ChicThink is Everybody Is Ugly’s way to bring discussion and provoke thought from Chictopians. The articles will cover complex fashion topics and your comments will add to the idea building, discussing what fashion and what ugly really is.
Should fashion be fun? At first glance the question seems to conjure up the answer, “of course!” but the complexities of fashion say otherwise. Like any other form of expression, art has a multitude of inspirations and emotions. Not all books are easy-reads and not all paintings are scenes of sunshine. The ability to create in fashion varies extremely due to the consumer and conceptual sides of the industry.
Most people will agree that the ideal of fashion being fun and not taken seriously is a cornerstone of any fashion-lover’s guide to life. The ability to be free from societal restrictions through adventurous fashion is amazing and only helps us feel more comfortable in going out of the house in twelve-inch-platform-shoes and massive furry coats. However, this idea doesn’t stand up to the industry which supports it so much. Fashion being fun is an integral part of why people love it so much, but accepting fashion in all it’s forms, fun and not, helps in understanding it as a true form of art and expression.
The fashion world’s affinity for breaking rules and not taking their dress code seriously stems from the traditional ideas passed down from generation to generation. For most of mainstream society, looking presentable, stylish, and even fashionable has less to do with fashion and more to do with tradition. This is the reason why, while most of the world views fashion as either frivolous pink clothing or demeaning elitism, the actual universe of fashion is boundless and holds itself strongly against those stereotypes.
The fashion world explores corners of the world that most of us could never dream of, going against conventionalism and combining art, economy, and technology. So the very industry that should be fun, deserves the merit of having other emotions and characteristics. To be able to take fashion seriously, it must be taken into account that designers like Vivenne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, Ricardo Tisci, Pheobe Philo, Rei Kawakubo and countless others are making important statements not only about the fun of fashion, but the political, technological, spiritual, conceptual and emotional standpoints of it as well.
A strong anti-consumerist, Vivenne Westwood, says, “The thing is, since I always had my own little shop and direct access to the public, I’ve been able to build up a technique without marketing people ever telling me what the public wants.” Her popularizing of punk styles in fashion is a testament of her rebellious nature against conventional beauty forced upon the public by society. Westwood’s frame of thought is refreshing and inspiring through her view of fashion that can be free of frivolity and full of idea. Her fashion IS fun, but there’s still an underlying message that has true importance.
Hussein Chalayan, who is “not really interested in fashion,” creates conceptual beauties that are technologically advanced and (most currently for Spring 2011) very wearable. His creativity and ability to create moving, living dresses illustrates the industry’s advancement toward the future. More impressive and astounding than “fun,” Chalayan’s garments break away from the mold. His egg-vessel for Lady Gaga at last Sunday’s Grammy Awards illustrates his ability to be unconventional and risk-taking, while still being relevant to today’s culture and media.
So is fashion fun? Of course it is, but underneath the fun it’s serious, relaxed, somber, beautiful, angry, and above all, thought provoking. Just because fashion seems to be a lighthearted industry, rejecting the relaxed basics of Alexander Wang and Helmut Lang or conceptual designs of Comme des Garçons or Margiela for the only luxurious fantasy aspects of Gucci or Louis Vuitton limits one’s ability to understand the entire scope of fashion. The designers mentioned in this article are having fun with fashion, and in doing so create messages for technological and ideological advancement. When viewing the collections this month, think about the complexities of the fashion culture behind it. Just remember, don’t be afraid to be the “pink sheep of the family” and have serious fun with fashion.
What do YOU chic think? Discuss in the comments your views on “fun fashion” and the different emotions and facets of the industry. How do you view it, let us know Chictopians!
Everybody Is Ugly
by Iris & Daniel
The title page photo features designs by Alexander McQueen and Hussein Chalayan. The main photo (orange hair) was taken by Nick Knight for Vogue UK, the editorial is called “Unbelievable Fashion.”