On Getting Dressed

As we get dressed each morning we are not only covering our bodies; we are making a concious decision about who we are going to be that day. Putting an outfit together can be likened to creating a remix of sorts. Taking items from different designers and times, we are creating our own mash-up and our own message, not that of the designer or in other terms, the ‘producer’. Whilst designers and stores may have intended items be worn by certain people or in certain ways, as consumers we can intercept this conversation and start a new one. Fashion is a practice of human creativity that ‘…signifies the intervention of a dominating human mind.’ (Finkelstein p.5) that is to say it has been occurring since man realised he was naked.

Such an intervention signifies that through fashion we have choice if we have something to say, and how we choose to say it. The evolution of style is built not only on what came before it but what the mass wants, and what they are trying to say, as ‘fashion is a way of telling the time.’ (Finkelstein p.27) The process of getting dressed every morning can be seen as a form of a Remix. Like traditional Remix theory suggests, Remix and fashion are fuelled by technology and blur the lines between author and reader, or in this case designer and wearer. The evolution of style, like the remix practice, is reliant on what came before it, as ‘…reflection of history comes through constant interpretation…’ (Navas p.6) It is not only an interpretation of history which bares relevance in fashion, but also a mass produced interpretation of a haute couture design which as a form of remix takes an idea and makes it accessible.

For Konig this is a case of the ‘losers in a competition become more like the winners’ (Konig p.116) Which means that a particular item, or even a style can become adopted by the mass and we can all participate in it which leads to the remix, and our adaptation of it and as a result trends become ‘permanently established.’ (Konig p.180) because they are consumed by the everyday and we consistently return to them and rely on them. This means that we too can ‘become fashion’ (Yurchisin & Johnson p.1) regardless of our class, as we do not may not state the designers we are wearing but they may be recognised by others (Weiss p.108) and thus the remix cycle continues. Our style becomes a cultural exchange as ‘…-a garment- is caught up in webs of multiple temporalities.’ (Corrigan p.71) This means that by wearing a certain garment we are saying certain things. It also means we can place a garment in a conversation the designer may not have intended and as a result of this create a new product and dialogue. It is within this act of remix we see the idea of the power shift as previously mentioned (Collins p.93) As by participating in this activity he ‘seized these symbols that were loaded with top-down meaning from the world of haute couture and essentially used them to create something new, from the bottom up’ (Walker p.86) This movement is only fuelled further by technology and as mentioned before, Blogs.

The Fashion Blogger like other media has become a forum for fashion remix and conversation (Finkelstein p.101) Weiss’ discussion of file sharing can be applied to the uploading, discussion and emulation of a designer’s collection as ‘their participation is driven by loyalty and enthusiasm for the artist whose bootlegs they share, rather than by a desire to harm them.’ (Weiss p.33). In our current climate ‘society if fluid’ (Konig p. 166) we are not bound by class and even geography bears little relevance and as a result our choice is greater. When we sort through the information that is being shown to us we associate it with the individual and as a result ‘satisfying notions of self-identity are constructed in the process.’ (Collins p.91) We display these notions through what we choose to wear on a daily basis. That is by accessing our closets each morning we are reaching in to a cultural archive and deciding what conversation we are going to participate in that day. Finkelstein states that clothing can either emulate one’s true self, or allow us to act as a character to promote a chose image (Finkelstein p.25) By placing certain pieces of clothing together one can be likened to a DJ creating a mega-mix. Weiss describes the megamix as a composition that ‘relies strictly on sampling brief sections of song.’ (Weiss p.165)

So when one gets dressed in the morning by selecting various clothes from various designers we are creating our very own megamix. This element of choice, especially when debating whether to participate in a trend‘…is associated with competition with and distinction from the others…’ (Konig p.182) and once again tells society who we are and how we are feeling on any given day. This is related to the ‘additive and accumulative’ (Weiss p.9) process discussed earlier as our selective choice in our outfit provides the same cultural conversation of more readily accepted forms of remix as explained previously. Fashion allows us to take ideas from history, and even our current time and reinterpret them. By choosing to accept or reject notions of culture and more specifically fashion we are engaging in a particular conversation. This process which is fuelled by technology, permits us to reassess our notions of what it means to be a producer and what we are saying every day when we get dressed.

Tash

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