Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Time to say goodbye

Yesterday after my chinese final, some of my friends are graduating so I went with them to get their graduation gown. I was talking to them and they told me that they didn't get to keep their gowns. After graduation they had to return it. I found that the most shocking. The graduation gown holds so many memories, its basically your whole college experience. That reminded me of the documentary in class about Yohji Yamamoto. He talked about how clothes represented people, it was a form of identity. I wondered about it for a long time, because i wanted to be a fashion designer i wanted to make clothes like that. I was wondering for a while how to convey identity to a piece of clothing. Now that I saw the gowns, it really does show a persons identity. Its more than jsut an identity, its all the memories and experiences that a person has gone through. Just a simple gown shows all of that, so it was really surprising to me that the graduates had to return the gown.

Also, the robes are a form of conformity for the school. Since you can't really see what the graduates are wearing underneath, they all look the same. The only difference is the hairstyle and face of each person. It reminded of the Cuties in Japan article and the quote "The idea underlying cute was that young people who had passed through childhood and entered adult life have been forced to cover up their real selves and hide their emotions under a layer of artifice.” The graduation gown is a cover up of the students true self so that everyone can be the same. To me the purpose of everyone looking the same is so that no one person can hog all the spot light when its the whole class that should be congratulated. Just for a few hours all the students need to stop being individuals and be a group.

This video that I posted up is the extreme case of fashion identity, and it makes fun of it with the commentary.

PS. Congratulations to the graduating class!!

Jennifer Ma
Blog #6

Yohji Yamamoto clip
Cuties in Japan by Sharon Kinsella

Monday, June 8, 2009

I've gained a lot!

As I said on our last day of class, I think I did decently well on the compact challenge this quarter. I will admit that I did buy a thing or two and I didn’t really start the challenge until maybe the fifth week of class but once I started I was determined to stick to it. I even managed to only window shop when I went to the San Francisco Westfield Mall, which was beyond difficult; but at the same time a tad easy since a lot of the stores in the mall were way too expensive for my poor wallet.

But anyways, I did learn a lot from the challenge and from the class. I especially learned a lot from the research papers and the green movement. From all that I’ve learned this quarter I think I will always be aware of those two specific things. Furthermore, I’m going to try to continue to practice the compact challenge and be aware – and think twice – of what I buy. I’ve already started to help my older brother with buying eco-friendly materials for his new house. I’ve also convinced my mom to donate her old dining table to my brother and I’ve convinced my brother to take it so the - still very sturdy and nice – table doesn’t end up in the garbage.

Lastly, after learning about how there have been cultures, like the Hmong, who express their experiences and lives through passed down hobbies and talents with textiles, I’ve learned that I don’t always need to buy presents for my loved ones. I can simply make them instead; with either my own talents of cross stitching or by recycling my old clothes.

Keri Yee
Blog #6


McCall, Ava L. "Speaking through Cloth: Teaching Hmong History and Culture through Textile Art." The Social Studies (1999): 230-36.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Fashionable Anti-Consumerism

I’m not sure whether I can say I was successful in the compact challenge or not. I only bought a few things over the past several weeks, but that may have been because I’ve been tight on money. But I did learn a lot – from this challenge, as well as from this class. Now, I’m more aware of my consumerism and wastefulness. I think twice about whether I really need to buy something or not and whether something should really be thrown out or if it has potential with a little work or with another person. I highly doubt that I’ll stop buying new things altogether. After all, how do you reconcile a love for fashion with a wariness for consumerism? I’m not sure what kind of affect this will all have on my fashion-following, but I’m sure there will be changes in my purchasing behaviors. Now that I know more about things like re-working clothing and buying second-hand, I’m sure it will curb my wastefulness.

Anti-consumerism is spreading as the issues behind it are becoming more prevalent in our society. If you look at it as a trend, anti-consumerism could even be considered fashionable. As Kawamura states, “Fashion can be analyzed as a process of collective selection of a few styles from numerous competing alternatives”(Kawamura 102). Fashion is more than just clothing, so if the masses adopt it, things like re-worked clothing could be considered fashionable. Entrepreneurs are already making money off of this idea, and our class has already adopted it.

- Carmel Crisologo

[blog #6]


Kawamura, Yuniya. Fashion-ology An Introduction to Fashion Studies (Dress, Body, Culture). New York: Berg, 2005.

Being a Conscious Viewer to Be a Conscious Consumer

Television commercials, magazine ads, radio ads, and online ads are all forms of passive advertisement. Viewers watch the television, look or listen to the ads and chooses whether or not to fully comprehend the information being dispersed to them

After reading Minjeong Kim and Angie Y. Chung’s journal article “Consuming Orientalism”, I learned that this idea of passive advertisement is a clever tactic used by businesses to seem as if they are promoting racial togetherness in order “to profit off a multi-racial consumer base through greater inclusion while maintaining White male supremacy through the visual consumption of Asian/American women’s bodies” (Kim and Chung 88). This method is truly ingenious, because they gain the support of different races while secretly disempowering them and perpetuating racial stereotypes (88).

One such example is the Virginia Slims ad in which the Asian woman being featured said, “In silence I see. With WISDOM, I speak” (80). The different races being featured are shown with the stereotypes that the media has forced upon them. While looking at the ad on a surface level, the consumer might be touched at this aim to promote racial harmony. However, with a closer read, one can see the history of racial stereotypes behind each of the women and each of the sayings (80).

But how often do we actually examine the ads we see? Try as I might want to be socially conscious, sometimes when I read magazines or watch television for fun, I don’t always see the bigger picture. I'm too zoned out with trying to relax and get away from thinking. Same with consumerism—how often do we examine our consumption habits? Where we shop from? Where our clothes and accessories are made?

That is what I will be taking from this class and my attempt at the compact challenge … Thinking consciously about everything I do, particularly when I shop. Every time I swipe my credit card, does it go toward a company that treats its labor fairly? Or am I simply contributing to the oppression of laborers all around the world? It won’t be easy, but social justice is never easy. I can’t change overnight, I can’t say that I won’t fail from time to time when temptation creeps up on me, but now I can’t say that I didn’t know better, that I wasn’t educated, that I didn’t already learn about this in class. And the empowerment of that knowledge is what will bring me closer to being a smarter consumer.


  1. Kim, Minjeong, and angie y. Chung. "Consuming Orientalism: Images of Asian/American Women in Multicultural Advertising". Qualitative Sociology Spring 2005: 67-88.

Courtney Lorca

Blog #6

Le Fin du Fin

The French idiom, "le fin du fin," in English means, "the cream of the crop." "La fin," on the other hand refers to "the end." This week, we mark the end of the the compact challenge which has pushed many of us to be the cream of the crop of the green, compact movement. I, however, was not one of them. My consumption patterns did not change much, but I was much more aware of the things that I buying. I would take into consideration the ecological consequences of certain products and what impact they would make. An example of this would be the Kleen Kanteen, which I had written about a couple weeks ago. Throughout, the ten weeks of this class, I have been exposed to many different theories and issues that surround clothing such as sweatshop workers and their rights, fashion as an institutionalized system, and the theories around kawaii. Taking into consideration all these theories, I find it interesting to be able to look at the world differently now and dissect the many layers of production to consumption. Having minored in Textiles and Clothing, I was already aware of the many terms of fashion such as the different classifications and collars, but after this class I have a better sense of history surrounding them. Fashion, then, as based from classical Asian constructions has become a commidity for consumption that has been taken away from its intended meaning. As an Asian American, looking at how simple designs such as a Mandarin collar paired with koi designs and how it becomes avant-garde saddens me a little bit. However, I cannot be mad at "the designer" because it is what makes the dollar.

In contrast there are clothing companies that are Asian American focused and conscious such as Black Lava Clothing, where they have shirts that have simple messages about refugees, pride, and other issues that affect the Asian American community. They tout their clothing as, "clothing for a new state of mind," which refers to their spreading of consciousness of issues relevant to our community. Not only do they have clothing, but also DVDs, books, and print that all help to spread consciousness. In addition to ecological consciousness, it is important to also look at different issues that surround the Asian American identity; and I think Black Lava does a good job spreading these messages with their clothing and products. By making stylish designs the reclaim the Asian American identity and fight "the man."

Raphael Sarmiento
Blog #6

Course reader
Black Lava Clothing

Win This One For the Gipper

And another quarter goes down the dust. For the majority of these blogs, I have focused on tracking the progress of asian American fashion and the compact challenge. All in all, I believe progress was made physically and mentally. I almost made it through the quarter compacting my dress. In reality, I now know that somewhere around 90% of my income goes to food and, well, lets just call them beverages-sodas if you will. Going out and buying clothes does not have to a priority on anybody’s agenda. I have realized this as we were discussing in class how fashion trends and styles come, go and return in a vicious cycle. Coupled with a subsequent discussion in class, I can’t help but regret my past consumption as we said Asian American fashion is undefined-it is everything we see and do. So, what’s the point? Why are we (Asian Americans et. al) consumed so much with fashion? After this class, I have come up with a couple answers.
On the one side, we consume fashion in order to associate our selves with a popular and dominant social group. In this respect, we use fashion as a socializing agent in order to gain some perception of confidence, thus making our livelihoods seem more enjoyable. Styles and trends, in this case, serve as a quick and easy way to climb the social ladder; although later we have all come to see that following these trends is hilariously embarrassing. i.e. the ultra fitted and washed jean jacket of the 80’s, neon shorts and high tub socks and flocking eagle hair. http://theaxemen.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/flockofseagulls.jpg
Another reason we (emphasis on the Asian American aspect) consume fashion is to differentiate ourselves from Anglo conformity. By so doing, we create a unique and independent identity which we can call our own. Consequently, history has shown us that not only do we like our fashion, but so does the rest of the world. The result of this is that Asian American fashion designers are pushed to create the new look every day in latent fear of commodification of our culture. In this regard, we are pushed in a weird and possible inadvertent way to consume more in order to help the culture.
The readings for this week make some distant connections to my thoughts. In Kawamura’s, “Conclusion” in the book Fashion-ology, we can understand how fashion is a constant process and institution which comes at a price. Niessen also eludes this notion in her “Afterword: Re-Orientalizing Fashion Theory,” that there are significant culture ramifications for the world being engrossed in fashion. I think the biggest thing to remember here is that Asian American fashion is not defined and hence not restricted to any normative limits in the social and fashion world. We have made ASA fashion what it has come to be and it is up to us to enhance it into the future. After conducting this challenge, we now know that we don’t have to consume in order to improve our product. Fashion is both our socializing agent and distinct identity all in one. In a world where perception is everything, our fashion is everything and nothing.

Michael Silvernail
Blog #6

Round 1: Needs vs. Wants

I guess this is it. This is the last entry and post I will be writing in efforts to display my participation in this compact challenge. No offense Professor, but I do not mind that this assignment is coming to an end. However, that doesn't mean that I didn't learn anything from this. or am not going to take any moral lessons behind fighting consumerism and being green. In fact, I've learned a lot with this challenge, especially through the study of Asian American fashion. Thus, my final entry will discuss my understanding of fashion and how a knowledgeable consumer should act in order to fight consumerism.

Kawamura stated that, "Fashion implies a certain fluidity of the social structure of the community, and it requires a particular type of society, that is the modern world where the social stratification system is open and flexible." The American public is a great example of this community, especially of the capitalist form. With the typical "American Dream" motives, such as "make as much money as possible", it's hard to stop the com modification of fashion. In addition, with all of the fashion products, both cheap and expensive, it's hard to remove social status through these goods. However, one must be able to separate what is fashionable and what is just material when it comes to the way one dresses. It is easier said that to be done, given the fact that fashion can be considered in the eyes of the beholder. But, if one were to break down purchasing closes to simple economics, that separation becomes easier.

If a person was considering buying clothes in an economic point of view, clothes are only purchased to fulfill the necessity. They would buy no more, or any less then they would have to. However, this world and social structure have set up the people to purchase as much as possible in order to "feel better," or "look higher class." This conflict between necessity versus wants is the reason why consumerism is such an all-time high.

Here's the lesson that I've learned from this challenge and that I have proposed to as many people I've encountered in the course of this challenge: In order to fight consumerism, you must break down the consumption of goods to either needs and wants. If a person NEEDS something, then that need can be met by purchase. But if a product is simply WANTED, then consumption must be second-guessed. A person needs a shirt, pants, jacket, or hat to keep them clothed and presentable. But a person doesn't need twenty shirts that cost hundreds of dollars. It's simple economics.

Christian Borgonia, Blog #6

Works Cited
Kawamura, Yunia. "Fashion-olgy"

Not Clothes, But Identity

This class has been a very challenging course to me just because of the compact challenge. I have always been a big fan of consumerism just because I get bored of things really easily. But after finishing up Kawamura's book Fashionology, I realize that fashion isn't really about buying clothes. She talks about how Fashion is not about clothes but about a belief. The belief that by buying more clothes, one is more fashionable. For as long as I have been shopping on my own, I have always believed that buying the newest clothes or following the newest trend is being fashionable. I have never been a fan of leggings but it became very popular as people started to wear them under skirts especially in the bay area with the weather and such. I was very tempted to buy some just because everyone else was wearing them. I found this pair at work and they were so cute. I was about to buy them when I realized that I'm no longer a kid anymore and I don't want to wear leggings just because everyone else was wearing them.

However, that is not true. After going through this class and finishing up this book, I have come to believe that fashion is really an identity we set for ourselves. It is an image that we set for ourselves. In the article describing an interview with Carine Roitfield, french Vogue editor, she claims that "Fashion is not about clothes, it's about a look." Although it makes her a bit ironic to be saying this, she claims that fashion is about creating a look with different articles of clothing. I have come to believe that fashion isn't really about just buying clothes and wearing what everyone else is wearing. It is really about setting an image to the public and conveying a message. This helps me alot in terms of the compact challenge just because I feel like I have a whole entirely new wardrobe in which I can experiment and think about what kind of message I want to convey to the world!

1) Fashion-ology by Yuniya Kawamura

Carmen Yee Post #6

Are We Gonna Move?

So I was reading a review for this cartoon that premiered recently called The Goode Family about a family obsessed with being green. A commenter posted that this show was the creator, Mike Judge (also created Beavis and Butthead, Idiocracy, and King of the Hill) acknowledging that the green movement was not just a 90's trend. This may make me sound very young, but I had no idea the green movement started in the 90's. I always assumed it was a millenial thing. Then I remembered so many of my childhood cartoons had enviroment protection undertones. Does anyone remember The Dinosaurs? There was a facebook group that my friend joined which made me noslogic enough to google it. The series finale was quite sad, and while I remember watching it, at that age I did not fully understand its implications. My head continued to explode with memories of kid show examples: Rocky's Modern World's recycling song, Lisa Simpson fighting Mr. Burns and his soda plastic netting schemes, and remember when Bayside School struck oil? If they were shown in the 90's then some adults must've been writing them right? I hope that this green trend sticks, because as Fashionology states, fashion is a cultureal symbol, and I want this style to last. I wish I could youtube all those clips for you, but memory lane is a long road to walk down, so I'll just stick with The Dinosaurs. I can't save the video on the computer, so please follow this link Enjoy!

Janice Lam
Blog #6

Yuniya Kawamura "Fashion-ology"


Frugal Eats

As college students, it is often more convenient for us to grab a bite to eat from a restaurant rather than cooking a meal for yourself. There are many benefits from dining in which include portion control and saving money. While most of us are generally pressed for time, cooking may not seem like the best use of your time, when you have midterms to study for, research papers to write, facebooking to do, etc. There are plenty of recipes you can try that are both less time consuming and allow you to do other things while you wait for your food to cook. This recipe for Italian Baked Chicken and Pastina can be found on the Food Network website at http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/italian-baked-chicken-and-pastina-recipe/index.html.
It only takes 40 minutes to make with 3/4 of the time is spent in the oven. When I made this recipe during the week, it took approximately 15 minutes to prep everything, it took a little longer for me to chop the vegetables. While I was waiting for the pasta to bake in the oven, I studied a couple chapters for one of my finals.

One of the concepts from the video "Hip Hop Immortals We Got Your Kids" was "be the boss". If you want to have more control of the things in your life, take the initiative to make it happen. What better way to take control of one aspect of your life than by creating everything that you take into your body.

"Hip Hop Immortals We Got Your Kids". Dir. Kris Palestrini. DVD. 2003.


Samantha Ng
Blog #6

Threadless Revisited

Going back to the last blog entry I wrote about Threadless and streetwear, after the class discussed about fashion as an institutionalized system, Threadless came to my mind again. Kawamura said that "different workers in different aspects of fashion all related in producing and perpetuating the fashion culture." This is true to Threadless as the producers and perpetuators of the designs are the consumers. The company's role is only to take in designs (and in a way regulate its content) and make it available to the public for voting. If we would trace its production further, it is possible that Threadless gets their T-shirts printed at a printing company, and in turn the T-shirts are possibly made in some foreign country. The whole system works together as suggested through our earlier discussion of Nike's shoes production article by Skoggard. While the consumers have the freedom to vote on the design they like, which design will be mass produced is still decided by the mass (and possibly the Threadless's owners themselves). In this case, the consumers still do not have the ability to wear whatever they see fits, but instead wear what the community deems as fashionable. This relates again to the idea that while clothing is the material manifestation of fashion, it is only considered a fashion trend when adopted by the mass (Kawamura).

The fact that Threadless launched the Select line to exclusively promote popular/established artists/designers who went through Threadless voting process further proves that it is indeed an institutionalized system. Below is an excerpt from threadless.com about the history of the Select line:

"Over the years, Threadless occasionally printed designs by established artists and designers, allowing them to circumvent the submit/score process. This allowed emerging artists whose work was printed through the Threadless selection process to be sold alongside that of well-known creatives. These curated shirts became "The Select Series", officially created in 2006 as a distinct line of Threadless."

It further promotes the line by providing consumers with a subscription in which they will be mailed the new T-shirt that is available every Monday. The TypeTees and Kids lines are just more evidence that Threadless, as an institution, dictates the fashion more than its consumers do. Especially for the TypeTees line, they openly ask for submissions of interesting statements. Again, the consumers/users are free to submit whatever they think is worthy but it is Threadless who has the final say. I do not mean to reuse last week topic but the realization of this new knowledge is so overwhelming I could not resist writting about it. It is like an enlightenment.

It is inarguable that after every class, we take with us something new. It is no different for this class. However, it is one of those rare classes where my perspective of society in general is completely changed or elevated to a new level. Particularly for this class, it is the knowledge of the fashion system's "behind-the-scene." This also makes me aware of my cosumption pattern including but not limited to fashion (namely clothes). As I became knowledgeable of these issues, whenever I want to buy something, I would ask questions such as where it comes from, what the sources are, what kind of materials it is made of, whether it is environmentally friendly, whether it is from a big corporate, what fashion ideal/body image it is selling, etc. I myself was amazed how much more fastidious I became. Yet at the same time if I am to act consciously as I think, my clothing style will be limited and often time I would find myself unable to achieve a certain look without "blind consumption." Thus I will end by saying that fashion, as an institutionalized system, has become so perpetuating in our society and culture that it is quite impossible to pull away from it. This is not to say I'll keep my consumption pattern as it was before taking this class. I'm just whining as it is quite hard to change ^^".
p/s: I'm not a threadless advocate as I haven't bought any shirt from them nor have I participated in any voting/submitting of designs (yet...)

Blog #6
by Nghia Trinh

Kawamura, Yuniya. "Fashion as an Instituionalized System," Fashion-ology.
Skoggard, Ian. "Transnational Commodity Flows and the Global Phenomenon of the Brand."
1st image from threadless.com

Got Rice? Got Fashion? Got Pride?

For tonight's dinner, I made rice. Since I'm in college now, I don't have my grandma to serve me food anymore. Because of that, I began to eat less and less rice. But when I was cleaning my rice cooker, I thought of the days when I was growing up as a kid. I would eat rice 3 times a day, even 4 times a day. I chuckled because it's funny now that I think of it. I mean, I use to eat it so much of it. Every meal will contain rice and every meal I will eat a large quantity of it. But I never got tired of it, in fact, tonight I was craving for it. Since we are in an Asian American Studies class, I am assuming most of us know how that feels. We love rice and we just can't have enough of it. It is part of our life. Our history. And we take pride in it.

Ever heard of the song Got Rice? You must have in middle or high school! Since I want to keep this PG13, I'm not going to type out the lyrics or such. So, listen to it here!

Vietnam to Japan to Mongolia, Philippines to Taiwan to Cambodia, Korea, ah ah, hometown China! yeah!! Got rice, got rice, got rice?

The reason I introduced this song and even wrote a blog on this is because sometimes I feel like people of other race look at us like we are crazy for eating so much rice. I live with 2 white girls, 2 white boys, 1 Philipino guy, and 1 India guy, and they think I'm ridiculous for consuming so much rice. But the fact is, I can't help it. I just want to say that fashion is important. Because like Kawamura said, fashion reflects who we are. It sets an image for others to perceive of who we are. An example is that "Cultural anthropologists view dress as a way to show one's modesty, but dress can also be viewed as 'the desire to be sexually attractive and adornment,' and even be protection (Kawamura 15). We know that even in America, there are many different kinds of fashion and among some the most popular ones, there are fashions that contains a hint of Asian fashion. Ao dai, bindi, Kay Pao, and many others are being used in modern fashion and will be continuing to be used in future fashion. We should take pride of our culture and be content with how much American fashion is influenced by our tradiational Asian fashions.

-Ivan Lee (Blog #6)




What does Ào Dái (Vietnamese National Dress) and Eco-Friendly have in common?

What does the Vietnamese national dress have in common with eco-friendly clothing?....you can find them on plastic dolls.

I was surfing the internet this week and came across a website that sells clothes for 18” plastic dolls. These dolls in particular are called, “American Girl® Dolls.” This website (Carptina.com) sells Asian national dresses for the dolls. The dresses are categorized under “Oriental Style.” The outfits include but are not limited to the following country’s dress/costume: China, Korea, Japan, India, and Vietnam! Here are pictures of the Vietnamese (Left) and Chinese (Right) costume.

The thing that I didn’t like about the Vietnamese dress was the fact that it looks nothing like an Ào dái (Vietnamese National Dress), except for the fact that it had the pant right. If the pant was not included, I would have mistaken it for a Chinese cheongsam. The cheongsam sold on this website looks similar to the Ào dái (compare in the above pictures). I recall learning in class about the “frog closure” on clothes. The Ào dái had just that, but so did the Cheongsam. To my knowledge, typical Ào dái don’t have the frog closure or remotely looks like the one designed on this website. According to Ann Marie Leshkowich, the Ào dái design consist of “a long, close fitting tunic with mandarin collar and high slits up the side seams and loose pants” (pg,79). Which would typical look like these dresses.

This company’s appropriation of the Ào dái, is what Leshkowich’s categorize as “groups and individuals [who] tend to creatively reinterpret the items they consume, so that even the use of the mass-produced products need not to be a form of false consciousness perpetrated on unsuspecting consumers by hegemonic, neo imperialist capitalist structure” (pg, 83). For the founder and designer of Carpatina doll clothing, they took what they see as Ào dái and reinterpret as a costume that can be consume, collected and adore by little “American” girls.

I am looking at this company as one that is partaking in globalization. Not only are they, “orientalizing,” Asian fashion, they are following other growing global trends as well. On the same website you can find eco-friendly clothing for the dolls. The line of clothing is made with “Natural Fiber Materials.”

Oh yeah…before I forget, they even give some of the dolls a name, such as “Lien Hua.” And if that isn’t enough they even have a whole dialogue/story for the doll.

All in all, it has been a good 6 weeks on this challenge! Not sure if I consume less but for sure I notice it more.

Blog 6

Phung Kim Vo

Re-Orienting Fashion

Sometimes Fake is Fine

In this class we've discussed the ramifications of designer knockoffs. The image of the brand is tarnished, and consumers, producers, and government alike suffer from it. In "Knockouts of Knockoffs: The Global Implication of Fashion Piracy," Melissa Decker argues that consumers are "blinded by their desire to look immaculately fashionable without spending a fortune." She notes that the counterfeiting problems will escalate if action is not taken from all parties.

So that brings me to the subject of generics. If you look at food, its hard to say which are watered down, not so delicious knockoffs, and which are the same recipe, same machines, same factory, different packaging. With medicine, I always wondered whether or not the generic was as capable as the original. I've heard people argue from both sides; that it is the same active ingredients, or that dosages can be off. Well for the record, according to the FDA, they are the same. What happens is that patents need to expire before the drugs can be reproduced by different companies. Its a shame though, since the mass produced drugs would be far cheaper and could save the lives of many who can't afford the original. Well, to play devil's advocate to myself, this sort of system does encourage innovation needed in medicine, but I digress. The point is, generic medicine is a perfectly fine substitute.

Janice Lam
Blog #5

Melissa Decker, "Knockouts of Knockoffs: The Global Implication of Fashion Piracy,"


What does Hennessy have to do with Fashion? : LVMH as an Institution

Alot, actually. Hennessy and Louis Vuitton? the relationship between the popular wine and spirits brand and luxury leather goods isn't very apparent. But in 1987 they merged to create the world's largest luxury goods conglomerate. LVMH runs about 60 sub-companies managing several presitgious brands such as Kenzo, Givenchy, Dior, Moet et Chandon (champagne), and the now out of business Eluxury.

LVMH controls a number of brands and business ranging from everything from clothing,cosmetics, wines and spirits, accessories, jewelry, and watches. LVMH aims to create a luxury goods empire, with several of their differing brands and products all expressing the same image: wealth and exclusivity, to their consumers. LVMH is part of a "fashion system of institutions" and represents the "collective conscience", which in this case is luxury products. (Kawamura, 2005)

Like Kawamura describes, LVMH is an institution which shapes individuals and society as a whole. Not only does the Company embody an overall image but produces, distributes, and effects the consumption of each of their brands and products.

The merger of both companies has allowed them to have a stronghold on the luxury goods industry, which allows them to market their brands in an effective way. Not just individually, but as one common staple image.

Below is Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy's Corporate film, which expresses the overall image they try to convey to their customers.

LVMH is the epitome of fashion as an institution in our modern world.

- Elaine de Lara
Blog #6

Fashionology by Yuniya Kawamura

Fast Fashion, Fast Food

In my last blog, I discussed the ease in which we throw away food that we do not appreciate. Today I'd like to compare it with fashion, thanks to a very interesting article on www.jezebel.com that I read back in August titiled, "We Love Cheap Stuff, but Fast Fashion is Hard to Defend: by Sadie Stein. In this article, Stein compares the trendy clthes from Forever 21 to a meal at McDonalds, "Just as McDonald's is no substitute for a nice — or healthy — meal, a trip to Forever21 doesn't make you feel especially good. It's loud and chaotic, the sizes are all over the place, employees are often disaffected, you make poor decisions - sometimes just to avoid the hassle of a dressing-room line. Perhaps, as in the case of fast food, fast fashion is yet another degredation of our quality of life." She argues that while Forever 21 clothes may be cheaper, the more basic ensembles last longer, is worn more often, and is of better quality. I whole heartedly agreee. Hasn't everyone looked into their closet and wondered why they bought such ugly clothes in the first place? Today I am wearing black work pants from Express that were a gift to me from the 8th grade. Nearly 8 years later, i still continue to wear them while some of my fast fashion items were worn once and now just sit on the other side of my closet (somewhat) forgotten.

Now this isn't the first time we've critisized Forever 21, remember the article "Forever in Trouble?" by Chuck Q. Bun? Forever 21 has been critisized for their unfair labor practices, and continues to not listen to boycotter's calls.

Well now I've just give you a second reason to boycott Forever 21. These fast fashions are dangerous because, not only does it waste money for the consumers, but they also are a waste of the earth's resources.

Janice Lam
Blog #3
Chuck Q. Byun. "Forever in Trouble?"

Evolution of bboy/bgirl clothing.

Many people do not know this but I used to be a bgirl about 10 years ago. Though I had to stop for academic and health reasons, it never stopped me from loving it. It was an underground movement back when I was a bgirl but with the shows such as America's Best Dance Crew, So You Think You Can Dance, etc, it has become quite popular to those new to the scene. IT'S EVERYWHERE! Unfortunately, now that it is all over the media... it has become more of a fashion show than a sport.
Ten years ago the style was a lot more simple and comfortable, regular sweat pants, a [usually] oversized t-shirt, either a hat or a bandana, and comfortable shoes. (since they're on bboys/bgirls are on their feet most of the time) Not only do many bboy/bgirl moves require strength, but they require a movement that cannot be hindered because of clothes. Battling, a head to head confrontation between individuals or groups of bboys/bgirls who try to out dance each other, is an integral part of the bboy/bgirl culture. One cannot afford to lose, because their clothes are too tight and end up hurting in the process.
But with the recent popularity of bboying (now termed "breakdancing" by the media), it is clear WHY the styles have changed. Now that the art is being put into the limelight more, there was the demand to be more "fashionable". So many of the bboys have resorted to ball-suffocating jeans, Nike dunks, and very urban, hip hop-esque t-shirts. Though it is nice to see bboy clothing change throughout the years, I do miss the parachute pants.
I always thought bboying/bgirling was an Asian thing... back when I was 10 years old! After growing up and doing my research, the hip hop culture was more of African-American based. Maira mentions a young man named Darmesh recalling that "Indian American youth who grew up with Blacks and Latinos, and even some who did not, often perform or acquire 'the style, and the attitude, and the walk' associated with [hip hop culture] youth..." (265). Like Indian American youth, the young men I grew up with (aka my uncles) that taught me this element of the hip-hop culture, turned to hip hop to get away from the struggles that is bound with being an alien in the United States (Maira 268). Coming straight from the Philippines, my uncles had a hard time fitting in and turned to the bboying scene introduced to them by their other Filipino friends. Not only did they get into bboying, they began dressing like a bboy too with the baggy sweat pants and oversized t-shirt. Although they have grown up and are now young professionals, I still see their bboy roots incorporated into their style.

Christine Erfe blog #6

Maira, Sunaina. Henna and Hip Hop: The Politics of Cultural Production and the Work of Cultural Studies. Class reader.

Mommy the Sane

Even though I planned to write this blog during mother's day, I'd still like to announce to the world that Maky Lam, greatest mom ever, is a much better buyer than me. In fact, I'd say in some ways, she's the best in the family. Our family are big bargain hunters: we use coupons, rebates, "cheat-codes," etc. But my biggest weakness is that I cannot resist a good deal. For instance, I once bought a pair of ballet slippers from Aeropostle for $1.09, even though it was a whole size larger. I told myself that "it's only a dollar!" and convinced myself I could just stuff the shoe. Those shoes still sit in my closet.

Another thing my mother is also much better at not hoarding all her old stuff. I'm a pack-rat. My closet explodes a little bit when you open the door, and I have less and less space in my room every year. This summer, my goal is to get rid of the things I don't use/wear because well I don't use it, and someone else can. I plan to donate whatever I can to the nearby thrift store, or Salvation Army, whatever they'll take from me anyway. According to http://www.spectator.co.uk/the-magazine/business/3077571/part_2/ever-wondered-whos-wearing-your-castoffs.thtml , this 1 billion dollar industry, even if your clothes is torn up and tattered from, oh I don't know, an eventful rugby match, the thrift stores still find uses for it! They shred them and make them into rags. Think about the Multiplier Effect!

Oh, and that creepy guy smiling at you in the picture above, my dad. How do you think I was born?

Janice Lam
Blog #4


Lesson Learned

When I was younger, about middle school age, I didn’t really care about whether or not my purses were knockoffs. I just bought them because they had the label, and in the back of my mind, I thought maybe it might not be real because it was so cheap, but I brushed off that feeling anyway. I wanted THE brands, meaning Coach, Louis Vuitton, just to name a few. I was young; my friends probably didn’t know any better anyway. It’s not like they were going to call me out on having a fake Louis Vuitton purse, even when the handle started peeling. Some of them didn’t even know the brand anyway. It just had pretty colors.
Even at a young age, I was entrapped by consumerism … wanting brands I could not afford at the tender age of 12 and wanting to take part in a lifestyle that I’d only seen in magazines and on televison.
Now, if ever I want to buy something designer, I opt to save up (or am surprised on Christmas or birthdays). I haven’t bought a “fake” in quite some time, especially after taking this class and another class on world trade. After giving it some thought, I’ve come to question what’s the point of having a counterfeit good when the “elites” can probably tell which is fake and which is real? I admit that I can’t tell for a lot of brands, but it’s definitely possible if you do your research. Not only is counterfeiting often noticeable, but it “undermines the integrity of business, hinders economic development, and disrespects the rules of competition” (Decker 2004). There are plenty of good designs out there … designs that you could make yourself, even. Why waste the money on counterfeiting when money is so hard to come by these days?

Courtney Lorca

Blog #5

1. Decker, Melissa A.. "Knockouts of Knockoffs: The Global Implication of Fashion Piracy". December 1, 2004.
2. Picture: http://demicouture.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/louis-vuitton-fake-bag.jpg

We can make a difference!

As I go onto my last blog, I begin to wonder if this will be the last of my anti consumerism habits. Though this class session is coming to an end, I feel the need to always think of anti consumerism as a way for me to help myself, that is to say- helping me financially simply because I am a student at a very expensive school. I must say, every since we had conducted this compact challenge, I had saved a lot of money. I always had a habit to purchase things and then store it away in my closet. I know for a fact that the main culprit that has attracted me into consuming would be through the media and its infinite propaganda advertised. As stated in the reading by Yuniya Kawamura “Production, Gatekeeping, and Diffusion of Fashion” stated that “The purpose of propaganda is to ‘stimulate a desire for the same thing at the same time in a large number of people to build collective belief among consumers’” in which I believe this is proven to be true. The population strives to consume the same thing, whether it is clothing, accessories and as bad as it sounds- SHOES. I can’t help but purchase shoes that please my eyes and help compliment my style. But again I must emphasize, I have minimized my ways of consuming since we had taken on this compact challenge.

            The key factors as to why I have lessened my ways of consumerism is because of the effects it does to the economy, environment and the people. One way I have found out to lessen the effects is that people can begin to recycle and begin to compost food waste. At UC Davis t


 is a program called the “Project Compost” which focuses mostly on food and agricultural waste. This program began since 1999 and is still going on so long as there are students and interns that are willing to help out and make a difference. To learn more information on the UC Davis Project Compost, follow the link I pasted below under my resources, so that together, we can make a healthier and happier environment and earth at that.  

            There is also another community that base their living through what is known as the “Freegans” in which “Freegan.info reflects our commitment to creating models of living that allow us to limit the control that corporations and money have over our lives, reduce our financial support for the destructive practices of mass producers, and act as a living challenge to waste and over-consumption.” (Freegan-info) Through this motto, there have been many individuals who wonder the streets of New York City, or other places that have these activists. 

Many of these activists have gone to restaurants that have thrown away the “so-called” trash but the food that was thrown away are still completely fresh and some foods expiration that are supposedly rotten, are not. In the end, there are people that are trying to make a difference and that this world we live in has both pros and cons.  


Image 1- http://blogs.nypost.com/fashion/photos/shoes_highend.jpg

Image 2- http://blogs.phillyburbs.com/news/bct/wp-content/blogs.dir/3/files/2008/06/wk_of_6.30_/0707_Compost.jpg

Image 3- http://jaclynlarisa.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/freegan2.jpg

Image 4-  http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3146/2486566272_60cc6be17a.jpg?v=0




-Kawamura, Yuniya. 2005. Fashion-ology: An Introduction to Fashion Studies. New York: Berg Publishers.






Yvonne Tran

Blog #6 

Saturday, June 6, 2009

like woahhh

Consuming Orientalism is about the power relationships that have written and rewritten the notions of the orient. By establishing Asians as the “other”, the west could justify the dominant-subordinate relationship between the east and the west. Therefore, “nation” is conveyed through aesthetics and the gendered body: “Through orientalism, differences in appearance and clothing were often read by colonizers as indexes of deeper differences, even as the colonizers’ discursive categories created the reality they supposedly described.” (Niessen et al., 9)

These oriental ideas are then used as part of the marketing strategy to promote products because it appeals to the customer’s intrigue with the unusual and different. It is in line with the contemporary sociopolitical climate to use post-racial ideas to advertise products to the masses. So advertisements utilize these “yellow power” ideas to reach a larger consumer base.
Therefore, the discourse around orientalism has been lost. Orientalism has been reduced to a trend: “This process of glossing certain items as generically Asian erases their specific cultural and national origins. Asian chic is something that, while aesthetically appealing to many, is ultimately a trend: something simply to be consumed and then moved beyond: "Asia is indeed an invented construction but it is nonetheless a very real construction. It has become a commodified identity that corporations can define and sell as an invented yet racialized look.” (Niessen et al., 19) .

The paradox is that these Asian trends are not considered beautiful until it has been validated by an outside source as such. What is notable is that this source is usually someone from a position of power, usually from the west. Globalization has allowed for the diffusion of such trends, but the origins—the context—in which these trends emerged has been lost. The meaning behind these trends changes as it continues to cross boarders: “it had to cross the border to become fashion in a way that it could never have been while south Asian women wore it…the irony for these [south Asian women] however was that pride in their new fashionability could be interpreted through logic as a kind of enlightenment that could only come from the western fashion establishment telling them what was precious about their cultural heritage.” (Niessen et al, 20)

Now, an interesting question was brought up during class: what if an Asian American were to "consume orientalism"? is it still considered "consuming orientalism" then? does it give these "oriental" commodities authenticity/ a new meaning?

re-orienting fashion, nissen

modern girl around the world, Barlow et al.

p.s. good luck with finals, have a great summer you guys <33>

Super Size Me

I can proudly say that I have completed the compact challenge with ease. I will admit I am not the most fashionable guy, nor the most concerned about fashion or my appearance. However, this class has inspired me to get into the fashion scene more so than I have been in the past. Whether this is a positive outcome or not has yet to be decided. I understand that the compact challenge is supposed to fight consumerism, but I am being compelled to redo my wardrobe. However, there is one major problem with this. For a person of my size (and people significantly larger than me), being fashionable can be a sizing nightmare.

I won’t lie, I will get uncomfortable if I go shopping at a mall in a shop like Guess or Pacific Sun because unlike the majority of the people I see shopping and working at these stores, I likely have a waistline and torso twice the size of their own. It is very hard for me to find clothing that fits me well… And when I say “fits me well,” I don’t mean giving me a double XL shirt that looks like an apron on me and calling that a “fit.” I am constantly reminded of my size through the availability of clothing that is consistently too short, too wide, too long, to large, and in general, non-form fitting.

One of the main reasons I stay away from fashion is because it is such an exclusive entity. I don’t need gatekeepers to tell me what I can and cannot wear. I don’t feel like being told I don’t fit the mold because my chest is too wide or my butt is too big. I am my own mold and the rest of you don’t fit me! So why then, should I pretend to care what I look like when shopping for clothes is like trying on 4 fingered gloves. The fashion industry rejects me and people like me. To get clothes that fit me, I have to spend extra money simply because I don’t “fit in.” There needs to be greater integration of sizing and a greater availability of these items. “Plus Size” clothing categories need to be eradicated, and then integrated into regular clothing lines. There is no such thing as “plus size.” To promote this clothing line is to say “you are too fat to be considered by fashion, but here is a clothing line for you anyways so you can feel good about yourself.”

As we find ourselves within an economic recession, clothing retailers are beginning to halt production and sales of “plus size” clothing. According to the New York Post, “Ann Taylor stopped selling plus-size clothes in its stores this spring. It now offers those clothes only online.” If this isn’t the biggest “Fuck You” I’ve ever seen, now people with more voluptuous physiques will be confined to their homes when shopping for clothes, effectively eliminating them from the realm of fashion and the process of trying on clothes and finding the right fits.

I will not cite any sources from the readings because all the readings do is promote this class-based institution, and being a person who perceives himself as a class-less chameleon, there is nothing in the readings that support my views or arguments about fashion for a more diverse world.



Jesse Kailahi Blog #6