Thursday, March 20, 2014

B Morita Blog #2

So as to avoid flooding with several haphazard blogs I feel that I could better phrase my experiences as a reflective look back at the knowledge gained this past quarter. Coming into this class I had no Idea of what to expect as my knowledge was very limited to the various cultural backgrounds. Being largely unaware of he various styles of ethnic clothing or the significance in the history behind them I found a lot of the information refreshing. The building of the context and history that is imbued into the various styles of fashion, was enlightening as I found myself becoming less Oriental in my understanding. Much of my knowledge base has been skewed due to growing up in the US, and my perception of the various ethnic wear had very little meaning to me besides just dressing up. From the struggles encountered by the Hmong to keep their history through embroidery or the struggle to preserve the Vietnamese traditional Ao Dai, I found myself examining the use and wear of these clothes in a vastly different light.

In learning of the process behind fashion as well I found myself enamored in learning of the various aspects that go into the trends and their effect on society. I did not think much about the difficulty to make it in the fashion industry as I am not one to be very fashion conscious and about the only brands that I was really aware of were the limited selection from which I would purchase. My initial thoughts before taking this class were that the strong popularity of Asian designs and styles was indicative of a strong Asian presence in the fashion industry. This however was not the case as learning about the exclusive nature behind the fashion industry made it difficult to be successful in a industry largely dominated by white choices. This like many other aspects of American living will require time for influences in the APIA community to be able to make it into positions of authority. I doubt that the US will ever get to the status of Japanese fashion where trends are created in that form of free style through personal expression. I do however like seeing that not all trends in the US are trickle down and that some fashion movements have worked their way to the top from the streets.

Moving onto the topic of social implication for the various ethnic styles as well as the psychological interpretation that takes place from observing who is wearing what clothing I found the topics to be unexpectedly complex. It is simple enough to understand that what you wear is in a way a reflection of your character, beliefs, and personal style. However going beneath the superficial to examine aspects of dress, such as how the impression of the clothing changes when the person wearing the clothing is of a different ethnicity was insightful. Concepts such as Orientalism, Asian-Chic, and Indo-Chic were things that I had seen all along but never critically thought about. The simple fact that difference in ethnicity can change the mood expressed by the clothing was new to me. I had never considered why people like Madonna or Gwen Stefani garnered so much attention when wearing "Oriental" styles.

Overall this class has opened up dialogues that previously I wouldn't have acknowledged let alone recognize and I feel that what I have learned has become a valuable asset. I will likely continue to be casual as far as my own fashion sense is concerned, but my ability to break down aspects of what I see has greatly expanded. Thank you for the tutelage and I hope to be able to put these contextual filters to good use in my coming years.

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