I started to write on/warn on appropriation censorship callouts and against the virtue posturing of what is now referred to as social justice warriors years ago. case in point, these HP articles, one i wrote in January of 2015 My Hoodie and the other, Disclaimerland & Validation Via Virtue written in July of 2015.
The following are my comments on various chat threads. Links & article titles are provided. It is worth noting the first post, as I copied this from my personal archive, the comment itself having been censored and deleted by Business of Fashion.
title: We Need To Move On From Cultural Appropriation
REMOVED/CENSORED COMMENT. ORIGINAL POST DATE 9/22
Utopia – sci fi, fairy tales, religious folklore, often that lost realm… it’s a wishful concept poets, sociologists and philosophers and preachers utilize….
The free market, what the fashion industry is reliant upon, lets each consumer, down to every last quick-clicking social media addict, speak in a way that can and ultimately will make or break every last design/fashion venture. the rest of it is noise, part n parcel of our viralized times.
Beyond that, i will posit once again that this tide of ownership-with-restitution-and-control rights is in actuality a form of censorship, not as much new as it is newly memed and trended, in keeping with larger cultural movements.
I as also a creative contributor believe in my right to tap inspiration unfettered, leaving everyone to free choose their own response, and I support this right for all creative contributors.
there is emergence of what I am calling “intellectual appropriation.” teachers and institutions of learning should take notice as, like cultural elements/tangibles, ownership of any concept or knowledge/learning or presentation thereof is being challenged and subject to ownership/legacy control so as to be legitimatized or at least not derogatorily labeled
The problem lies when lines are drawn by some on the abstract, with concrete ramifications demanded from the whole – where does it end?
I believe organic and positive diversity growth and industry evolution can continue without the appropriation constraints it currently faces
Title: Why Fashion Needs Cultural Appropriation
re-skewing inspiration as appropriation, and then laying claim to sources and holding them beholden to their originators, is holding creativity and its expression hostage.
Dsquared2, from free people festival wear hoopla to valentino’s much higher $$ counterparts, marc jacobs’ rasta-wigged models – it’s some of the most visually exciting stuff out there.
what am i “supposed to wear”…..?! is that the Q we must now bow to?
that this tapping into cultural markers *could be* (of course it is in any biz) with a profit motive makes no difference, as without its incentive or its reward (which is how word gets out, how image/expression is shared, how collective viewpoints explore and move forward together – aka evolve), it’s little more than personal whim.
this has been a fave fashion topic of mine as arts and free speech advocate. bravo on this op ed supporting inspiration as a 360-degree, time-bridging source, and its subsequent expression.
Title: What You Don’t Know About American Millenials
My response to a mill’s comment:
do Mills get that philanthropic & global/eco-friendly marketing is still marketing? the pink ribbon, for instance, is as much an $$$ icon as are golden arches. break it down.
re-use and living with less, especially if devoid of status-marking logos and labels, is the only real consumerist evolution left to any of us. problem is, it flies in the face of free market society
The smug assumptions (first this, first that- puleez) and broadcasting thereof are typically millennial. That they don’t get it I understand – these young consumers, I call them the Trend Gen for it is their consumption that defines them – were raised on pedestals, and they are not entirely at fault for their self-absorption, nor for their incessant self-lauding press, for they know only their reality via the limitlessness clicks of the internet and its addictive offspring, social media.
What I don’t get is the supply-side obsession with the Trend Gen. Aside from the fact that they provide all their own advertising – a free 24/7 promo machine – their starter incomes, financial dependency (from family plans, handout subsidies so that the designer bags can yet be nabbed + extended shared housing), & eventual reality of offspring cost-bearing, the Mills, the Trend Gen, is sooo not the demographic to target with such exclusivity.
I for one am ready to puke for all the millennial press & promo devotion, in part because i know of the spending power of several older named generations, who are tech-assimilated (aka global consumers), financially actualized (olde worlde work ethic – yes!), and “young” far longer than their/our predecessors – now, and going forward for quite some time to come. There are Key consumer demographics being virtually ignored, to the broad spectrum demise of institutions, industries and businesses everywhere
Title: When Will Off-Price Hit Saturation Point?
where does purported decline meet with a demographic shift founded on the unfortunate realities of massive growth of these 2 groups?
1) the pre tech population, living longer and now also more often alone
2) the diminishing income working class (labor & service)
does the notion of deal seekers vs deal needers possess enough potential to be seen as solid business model? yes, but as sociologically reflective, it’s an ever downward spiral
the middle>upper (income/education) shopping demographic will have been the greatest shifters to internet commerce, while the middle>lower will continue to opt for the live shopping experience for these reasons:
1) they are in search of the “good” or “best” deal (perception and/or fiscally justified), which continues to rely on traditional advertising (non social media/buzz-based), which is an industry that also must feed itself
2) they are in search of the momentary prestige experience when one plays the paying client role (higher $, savvier shoppers remain those who don’t seek the ego boost at POP = the deal seekers i.e. those 1st gen/former TJMaxx shoppers)
3) they travel to shop (as opposed to cultural or leisure focus) and still view the acquisition of “things n stuff” as a first-choice, leisure-time activity. demographic here parallels internet shift
(but then we have i.e. the mall of dubai, which is rich, sociological fodder all over again….)
imo the pre-tech demographic and the diminishing income working class are growing quickly enough to justify need/growth for outlet/”discount” shopping destinations. the biggest disconnect however, is basic branding. there occurs a point when some past-season designer label ceases to have any meaning to the targeted shopper. but that solution was put in place years ago with designer-style labels (i.e. TJMaxx) launched just for a given discount store. full circle, imo, as we are right back to a basic retail model. additionally, as each previous generation of shoppers “catches on,” then leaves, a void remains in need of filling with ever lower-tier demographics. hence that spiral….
decades (worlds ago) in the midwest, i shopped at a jones new york outlet store, at an outlet mall that is now an office complex, where the manager proudly told me how the governor’s wife made seasonal trips to the store to shop. pre-net, pre-swoosh, pre-knock-off boom, there was a middle class fashion past that allowed for today’s big box/everyday brands to be viewed as more exclusive…
there was a time when a large segment of shoppers lusted for Liz, not Louis.
Title: Why Fashion Will Learn to Love Melania Trump
i didn’t vote for trump – i was a reluctant hillary voter. my reasons are too nuanced to post as a quip. but i will say it helps to break things down to ground level sociology + history
as we are talking fashion and looks i will comment on these:
on Melania: the immigrant (hmm people), wife, mother, she was and is there by choice. that she has paired up with trump is not a new wedded/procreative strategy.
melania did not just wear red – she sported suffragette white alongside the most progressive pundit gals out there – and did it well. she is an elegant runway model type in a society that (in upside down fashion) currently tends to cut down the traditionally beautiful/svelte/well dressed, while doing quite the opposite for others. the american presidential campaign is a high stakes contest where every last detail is calculated (by prof experts no less), so the messages and intents of her looks was never by accident.
hillary too wore white on the night of her nomination.
imo mrs clinton could’ve used a better stylist/advisor as the harsh cut/tight necklines of her monochrome suits were not a best choice and she made the all too common mistake of growing her long, which was thankfully later cut and styled.
we say looks don’t matter ad nauseam these days, but they do. as regards the contest for the white house, since JFK, they count there too. how this reality affected hillary, good or bad, and how it served the trumps (even that ombre combover, and how melania may have been a physical counterbalance to her husband) is fodder for lively discussion!
Title: Athleisure’s Winners and Losers
my comments come from a midwest american perch, which, while not traditionally seen as desirable or up to date as either coast, is ever more relevant (thanks to the internet for info and sourcing/shopping) as a consumer demographic, as it encompasses a mid-price range mega group:
in theory, athleisure represents health and wellness as a style paradigm that still acknowledges good health/physique as a desirable and aesthetically pleasing manifestation of self. i am glad of this from both a fashion and sociological standpoint, as it creates a very interesting juxtaposition to the mass accommodation of our national/rising global obesity epidemics. as for dressing up for fitness pursuit, i have written on the great irony of fashion infiltration into the activities, i.e. yoga, as in these experiences the setting aside of appearance could have (should have?) remained part of the experience (my HP “yoganista or yoga slouch” piece)
in practice, athleisure amounts too often to TMI, when bodies ill suited for this level of exposure are seen in, for instance, black leggings and short tops/jackets 24/7. in actuality, these garments amount to a flexible wasteband/garment that simply allows for expansion, a la velour track suits and other form-hiding “comfy” garb.
athleisure has its place, but i will be happy if and when constructed, non-stretch garments come back into their own as casual wear. while fab fashion abounds for casual day wear – we are in a great, expressive fashion phase that embraces both history and now/tech – all i see are black leggings and too short tops/jackets, with athleisure as the faux sportive ez uniforming (read what the late, great sociologist paul fussell said on this) of the many, which is the antithesis of style as an expression of best self.
In Editors Vs. Bloggers, Does Anyone Win?
Title: Editors vs Bloggers: Does Anyone Win?
when the establishment (aka print) bemoans the infiltration, how they are forced to contend with new lows in promoing and all those web-spawned “nobodies” at FW, what comes to mind are the establishment’s tactics of placing “reality” celebs & even a terrorist on one cover to boost sales….
it’s a rich pop sociological topic, merging fashion + tech in full spectrum before’s and after’s. i just love it.
you know, it’s only a matter of time when an editor in chief will have had their start on some blog. billboarding of self notwithstanding, as some bloggers will always remain focused on self, the internet, with infinite circulation potential, allows for a vast watering down. but it’s also self-filtering – & as vast as it is, it’s even harder to come out on top, which logically suggests the best of the best just might be, well, truly the best. and “best” boils down to whom pushes the most product. so why not?
the change that is undeniable and well in place smacks of “if you can’ beat em, join em.” those print covers i mentioned suggest that’s already happened. i wrote on this back in 2013: http://www.huffingtonpost.c…
kimann schultz, (web spawned nobody) “trendy wendy”/misc topic blogger @ HP
Humor is THE spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down. should be therefore served in heaps with the bitterest of fodder out there. Western societies’ acceptance of humor ( and our ability to turn it on ourselves) just might our best foundational forward step.
The notion of “white” (I call myself a pasty faced beige) as inherently/always/only superior – well life + the works of sociologist Paul Fussell (hilarious) cured me of ever embracing that fantasy fallacy! anthropologically speaking, some stuff can’t be denied – social history is chock full of synthetic evolutionary tweaks. What’s really funny is how – continuously – those who know the least keep insisting they know it all….
Title: YOOX Netaporter and Internet Integration
corporate culture is one thing and so be it – it’s as time honored as was any powerful guild in its heyday and still the weeding out process of all high achievers and their achievements.
but macrophagic investment growth models are something else entirely, for profit via manipulation of the entity lies legions above its product and lowly consumers – let no one be starry eyed about the virtual world of the stock market.
no matter what one might profess, investors and their guru-traders don’t care if it’s a kilowatt hour or a pair of hand-knit mink socks they are making a buck/euro on. i am afraid i don’t buy into the idealized notion of the desired outcome being anything superior to what was. so lucky – pure luck – for all (us) shoppers if this works. the simple capitalistic reality is that, when competition ceases to exist, what is left gets cheap and lazy. next comes the sell-off and bye bye to something that once was.
net-a-porter reflected a real vision of a real person, who in this case also happened to be her own, perfect demographic and muse. gosh, how that now sounds rather quaint.
Title: The Anatomy of Travel Retail
will speak from american standpoint: because one can literally shop the world from home, and because convenience and price point by far excel as advantages over old school “duty free” deals (which includes lugging more stuff when en route + paying regular/top prices, esp when $ down = passe imo) the perceived need is a combination of 2 shop-inducing elements on the higher end and one very simple element on the lower end:
higher end/traveller accommodation:
1) glitchy weather/events necessitate different items from what one has packed (i.e. colder weather than usual = search for a warmer garment or a simply forgotten item needs replacing)
2) most especially this: the classic element of uniqueness as found in context of locale. if in any given country: i want to see great + different. when i am back home, i don’t want see what i have “found” on someone else or, worse yet, at my local department store (ever more difficult via the homogenization of society and the globalization of the retail world). i hope regional focus/emphasis remains part of this retail picture.
lower end/tourist accommodation:
recognition of globalized, omnipresent retail chains for the average (yes, stereotypical) american tourist abroad fosters familiarity and a comfort level in lands where for most american language and cultural barriers will continue to exist. that comfort translates to retail dollars spent for the very same “stuff” one can indeed get at home….so that goes.