sexta-feira, 30 de dezembro de 2011

Fashion. Art or futility? - translation

As i promised you, i translated this text i wrote on the meaning the word fashion has to me. If you find any mistakes in this text please fell free to tell me. In fact it would be a great help because i haven't been writing in english for a long time.

I've been questioning myself about the full meaning of the term fashion as well as the limits of it.

Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garçons
The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English tells us that fashion is the way of dressing and behaving that is considered the best at a certain time; changing custom especially in woman's clothing; a manner, way of doing something; to shape or make something into or out something else. At first sight the term fashion figures out an ephemerous thing, the generalization of a common use on a certain moment in time. This means two things: masses and standardization. When i say masses i mean the generalization of a dressing habit or a behavior throughout a great number of people whithin a comunity (with the globalization that comunity became incredibly huge). And standardization because the majority of people start to look alike. And then there is the mercantile and the consumist side of it, which would confine fashion to futility. And that would be the end of the story. Fashion would include the costumes and the behavior and all the industry of clothing and accessories here. It seems to me the word fashion comprises lifestyle too (the two terms frequently appear linked in).

Alexander McQueen
But then where would we put the works of  great designers such as Alexander McQueen, Yohji Yamamoto, etc? If we watch this video of iconic McQueen works, that does not have to do with fashion the way i first described it. That is artistic piece of work above all. Streetlights made a relevant comment on this issue. He said fashion has almost everything to do with futility but style don't. The word fashion means something that is temporary. McQueen's work as Chalayan's (just to name some contemporary designers) is more than fashion or costumes creation. It is conceptual art thar uses clothes as means of expression.

But then how can we define the borders between art and fashion? In McQueen video for instance, we don't merely watch to conceptual art, that is performing art too, what leads us to a definition problem. Even because these designer's creations appear in fashion weeks, not in conceptual art exhibitions. Although there are designers career retrospectives in museums - McQueen's Savage Beauty at the NY's Metropolitan Museum of Art or Chalayan's 17 years career at the Paris' Musée des Arts Décoratifs - these collections are created to integrate fashion shows.

Vivienne Westwood
Personally, it seems to me that the concept of fashion is extraordinarily wide and has multiple meanings. Usually it refers to ways of dressing and behavior, and to industry and standardization too. But in a wider extent it can reach to the concept of art as well. It is curious to think that even in a tiny scale there are some very creative people that can create an artistic effect (let's call it like that) in their way of dressing up and combining clothes. Sometimes the concept of fashion seems to comprise it's most immediate meaning but it's opposite too, which is an interesting issue. To define fashion the portuguese dictionary includes the expression "fantasy", which for me figures out another way of thinking about this, that as to do with art. And Longman's to shape or make something into or out something else does not necessarily mean art but has an implicit idea of "creation". And these give the term more complexity than most people would like to admit.

I would really like to know your opinion on this subject. Do you disagree? Or would you ad something else? (Streetlights added again a great comment on this post but i didn't translate it because time vanishes and it is a slight issue to translate other people's opinion - hey guys do you want to translate it for us? :) )

2 comentários:

  1. So bad at english, but I'll give it a try ... The viewer decides what is art or not. Consequently, fashion design as art IS art - for those who see it as art. Or somethong like that ...?


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