Thursday, 22 April 2010

Quote of the Month

Under the rubric of modernity, the emphasis given to individualism has become constitutive of all social practices. Fashion is implicated in these practices because it installs in individuals their sense of being located in the present moment. Fashion produces a social logic that informs individuals how to think and organise their everyday life. Even though fashion may seem a frivolity, it is highly significant in the formation of modern consciousness. Some regard fashion as a measure of liberality, reflecting how well people respond to change, and how tolerant they are of difference. Fashion is not just about categorising and ranking material culture; it is also about the manipulation of desire, pleasure and the play of the imagination.

Joanne Finkelstein, 1996, On Fashion, Melbourne: Melbourne University Press (pp 37)

This is a quote I made use of in a recent peer presentation of my work. As far as possible I try to locate my work and practice in the zeitgeist of what is happening now, which is often difficult to explain to others, even those within the field of fashion research. I do not see my work or practice as that of a historian, someone documenting the past, or breathing new life into some forgotten or 'hidden' aspect. I like the notion that Finkelstein expresses here of how fashion is a part of everyday life, not just something brought and looked at only occasionally. Also interesting is the idea that fashion is not only an attempt at categorization, of putting things into boxes, as we are sometimes so apt to do, as in judging people on their aesthetic appearance. Both of these ideas are something that I feel have an affinity with my own way of thinking about fashion, that is not something that is only 'occasional' but inhabits many different aspects of life, and also that fashion is not so easily categorized, or least that this categorization should be questioned and re-assessed.

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