In class, we continued to explore the relationship between bodies and clothing. Whose body is the clothing on? How does who is wearing the clothing make us view the garments differently? What is the basis of these ideas? Where did we get them from?
We started class with a quote from Dorthy Ko, “The very idea of the native itself is a modern invention.” Looking at Roxy’s post from earlier this week, she stated that “people can relate certain looks with certain stereotypes.” Roxy continued on to explain how many fashion stores in the United States market something as to be regional, such as “Mexican inspired dresses” or the “Mayan Princess Tunic.” What is the reality of these countries’ fashions opposed to the invented sociological images in Western fashion discourse?
Let’s look at the blog post we viewed in class, “Don’t Sleep on Africa” as an example. The constricted view that many people hold sees Africa in a previous historical moment, instead of considering them to be contemporaneous.
The blog, blackcigarette, showed some South African street style that differs greatly from the image above:
How do our ideas of people and their identities influence what we image they will wear? Not only should we question what stories and associations we attach to certain types of clothing, but what kind of clothing do we connect with certain people?
Discussion ended with trying to establish a difference between vintage stores and second-hand clothing stores. Again, we discussed how this depends on who is wearing the clothing. One person brought up that having the privilege of being able to choose is what made clothing vintage against second-hand.
Another person thought it came down to a certain confidence and the way a person carries themselves. Perhaps it has to do with being knowledgeable about what clothing you are wearing. Many people expressed humor at the fact that an African child wearing “I had my birthday party at McDonalds” probably had not, in fact, had a birthday party at McDonalds. The lose of translation that we interpret has an effect on how we view the garments.
Either way you see it, how we view the clothing a person is wearing is directly correlated to what person is wearing the apparel.