In Nancy J. Parezo’s “The Indian Fashion Show,” we learn that Douglas designed the Indian Fashion Show “to promote interracial understanding” (Parezo, 245). Douglas was able to accomplish this as he provided women with “new images of themselves as Indian princesses” and legitimized that image in the Indian Fashion Show (Parezo, 262). Similarly to Douglas, many fashion directors try to present images of white women wearing attire that is not necessarily associated with American or European fashion in order to convince audiences that these images are “new, unique, and desirable” (Parezo, 263).
This notion is certainly manifested by the fashion directors working for Forever 21. The Forever 21 website, which allows customers to browse through all of the clothes and make purchases online, features mostly (if not only) white models. Naturally, all of the models on the Forever 21 website are also tall, thin, and pretty. This specific look of the Forever 21 models affirms the assertion that the fashion industry endeavors to provide white women with images of themselves wearing the clothing that the company is trying to sell in order to increase profits. Even though most American women’s appearance does not resemble that of the models’ on the Forever 21 website, the fashion directors at Forever 21 still appear to be fashioning national bodies.
In essence, the fashion industry knows that despite this noticeable discrepancy in looks between American women and the models of Forever 21,many American women will still view images of these models as “new images of themselves” in different clothing. The fashion industry understands that women will then want to buy the clothes the models are wearing because the images are “new, unique, and desirable.” Some of the models on the Forever 21 website are modeling “tribal” clothing, or clothing that is typically associated with a particular culture or ethnicity. This further demonstrates how fashion directors at Forever 21 are fashioning national bodies.
-Do you agree that Forever 21’s featuring of mostly white models is a way of fashioning national bodies?
-What are other reasons that Forever 21 features mainly white models?
-What do you think about the current tribal trend?
-What is the main purpose of Forever 21’s fashioning of national bodies? Is it pure economic interest or something more significant?