Is Fashion really fascism?

Vashdaman

Za Warudo
For a long time I thought that in the best case scenario fashion was just another medium of self expression, and I still kind of think it is, or at least can be, but even when it is, maybe that's even more dangerous? More and more I'm realizing that as a medium that entirely hinges on the exterior aesthetic, I feel it puts those who end up enjoying and caring about it at huge risk of investing and reading too much into what is ultimately the superficial. To clarify my opening sentence: it's probably not so hard to imagine why the trend obsessing type of fashion might be considered fascist, you're not cool or beautiful if you don't have the latest in trend look,; but maybe those type of people might at least understand, due to the transience of the trends they covet, that at the end of day, it's all just fickle superficial nonesense, it's all meaningless fluff that's good for a laugh at best. Whereas, perhaps the less on-trend but deeply passionate "my clothes are who I am" type of person is perhaps at an even greater risk then the trend hopper of judging people based on their aesthetic sensibilities or lack thereof, which is a state of affairs I consider inexpressibly tragic. But to me it seems that both the former and latter interest in superficiality run a huge risk of leading to that woeful state. So my question is this: Is is possible to realistically have an passion for fashion without increasing these fascistic tendencies? And not just fashion, but should we as a society not try and demote aestheticism in general to the low status it deserves? For example, I don't know how people enjoy reading the Pillow Book, or bleat on about the elegance of Heian Court society; to me that was a world every bit as fascist as the one Hitler strived for, you can just replace the wrong religion/skin colour with bad calligraphy/wrong colour kimono.

You can tell I'm someone experiencing a dismorphia induced mental breakdown for sure, but am I not slightly on to something here? I feel like I've just cracked the Divinchi code.
 
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Smeelia

Thousand Master
I think it's something of an unreasonable assumption to suggest that Fashion is "superficial nonsense" and "meaningless fluff". I'd expect it's something that is genuinely important to some and I don't think it's fair to suggest that they're wrong to feel that way.

The issue of people judging others based on a single factor isn't limited to Fashion but it's also not an inherent side effect of Fashion. If Fashion didn't exist then it'd be one less thing people could judge each other on but it wouldn't really be addressing the actual issue. It would also mean needlessly taking away something that many people care about. Far better to address the issue directly while allowing people to keep their passions.

While it might be appealing to try and remove potential sources of conflict and disagreement in order to promote a more understanding and happy society, the reality is that you'd most likely just end up causing conflict by taking away things that people do care about. Even if you were to somehow do so without conflict, you'd only end up with very simple and uninteresting people who are alive and free of conflict but have nothing else to them. Some would argue that'd be worse than death.
 

Vashdaman

Za Warudo
It is indeed genuinely important to some, and while I don't want to say they're wrong, I do think those people are genuinely are at a higher risk of falling victim to the facism of aestheticism. To bring up my example of the Heian Court again; those were people to whom fashion was import, and it got so important that you would get banished for wearing a mismatched colour layer of Kimono! But it's just human nature, we've all surely experienced making a real effort on some occasion, and then seeing someone who hasn't and thought snobbishly "I can't believe he's wearing those shoes! not like my shiny showerman ones". I can imagine for a fashion person it must like 100 times harder to resist those feelings.

But I think it's ok for fashion or beauty to be important to you, if you can recognise it's inherent superficiality, because it surely is isn't it? You are right that people use anything available as a measure to judge people with, but I think fashion is among the most immediate and the most shallow. It's pure window dressing. An ominous system of visual signifiers with which to easly (and lazily) categorise someone. Instead of talking to John and finding out what he's really like, thanks to fashion all you have to do is run your eyes over him. If fashion is important to you, but you don't recognise it's essential meaninglessness, you surely will fall victim to that system.

Fashion is so very rarely moving or emotive, in fact, the best thing I've ever felt from an outfit is laughter, that's why I said at best it's a laugh. But I don't mean I'm laughing at the wearer. I think wearing funny clothes is brilliant, and get's the most out of clothing. That's why I wear T shirts of the Cookie Monster or Parappa the Rapper. It makes me laugh, and hope (know, I get heckled all the time!) it's makes others also laugh.

With all that said, even though it doesn't emotionally move me, I do enjoy seeing the variety of outfits people wear, and especially the variety that fashion people wear I suppose. I think variety is one of the most beautiful things is life. But all too often, very often in fact, I've heard fashion people claim that they can tell what type of person someone is by looking at how they dress. At that point, any goodwill their sometimes outlandish sense of fashion engendered in me goes out the window, and I can't help but think it does more harm than good.
 
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Vashdaman

Za Warudo
Was doing some reading on the ganguro and yamanba "black face" girls of the late 90s early 00s, yeah they are fully wicked. Silently commenting on and rejecting the male created institutionalised imaginary ethnic and sexual ideals of Japanese femininity. A proper eff you to middle class Japanese status quo. So I guess their fashion wasn't meaningless fluff. The book I was reading was suggesting that pretty much all the Japanese street fashion movements have all appropriated and twisted male conceptions of girlhood into their own forms of unspoken rebellion. For me the ganguro girls are the peak of Japanese rebellious style though, because they seemed to make their point so violently and unmistakably. However they were still victims of the importance that society places on appearances , since they treated with disgust and disdain by the Japanese media (outside of gyaru mags that catered to them) and most of their high school peers. Why is it that young people such as these are capable of communicating such complex and powerful sentiments only almost exclusively through non verbal fashion. Does fashion allow for a sort of collective unconscious form of rebellion that can't be articulated?
 

Smeelia

Thousand Master
I think Fashion is basically a medium, in the same way as things like painting, film, books and so on. As with any medium, it's open to interpretation so people won't always get the same message and won't always understand the intent (for better or worse).

Complaints against a particular medium or a use of that medium are pretty common really, I don't think Fashion suffers from it significantly more than anything else.

I suppose there's a slight complicating factor in that people generally have a physical appearance but not everyone uses it for Fashion. There's also the usual factor of any medium where different "genres" (I'm not sure that's the right word in this case) can exist that don't necessarily follow the same rules or have the same standards (plus there's the subjective factor too).

While appearance based conflicts are a problem, it's also a basic opportunity for people to learn the lesson that others may see the world differently and that the actions of others won't always be based on the same standards and intent as their own. I'm often surprised at just how many people seem to be unable to understand such a basic concept (though perhaps that speaks to the truth of it, in a way).
 

Vashdaman

Za Warudo
Yeah I'd now agree. But I'm still interested in what allows fashion and style to comment on and covey social sentiments that wearers aren't necessarily able to articulate. I suppose it's quite a unique medium in that regard?

However, I'm still very much against applying aesthetic standards to anyone other than yourself; making assumptions about personality based on fashion; and and I maintain that the cult of beauty is fascistic. If you can love fashion and be against that **** then it's all good.
 

HellCat

Stand User
I can appreciate fashion as an art form. The right model and the right cut of dress/suit can be impressive. The need to actually wear expensive labels? Not so much. Similar to why I hate the Turner Prize, which seems less about encouraging art and more about pretentious constructs a self elected elite can sneer they get and you don't.

The best art is open to all to offer perception.
 

Jinjer

Completely Average High School Student
fashion is simply putting on clothes to achieve some sort of aesthetic

but, like so many things, people have been using it as a means of control for quite some time now
 
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