Thursday, May 28, 2009

that's SO not in anymore...says who?

In one of this week’s article, "Fashion as an Institutionalized System," by Yuniya Kawamura, I realized something about how my compact challenge has been going. Every season we see the "in" styles, but who defines what is in style and what is out of style? The answer is simple: us. We define what is "in" style by the clothes we buy or the clothes other people buy. Fashion experts seek to be the first to create the next "in" thing but overall, there is not one specific person who decides what is fashionable or not. People, media, even magazines [image on right] tell us the way that we can keep "in fashion" and keep up with the latest trends. In Kawamura’s article, she discusses how we learn from the fashion system that there are certain ways we have to dress for certain occasions. If it’s a fancy thing, we have to dress up. If we’re just going to school, we can dress casual. Different clothes for different events. People, companies, and things have determined what specific things we need to wear for certain things we attend. However, is this really necessary? As a community, we spend so much money on clothes that we probably don’t need all because we feel we need them for a special occasion. If we buy a fancy dress for a special occasion, then suddenly, we wear it once and never again. All because of the special occasion we spent a ton of money on something that we’ll probably never wear again. WHAT A WASTE! There’s no law that states that we need to dress up for certain things, and yet we constantly are buying things for that one special occasion because the world around us makes us believe we need to. In the article, "The Aesthetics and Politics of Japanese Identity in the Fashion Industry," by Dorinne Kondo, she discusses how in the first at the Shirokiya Department store, fourteen people died because the kimono prevented them from making a quick escape. It just seems like these girls were probably wearing a kimono because at the time, that was the fashion and that’s what everyone was wearing. Because they felt that they needed to wear it too, they wore them and because of that, they ended up dying because of how bulky the kimono can be. If they hadn’t let the fashion world get to them, they might not have died because they might have been wearing whatever clothes they felt like wearing. Even though it isn’t one specific person telling us what is fashion and what is not, we still let the fashion world or others around us dictate what is "in" fashion and what is not, and because of that, sometimes it can be harmful.

As I was examining how I was doing for my compact challenge, I realized that not buying clothes for these past five weeks has been very difficult for the above reason. Every time I know I’m going to a special function or what not, I feel the need to buy something new so that I can go to it. I went to a graduation and instead of just wearing an old dress I had, I went out and bought a new one. I’m going on a cruise this summer, and I went out and bought a dress for that too instead of using one I already had. Although I have been working hard at the compact challenge, I realize that, it’s so hard to accomplish because I have let the world around me tell me what to wear for certain things instead of just using my own judgement. However, I do believe that I have been somewhat successful with this challenge. I think that if anything, I’ve learned a lot about what it means to save. Saving doesn’t mean just cutting everything off and never buying anything again. It means, to use my judgement wisely and buy the things that I only REALLY need. Yes, I have failed a couple times and went out and bought a couple new dresses, however I do feel that I have saved a lot more than I would have normally. This is because there have been many times these past few weeks when I wanted to buy something so badly, but I was able to keep myself from buying it because I knew I really didn’t need it. I’ve learned that I really need to stop letting the social world tell me what is acceptable and what is not acceptable to wear. Instead, I just need to use my own judgment and stop going out to buy something new just because a new occasion presents itself. Instead, go through my clothes that I already own and think of something that suits that occasion that won’t require me to buy something new.

Steph Hirsh
[Blog #5]

Kawamura, Yuniya. "Fashion-ology:Fashion as an Institutionalized System." 2005,2006. pages 39-55
Kondo, Dorinne. "The Aesthetics and Politics of Japanese Identity in the Fashion Industry." Class Reader pages 333-337

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