Sunday, May 10, 2009

Where IS Waldo

And so goes this second week of the compact challenge, in which we simultaneously battle and spread the word of corporate greed via the fashion industry. My current progress: Great! The only textile I bought this week was a gift for my mom-for Mothers day of course. But it was the exact time I was checking out when I thought of this challenge. It was as if the clouds parted and a ray of rationale came down on me; there was a direct correlation here between the item, class and readings. This week’s focus was culture and identity, and how it is created and recreated through the use of fashion. So, the question that came to my mind was, “What does this Snuggie say about me? How does this clothing speak to the world about who and what I am?” Granted, a hilarious Snuggie is far from anything that can be considered contemporary or normal clothing, but in its own kitsch sense, it is fashion; and it does say something about the person either giving or receiving such a gift.
In Sharon Kinsella’s article, “Cuties in Japan,” the issue of creating and maintaining a sense of ‘cute’ or kawaii self is emphasized. In this arena, street clothing has a bubble up and trickle across affect which puts the people wearing the clothes in control of what is considered fashion. Kinsella reinforces the notion that many social psychologists teach when we discuss the maintenance of an idealized self. Fashion and clothing is a huge part of who we want others to perceive us. So, perhaps just like the youth in Japan, I wanted to relay my mom with a sense of humor and comfort with that godawful-looking snuggie.
Homa Hoodfar continues this discussion of self portrayal in her article, “More Than Clothing: Veiling as an Adaptive Strategy.” Generally speaking, the veil has been used throughout history as a form of masculine and senior family control of power. But through her active discussion, Hoodfar shows the reader that the veil and women can both be used as a mechanism for redefining the contemporary sociopolitical issues of today. This article relates to the previous piece by Kinsella by showcasing the idea that a person or group can control and/or fabricate their realities through what they choose to wear. In either case, being ‘cute’ or covered up is a choice one chooses to make, which then defines how they want to be seen in the social realm.
This compact challenge makes on question all the clothing purchases he/she makes. What was I thinking when I bought that Snuggie for my mom. Yes, I wanted it to be a joke, but I have tried one on and they are in fact comfortable. What a predicament; humor and function being said about the same textile. But all of this goes without saying that I could have most definitely made a Snuggie out of different used fabrics (that is, if I knew how to sew). Maybe that will be a final project of sorts. Oh yeah, it would definitely be funny and comfy; but would it be cute? That remains to be seen.

Michael Silvernail
Blog #2

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