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- Fashion and Identity essay
For hundreds of years people have put some message in the type of clothing they wore. This was the moment when fashion appeared. Nevertheless, it is necessary to say that at the present moment fashion has a deeper influence on the life of people and possess more than just frivolous reasons for its existance. Clothing has become an integral part of self-realization of every person. Clothing is basically a covering designed to be worn on a person's body. This covering is a need, a necessity that is dictated by the norms of social conduct.
It is not about people serving fashion; it is about fashion being a slave of people. The type of clothing completely depends on the person who is wearing it; therefore it becomes a reflection of his perception of himself, which leads us to the term — personal identity. Lately a lot is being heard about personal identity and its meaning in the life of every single person on the planet.
Clothing nowadays is a media of information about the person wearing it [Barnard 21]. It is a cipher; a code that needs a decryption in order to understand what kind of person is underneath it. Therefore, the clothing of a person is a mean of communication with the outside world. Communication by its definition is supposed to be bilateral. So if a person carries a strong personal message to the people outside what is the response from their side?
The response is the reaction on the clothes the person it wearing. It can be acceptance or complete outcast and a misunderstanding. This especially touches extraordinarity in clothing a very expressive personal identity or an obvious lack of taste and vulgarity.
Fashion is compared to art. One of the questions concerning the communication through fashion is whether the message possessed by fashion is the reflection of the internal or external identity.
The message that clothing contains is basically a way of nonverbal communication with gender, ethical and power aspects. Impact on outer perception. Clothes have an immense impact on the perception of people around and on the perception of the person wearing them, too. A suit can make a person feel more confident and organized, which would eventually change even the gestures and the manner of talking of the person or for instance wearing jeans after a suit may change the conduct of a person to a very liberal and feeble one [Hollander 58].
The perception of people around can be very predictable in terms of their reaction on a person wearing this or that style of clothing. Fashion is one of the most powerful means of communication, which sometimes may play a vital role in the life of a person; it especially concerns the cases of getting a desired job. This can be simply proved by analyzing the reaction of the people on the street on people wearing different types of clothing.
This is one of the primary reasons that even the smallest companies make wearing a suit one of their requirements for their employees. So, fashion is a very keen tool of manipulation while communicating besides its importance in social class, culture, sex and gender relations of people.
Men, women and fashion. Clothing is a fundamental part in the image of a contemporary man or a woman [Crane 47]. The image is constructed for various reasons and has various manifestations.
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Dressing has become a way to create, to reveal and to conceal information from the external observers. Fashion has always been considered to have more of a women based orientation. In spite of all arguments fashion remains possessing an ambivalent entity. Women, have a great impact on the development of fashion worldwide.
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Of course one of the primary messages clothes carry is the social message. Women throughout the time have tried to make the clothing look more luxurious. Historically the social message has wildly transformed. Nowadays clothing is not an attribute of belonging to a clan, or to a restrained social level though it still can tell a lot about the financial status of a person.
A person, especially a women is always greeted according to the way is dressed up. Women clothing in the past had a lot to do with emphasizing femininity, neglecting man-like forms of dressing. Women become less ladylike but more aggressive and businesslike. Women have accepted a lot of clothing styles that propagandize masculinity. Equality at work, business and politics has transformed the image of a woman greatly.
Nowadays, identity has brought a lot of specific changes in the perception of a contemporary man.
An open manifestation of sexual orientation has brought the image of a feminine man into fashion. The whole image of a man is not brusque and rough anymore. It has become more flexible and soft.
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Nevertheless, clothing remains the primary criterion of the evaluation of the opposite sex. This happens due to the variety and abundance of women around. This complexity is constantly changing and adjusting to the surrounding of tendencies. It is no surprise to any of the people who at least know what fashion is that the clothes that people wear are usually very symbolic.
The symbolism of clothing is another part of delivering the message that a person tries to put into it.
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The symbolism may touch any sphere. Originally, a symbol is a facility that is used to express feelings or belonging to some group of class often dealing with power and wealth. Every observable symbol may carry a deeper meaning than it is visually understandable. Expression of symbols through clothing is a very popular tendency nowadays.
The perception of symbols is not the same as the perception of the whole clothing image of an individual, because people may interpret the same symbol differently and therefore the understanding of the carrier of the symbol will be completely different. For instance, a man with a tiger on this T-shit may seem aggressive to one person and a Green Peace member for another one. A bird may be a symbol of freedom and somebody can view it a symbol of light-mindedness.
Every person has to be very careful with the symbol while visiting a foreign country, due to the double meaning of the symbols that may be offending to the culture the person is in.
Though the goal of every symbol is to share information, nevertheless some symbols may be inappropriate. Particular articles of clothing also contain messages with give information about the person possessing them. For example a veil interpreted as mourning or an extreme aloofness.
As every person belongs to a definite culture and has the right to reveal it, personal identity may sometimes be replaced by cultural identity. Cultural identity is the type of identity that is related to a certain culture or a separate group. It brings people belonging to a culture definite highlighting differences with other people.
Clothing in terms of culture is to reveal either the historical roots of a person or the roots the group he belongs to. The oriental-followers are easily defined from the crowd by the specific collars and style of dressing they hold on to.
Demonstrating a belonging to a certain cultural community is the free right of every person like people that freely declare who they are going to vote for.
The liberation of culture off the borders made the cultural fashion developments increase dramatically. Wearing a cowboy hat may not be a sign of being from Texas, but a sign of political preference.
For instance it is very easy to distinguish a European from a Hindu by the style of dressing or an Indian woman from an oriental woman by the distinctive spot on the forehead of an Indian woman and a veil worn by Moslem woman.
Fashion has taken the best part of the traditional costumes of every culture and sometimes this leads to propagandizing a definite cultural group. For instance, the brightest example is the increasing interest towards the Moslems and oriental culture nowadays.
Fashion and identity are inseparable companions.
Fashion and Identity essay
Fashion with all its symbolism and attributes form an outstanding base for personal and cultural identification. Identity is a necessary process of a healthy personality as it is a part of self-realization of a person that is so much required for finding a place in life of every person. Fashion has become a tool for achieving harmony with the inner world and a way of revealing or concealing peculiarities. Fashion possesses a specific meaning and the more diverse is the society around us the more fashion-trend will appear and surprise us.
As long as it does not hurt people around fashion symbols are acceptable, nevertheless while thinking about fashion and identity it is necessary to remember the ethical side of the issue. Fashion and identity through it still remains a twofold issue but there are a lot of positive aspects one can enjoy and share with other people.