women, however, may have been the ones that would have stood up for their rights with or without a positive, empowering message on their t-shirt. I do think that brands like DimePiece are a great idea and should not be put down, but I hope that messages like these can be sent in other ways.

  6. I’ve seen DimePiece designs clothing before and I must say that I agree with your opinion on what you feel the designer is trying to accomplish with the clothing line. I feel it is there to help break restrictions that not only society has placed on women but the restrictions that women and consumers place on themselves. The sassy catch phrases that DimePiece designs use are a good marketing strategy, it kind of reminds me of what Professor Nguyen brought up in class about how the store/brand Hot Topic purposefully chooses the smallest space in the mall they can find because they are trying to present themselves as outcast and as far as the clothing at Hot Topic, it’s edginess also gives off a clear statement on how they are non traditional and choose to redefine what consumers idea of fashionable is. Same with DimePiece designs I think the designer does a good job at challenging consumers in what the world consider fashionable and appropriate to wear. Because of DimePiece’s bold in your face t-shirt phrases usually surrounding female empowerment, I would definitely say that it’s political and any one wearing a t-shirt saying “One P*ssy You Can’t F*ck With” will definitely get the attention and the message across of that shirt. I also feel that the designer did set out to create shirts with strong statements to represent the strength of the women who dare to wear them.

  7. I acknowledge and respect the brand’s attempt to convey the message towards the independence of women, but don’t really see the effectiveness in it. If anything, I found the style a little short of obnoxious. It’s definitely opinionated and sets out a very directly explicit message of being unique. However, does this unique boldness do anything to prove the woman’s independence? If you’re so against social labels, why work so hard to create your own label?
    I guess what I’m trying to say is that the clothing just makes you look like you’re trying too hard to make yourself seem unique, that in the end, because you’re trying so hard, that it negates the purpose.

  8. I definitely agree with those that have expressed mixed feelings over the brand DimePiece. As several have said before, the messages of empowerment and self-expression are always good – if they are made in sincerity and not ironically. But saying one thing and actually doing something to make a difference or change another’s opinion are two very different things. Honestly, if I came across someone who had a message written on his or her shirt, most likely I would read it and forget about it. I feel going out and actually spreading a message and backing up your opinions with facts and figures is a much more effective way to breach change in these topics. In addition, many of the other apparel items look as if they would fit into any other “modern/hip” store such as American Apparel or Urban Outfitters, and have the price tags to match, which brings up different sentiments about conformity in our society. The same could also be said for HellzBellz, which sports a collection of “modern/hip” fashions and in their look book, thin, white men and women model the vast majority of their products. At the same time, I can also see the flip side, where any attempted message is better than no message. It’s the same as when people were changing their Facebook status to reflect the color or location of their bra vaguely to bring attention to breast cancer. True, it would be better if they actually did something such as donate to cancer research, but just bringing up a sensitive topic and making people aware of the situation is better than nothing. I guess I would have to summarize that sending positive messages of change is something to be admired, but putting it on a tight, thin, white shirt is not the route I would take to accomplish this.

    • So i really like the concept that dimepiece clothing line is trying to convey through their clothes and catchy phrases on their tees. I think it supports the fact that todays woman is in control and holds that power to do what she pleases. For so many years women have played that role where they stood behind men and did whatever was told to them, but we have come a long way from that. Even with the name dime or dime piece that men so often call women, but who are men to rate us? They do it as if we’re objects or something of the sort and I especially appreciate this brand because I think it’s a sly/ snappy yet feisty way to respond to them with tees that read “love don’t pay the bills” and “one p*ssy you cant f*ck with”. In a sense its our way of rating them, and turning the tables.

  9. It is evident that DimePiece is trying to address prominent identities and historical notions and defy stereotypes of women through blunt messages imprinted on t-shirts. Even though this seems like a rather efficient plan to debunk negative stereotypes of women, messages on t-shirts should not be the primary means through which women express themselves and negate chauvinistic notions. In other words, while it is great that DimePiece clothing attempts to empower women, it should not even be necessary. Women should be able to demonstrate their strength and power through their actions. Basically, actions speak louder than words. Therefore, women should perform actions that are empowering and significant. Their everyday actions should convey the same messages imprinted on DimePiece’s t-shirts. Essentially, I am concerned that women wearing these t-shirts with these explicit girl power messages may feel like they are doing enough to change the historical notions and stereotypes that degrade women. I think that it is imperative that women realize that even though fashion is a great way to express themselves, it is not sufficient to wear shirts like the ones from DimePiece. This is not to say that these shirts do not send a strong message, but women should focus on all of the other aspects of their lives and direct every single one of their actions toward the empowerment of women.

  10. After perusing the DimePiece site and online store, as well as reading a few other articles promoting the brand it is clear to see what the designers are trying to accomplish, and the messages they intend to get across to their audience. The main issue I have is exactly who is their audience, because it certainly isn’t all women. A few of the other comment entries picked up on the fact that the models used on the site are all very beautiful and a toned size small (at the most). Before even addressing the ‘in-your-face’, female empowerment style slogans blasted across some of the t-shirts by DimePiece, it is clear to see that their clothing is intended for a market of young, hip, in-shape women – who also have the right budget. I personally think the clothing is reasonably priced, especially after seeing the likes of Katy Perry and Estelle in DimePiece and knowing that I too could afford a slice of celebrity style. However, I am not a single mother with a full time job and bills to pay; ironically isn’t this the exact type of female who longs for empowerment and respect from the opposite sex and society as a whole?

    Nevertheless, I do see how the slogans are catchy, witty and would fill the wearer with some form of womanly confidence. I disagree however that the shirts are a statement against gender inequality in themselves. Although this was the crux of the designers’ intentions the way I perceive DimePiece is more of an edgy, fashionable brand trying too hard to make political and social statements when the line as a whole tends to present itself with so many contradictions. Although the slogan tees appear very powerful and direct, demanding respect and attention – my personal opinion sees the actual model as the real attention grabber and my focus is on the image as a whole rather than just the tee. Aside from the tees on the site, pretty much the entire present line includes clothing that is either very provocative, revealing, tight, or all three. This, I believe is where the message of female empowerment and equality becomes hazy and hard to read. Gender equality has nothing to do with how much flesh is on show and although fashion is a key tool in displaying equality of the sexes, the way DimePiece has tackled it conforms more to the market than real belief.

  11. The image of “Ain’t No Wifey” addresses a woman’s traditional housewife role. In the past, a woman was (and often still is) expected to stay at home, raise the children, and take care of the home. Even in today’s society, majority of women with families leave their career for a period of time (or permanently) to embody the“wife”. This shirt challenges the wife role, and demonstrates to the world that women are breaking out of traditional roles. The saying “Love Don’t Pay the Bills” challenges the connotation of women being driven by love. In the past, women have received a stereotype for being on a quest for fairy-tale love, and believing love will solve all their problems. This challenges this stereotype and implies women are more rational and driven than they are given credit for. An element of attitude is included in both shirts as well. I find it interesting the designers chose to use improper English to demonstrate their point. Proper grammar would not offer the same effect as the ‘slang’. Slang breaks an underlying stereotype that women/ “ladies” speak only in grammatically correct sentences. The slang offers an “I don’t care” attitude that allows them to be separated from previous stereotypes.

  12. There are some Dimepiece deisigns that can be considered rebellious against the typical subordinate woman. For example, the phrase on one of the blouses says “Ain’t no wifey.” This is very eye catching and it does empower the idea that a woman in our society is not just meant for a domesticated life. Clothing like dimepiece, in my opinion, can empower women and even make them have a more independent attitude towards life in general. In response to one of the previous comments, I also agree that clothing can be a way to express their individualism. In other words, these women who choose to wear clothing like Dimepiece, create their own identities and forms of expression. Just by wearing clothing that is not considered typical women’s wear makes a statement within society. Breaking the general stereotypical views about women is a goal that these designers want to achieve and they do by receiving positive support from everyone not just women. There have been other ways in which fashion does challenge the norms in society so it does not surprise me that clothing lines are established specifically for the empowerment of women. Many seek comfort from these brands because of that reason.

  13. Dimepiece designs is trying to portray an image of independence and boldness on the female body. The slogans give off a feeling of dominance and forces you to think that any woman wearing them has all of the confidence in the world. The point of these clothes is to show off a certain style or attitude. To me it gives off the same visual of a woman in a tight fitted dress, with high heels. When you see someone you think “oh she’s really confident and thinks that she’s cute”. Well I get the same vibe just from these various tops. I have to disagree with some people’s responses that the message from these brands are ineffective. Why would something be ineffective if it is displaying a person’s personality? I don’t think that all women should or need to walk around with a shirt saying “bitch” to prove that they are independent but I think if they choose to it does display something about their choice of fashion and if they care how people perceive them.

  14. I feel that the clothing line Dimepiece is trying to target women who are trying to be independent and who want to voice their opinion by the clothes they wear. I think that this could be a good idea, but I would agree with some of my classmates by saying that I don’t know how effective it would actually be. I do think that women have come a long way than how they treated in the past. They were treated less than men and were “less powerful.” Nowadays, women are still treated differently in certain situations, but it has gotten better. I feel that women should be strong and independent and shouldn’t let men or other people stand in their way. I feel that clothing lines especially in today’s society are looking to making statements with shirts. I have seen people wear “Go Green” shirts or celebrities promoting different sayings and causes. So I feel that Dimpiece is just trying to give women the chance of empowerment and letting them express themselves through their clothing. A chance for the women to let people know what is on their mind.

  15. As many have mentioned already Dimepiece is definitely trying to play up the fact that women are just as important in this society as men are. We have fought long and hard to have the same rights and benefits that men take for granted and still to this day continue in our fight. The shirts posted on your blog signify that women are powerful and can take back the words that are often used by men frivolously. For example “ain’t no wifey” is rejecting the use of the word wifey as something cute and adoring. Wifey is suggesting that women’s roles are to be wives and that is just not reality. This shirt basically says wait a minute, who you calling wifey. The pussy shirt has the same concept. Women are many times signified by the term “pussy” for example “gonna get some pussy” tonight. This shirt allows women to take back control of their word, and firmly state that they will decide who they deal with.

    Another shirt on the Dimepiece website caught my attention. It reads “God is coming and she is pissed.” I love this shirt and I think it makes a strong statement about our often male-dominated society. Who decided God was a male and it should be used with the word He? Are women not powerful enough or serious enough to assume roles of authority and leadership? I think too often we assume that power is equated with males and Dimepiece is doing its part to take ownership for females. We are just as strong if not stronger than our male counterparts and we deserve to be treated with as much respect and they are given.

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