Sunday, June 7, 2009

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

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