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Fashion and the Media

2009 January 25
by DC

Hello everyone! My name is Anna Dela Cruz, although I prefer to be called DC. I’m a junior biology major with a deep interest in art and fashion. Why biology? I ask that question everyday. Why art and fashion? Well, I could ramble on and on, but since I’m pressed for time, I’ll make my explanation relatively short.

In the movie, the Devil Wears Prada, Stanley Tucci’s character, Nigel, explains the glory of fashion quite eloquently. To him, fashion is not just art. In fact, fashion transcends art because we live in it everyday. The clothes on our backs were a result of designers with vision and inspiration no matter what label we wear. To me, there’s just something about getting up everyday and deciding what to wear. There’s an adrenaline rush when I get an epiphany for a combination when class begins in 10 minutes. My latest inspiration was a skinny ink tinted jeans, scuffed dark brown leather riding boots, oversized white sweater with cap sleeves, and a long beaded necklace ensemble that spoke SoHo chic. The look is completed by tousled hair…just by the way. Although some may not find fashion interesting (some may even find it shallow), I tend to think of it as performance art. Everyday I can portray a different persona. One day I’m a SoHo bohemian who looks like she doesn’t follow fashion trends yet is still aware of them, the next I’m rocker chic with a black leather motorcycle jacket, black skinny pants, gray cotton tank with embroidered jewels, and black leather peep toe pumps.

In relation to this class, I find that the fashion industry is very engrossed in gender and technology. Everytime I use a curling iron or whenever my colorist bleaches my hair and then applies dye, I am using technology to become outwardly pretty, and often times, to become what the fashion industry deems as feminine and beautiful. Fashion magazines such as Vogue and Bazaar, television, movies, and even runway podcasts that I download to my iPod are examples of technology advancing the visions of the powerhouses of fashion. And although I love fashion, I have to admit that both the fashion industry and the media have had, in some instances, a negative impact on our culture. To have the power to determine what is beautiful and what is not is a great responsibility. Right now, thin is in. Karl Lagerfeld, head designer of Chanel, Fendi, and Karl Lagerfeld, once said that the models are not anorexic but that his clothes are. He is a man obsessed with being thin. He even wrote a diet book to promote his Karl Lagerfeld diet. He may be considered a fashion genius, but he disgusts me with his refusal to acknowledge the growing health crisis in the industry and the ramifications both to the physical and emotional well-being of women when “thin is in” seems to be its mantra. Models have even died from starvation in their quest to stay thin to stay employed. I find it unsettling that the fashion industry, with the help of the media, has the power to perpetuate and promote an unhealthy lifestyle and a skewed image of what is beautiful. To divorce myself from the examples the fashion industry and technology have negatively impacted our cluture, I hope to explore ways in which feminine beauty has been portrayed positively in the media.

3 Responses
  1. Simran Singh permalink
    January 26, 2009

    I find it interesting that you brought up fashion and its relation gender and technology. (I feel the same way!) I also have a strong interest in fashion. I believe it is an evolving art form, attributed to the vision’s of designers, changing technologies that influence style, trends, fabrics, and the figure of a woman. I also agree that it is unsettling to see how ‘thin is in’. With that said, I just read an article in December Vogue that discussed a concept called “cryotherapy”. Cryotherapy is the “latest insider health-fitness-and-beauty craze,” where woman spend three minutes in a chamber chilled by liquid nitrogen. (It is -275 degrees Fahrenheit – colder than the top of Mount Everest and the lowest recorded temperature in Antarctica.) The cryotherapy chamber “rejuvenates skin and diminishes cellulite,” among other things. It sounds crazy to think that this sort of technology can actually be created, let alone used by woman to perfect their bodies. Frankly, I find it sort of a shame.

  2. Ryan permalink
    January 28, 2009

    Speaking of fashion, gender, technology and the media, take a look at this:

    Interesting how if a woman wore these, she would be “slightly slutty” … but when a man wears them it’s an “artistic statement.”

  3. Anne permalink*
    February 6, 2009

    I picked up on your notion of the “transcendent quality of fashion” in Style and Sense: Acquiring Literacy. Go see (and tell us all what you think!)

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