Sunday, January 10, 2010

From Apathy to Designer Jeans

As I was reading “A Chronicle of Changing Clothes” by Eileen Chang, I came across this quote:
Quick alterations in style do not necessarily indicate mental fluidity or a readiness to adopt new ideas. On the contrary. They may reveal instead a generalized apathy, for frustration in other fields may lead to the forced flow of intellectual and artistic energy into the domain of fashion. In a time of political chaos, people [are] powerless to improve the external conditions governing their lives. But they could create the environment immediately surrounding them, that is, their clothes (435).
Indeed, while this quote was originally meant for changes in Chinese fashion, the quote can also be applied to the changing fashion trends of today. With the ongoing political issues that affect the population, from the health care debate to the war in the Middle East to the H1N1 hysteria, Americans are becoming increasingly overwhelmed, not just by the issues in the United States, but also the issues occurring in their respective countries. The plethora of political and social concerns that invade our news stations constantly ramble about leads many to become increasingly apathetic towards these problems and because of this apathy, many are looking for new areas to exert their time and energy - from art, to music, to fashion. I mean just look at how many tickets the movie Avatar sold in the box office and compare that to the ratings that local news stations got for showing the recent State of the State Address by Arnold Swarchenegger.

Thus, this “intellectual flow of energy” has shifted towards the fashion industry, where, instead of walking on a college campus and seeing mass protests for social issues of the present, you see students walking around with their designer jeans without a care in the world. Indeed, in the face of a recession, you can look into any number of Davis students’ closets and see a wide variety of designer jeans ranging from $80-200 a pop. According to an article by Jennifer Fong, “There was an explosion of denim brands that came especially from the United States [...] Celebrities drove the popularity of brands such as True Religion, Rock and Republic, and Seven for All Mankind before stylish A-listers such as Justin Timberlake and Victoria Beckham began designing their own denim lines.” As a result, this past decade has seen a rise not only in designer jeans, but other forms of readily available designer clothing. As the internet has become a more readily accessible device for viewing current fashion trends of the season, more people are finding interest in tomorrow’s outfit rather than tomorrow’s next political mishap.

Jo Anne Lasola
Post #2

Chang, Eileen. “A Chronicle of Changing Clothes.” Class Reader.

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