Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What's so funny 'bout unique, new, and individual?

What happened to America's predictable love affair with rebellion? Based on the past timing of reactions against excessive conformity and repression that happened in the 1890s, the 1920's, and then the 1960's & '80s we are due or overdue for a revolution of thought, actions, and style. It's likely that the events of 09/11 and then the the economic collapse of '08 pushed back the "cycle", just as the Second World War delayed it in the 20th century. If that is true, then the next revolution may not occur until the economy improves. Or perhaps the frustration and disappointment with the failure of so many economic and cultural systems will cause it to happen anyway. In either case the longer it is delayed the more far reaching and "violent" it will be when it arrives.
Shauntele Fall '12

When I say "violent" I mean in it's impact on profits and reputations for and of those groups, organizations, and individuals who were perceived as being part of the "problem". When such waves of change have settled down they tend to reveal that they have severely damaged the institutions and individuals that had been leaders just years before. It's important to understand that these revolutions in fashion are caused by more important revolutions in our culture. The sportswear movement that benefited Claire McCardell was a direct result of  the growing independence of women and then their entry into the workforce during the Second World War. Dior's New Look was born of a war weary hunger for a new take on luxury and glamour in a recovering Europe, Halston after the sexual revolution etc... It's equally important to remember that fashion still mostly means women's ready to wear. When we look for cultural changes that will change fashion we must focus on what is happening to and for women.
Tatiana Inglis Fall '12 

What has happened in the past is that a few specific retailers will recognize ahead of all others that there is an untapped hunger for change among their clients. That with a small amount of prompting those customers will passionately embrace and promote fresh and innovative designs and designers. The new styles and the designers that create them then spread like wildfire and the major boutiques and grand stores quickly find themselves in an adapt or die moment. Any brand or store that is tagged as "behind" will rapidly see their sales decline. This has happened so many times in exactly the same way that there is no reason to believe that it will not repeat itself and I believe it will do so soon. So look around, what is happening in the lives of women that will cause them to desire fashions that represent change?
Julianna Bass



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