Sunday, June 7, 2009

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.
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

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