Friday, March 09, 2012

Art or Foe?

The division between utilizing current accessible fashion as an expression or solely as a necessity

In today’s modern world there is a balance of life that we human beings attempt to manage within our own hierarchy of priorities to satisfy our core values and necessities. On this journey of balance we now find ourselves in a world submerged in an abundance of various social medias and technologies, this revolution of constant communication has changed some consumers ideologies of fashion. Many people find salvage in fashion as a tangible art form that allows them to express themselves on a continual basis; while others view it as a human necessity. This division is prevalent since we are a consuming world, whether or not you make the conscious decision to utilize clothing as an expression or just a textile that keeps you from being nude- you are still a consumer contributing to the fashion industry. The division represents the modern world and its ladder of consumer needs, showcasing that people have the privilege to express themselves freely within their religion, culture, social status, art, personal comfort and financial means. Also technology and social media has allowed people to share their style, fashion needs, and opposing opinions on fashion as art; all publicly. This sort of creative freedom is an opportunity to see behind the consumer dollar and divulge into the innate nature of humans to see any form of “art” in different perspectives.

Fashion as an art merely means that certain people feel an organic passion for expressing themselves through clothing. The act of dressing is not just a daily routine it is a constant discovery of one’s self and inner creative desires. The aesthetic is mesmerizing, allowing people to escape from the definite and day dream within reality. Fashion has no boundaries of self expression because it is something your physical self is adorned in. No matter what your day entails, your clothing is accompanying you for the majority of it - playing a key role in how one is represented in the world. According to Rachel K. Ward in a lecture on March 27 2008 at Cornell Fine Arts Museum, “ The truth is that art may at times resemble fashion and fashion may look like art. “. Whether or not one agrees with that, it is true. Historically and currently fashion is intertwined with many facets of art and the creative world. This places fashion particularly at the high-fashion level, at par with any form of art. Fashion shows are the focal presentation of fashion as art. In Rachel K. Ward’s opinion on Michael Kors as he orchestrates a fashion show for his collection, “…in the fashion world designers give models particular instructions before going out on the runway. Here we see the creation of a fantasy, a mental world associated with the clothing, Kors is activating the presentation of fashion with a particular vision…”. It is clear that designer’s place an artistic direction into their fashion shows and just like any form of art, shows can be misinterpreted by anyone because of their bizarre nature. In the realm of clothing, that is only due to the intense artistic vision designers implement on the runway and is then trickled down to retail level where garments are more wearable. No matter the rank of art that a consumer views fashion to be, “some see clothing as equivalent to the out most layer of themselves and so incorporate them into their life-world with little difficulty…” as stated by John Flügel in The Psychology of Clothes (1950). Flügel perfectly explains how some people utilize fashion as a direct expression of who they are and even a daily expression of art with a natural ease.

On the opposing side of the division, consumers view fashion just as clothing and categorize it as a human necessity. There is valid research done by Abraham Maslow in Motivation and Personality (1987) where he organized Maslow’s human need’s which include, “Physiological, Safety, Social, Esteem, and Self Actualization.”. These human needs display the balance of life that humans are engaged in throughout their lives. Too many individuals clothing as art in this balance just does not take precedence, just as John Flügel states “…others locate clothing within the external environment; clothing is “other” to their sense of themselves.” It does not demean this category of the division it just represents a consumer that truly does not connect with their clothing as a creative outlet or representation of themselves. There is no relationship between the decision of what to wear other than what is socially acceptable for certain activities and the necessity of having to be dressed in public. Maria Alice further researched the correlation between Maslow’s human needs and fashion in her article on Consumer Needs as a Core Aspect within Fashion Product Design. Marie Alice’s theory of, “Interpretation of Clothing and Fashion Needs” in relevance to physiological needs, “is related to the body temperature, Safety is linked to the protections of the body, Social needs fulfill the role of integrating people into group, esteem represents the individual recognition and self actualization needs are related to the worthiness of indulgence.” Many consumers view clothing as a basic necessity that keeps themselves and the ones they love warm and save from the elements. There is simply just a lack of representation of oneself through clothing because they have different personal priorities and passions in their balance of life. Fashion being so representative of society’s perception of beauty that many consumers view on clothing is directly associated with excess, extravagance and gluttony. The fast paced culture of fashion supports these qualities because how can clothing be considered traditional art if it is constantly changing and demanding more rather than being a staple in time like famous canvas paintings. Rachel K. Ward describes this comparison as, “art is normally aligned with meaningful intention and thus meaningful engagement; fashion is generally regarded as momentary and meaningless.” The unattainable nature of the fashion industry a main reason why so many people go through life viewing clothing as just something of comfort and ease, while having other creative outlets as their priorities.

The division of fashion as an art, necessity, or foe will remain a prevalent consideration for our social modern world. We must acknowledge all sides of this division because clothing is a human necessity, and we must continue to support the art of fashion. We are setting a foundation for future generations within our cyber world, how will our fashion be perceived; art or foe?

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