Historically, the United States and the small group of anglo saxon white scholars have depicted anything outside of American or Western European standard as deviant or unusual. We see this on many different levels, from language, to culture to dress. If anyone or anything deviates from white, Anglo culture it is seen as deviant and foreign. There becomes this negative spin/ bias that is attached with non anglo white culture language, style and or dress. Even in the context of retelling history we see this trend and the way that American written history books hide the stories of the defeated or the foreign culture. We hear nothing about the Native American perspective of the European takeover, nor do we hear much about the Asian immigrant assistance on the building of the American railroads or on the sugar plantations of Hawaii.When it comes to the depiction of dress and fasion, we see the same exact sort of bias and perspective held by the West toward other cultures such as Chinese culture. Asian culture in regards to fasion is continously deemed in the biased spectacle of the fashion world as overly exotic and traditional. But we can see that if a closer look is taken, overcoming the biased view of the fasion system, Asian culture is anything but boring, and overly traditional. This Orientalist perspective by metanarrative culture is of course excessive. "Fashion cities" described by Yuniya Kawamura in "Fasion-ology" like Milan and Paris become the foundation for the fashion system which sets forth standards and norms of what's "in" and "out". We see that the very colonial powers of the past now control the fasion industry: France, UK, United States, where as the countires being colonized are the ones producing the clothing and constantly being put in the frame of being out of the picture by means of fashion.
Even those of us who aren't educated about the fashion system and hot fashion designers, we will all eventually stumble across these images. Saturday Night Live did a funny sketch with Will Ferrell and Jimmy Fallon mocking this contemporary fashion system, making reference to "Milan" and "Dolce Gabbana". This is probably one of my favorite skits. please watch and enjoy!
Readings:Niessen, Sandra and Ann Marie Leshkowich and Carla Jones Eds. 2003. Re-Orienting Fasion: The Globalization of Asian Dess. New York City: Berg Publishers. Kawamura, Yuniya. 2005. Fashion-ology: An Introduction to Fashion Studies. New York: Berg Publishers
Kawamura, Yuniya. 2005. Fashion-ology: An Introduction to Fasion Studies. New York: Berg Publishers.