Sunday, March 7, 2010

My Fashion Cents

After reading Kawamura's conclusion of Fashion-ology, I can see how fashion has evolved from the French system's upper class avant-garde to worldwide new designers and street fashion, which has created a whole new fashion culture. Now anything can become fashion, and the French rules of Fashion are becoming less and less relevant with the development of youth culture.

However, while Fashion-ology claims that there is a change in fashion happening, which there is, we still turn to the French regime when we make our judgments and decisions about what is "fashion".

Here's a homeless man in China who was snapped on the street, and has risen to international Internet fame for his "homeless chic" fashion sense. His nickname is "Brother Sharp", and since as few as two pictures of him came out, he's been deemed sexy, fashionable, and "homeless chic".

Something about the fashion term "homeless chic" describing Brother Sharp bothers me. Isn't this politically incorrect? The "outsiders" of our tightly knit structured society are again being treated like they are less than human. There's a reason why the headlines about Brother Sharp commonly read: "Homeless Chinese Man Becomes Fashion Icon". The body and economic status becomes as much a part, if not more important, than what he's wearing. This whole situation of Brother Sharp--the fact people are fascinated by a homeless man being fashionable--reinforces the fact that fashion is considered belonging only to elites and upperclass. That fashion--which is art, creativity, personality, and culture sewn and stitched into garment--doesn't belong to everyone. Are we feeding into this "higher power", elitist fashion regime? And what is more important in this situation: the clothes or the fact that the clothes are on Brother Sharp, a homeless man? Why are we interested in this news? Why don't we all just go to the ghettos and find someone to dehumanize in a photo or two? Snap snap, you're famous, snap snap we ate you up and now we're spitting you out. Time to find the next creature who fascinates us.

The "homeless chic" trend has been seen recently in Vivienne Westwood's runway show, and worn by celebrities such as Mary Kate Olsen and Nicole Richie. While surface level-wise, we can analyze how fashion has appropriated looks from the streets, has it really changed? I don't think it has yet, as we still place our judgments on what is "fashion" and what isn't "fashion", according to the French regime.

It's Week 10 of school, which means paper-crunch-time, working on presentations, rushing to figure out graduation shiznit, figuring out what to do about the class that I haven't been to in weeks, fix in friend time so I don't lose my sanity, and maybe do my laundry? We'll see. So as for the Compact Challenge, I definitely haven't gone shopping or gone out much. I'm waiting for Spring Break to indulge myself in some heart to cloth at the malls.

Amethyst Wang
Blog post 10

Fashion-ology, "Conclusion"
Jezebel (you should read this!)
Brother Sharp photos:,