The Mainstreaming of Fashion: Fashion Usurps Its Esoteric Origin
STILL TAKEN FROM THE REITMANS “FASHION FOR REAL LIFE” CAMPAIGN:
Retail Insider Fashion News Image Credit: http://strategyonline.ca/2012/04/20/reitmans-helps-deal-with-fashion-nightmares/ reitmans 2 jpeg
Recently my business partner and I were asked to be interviewed by, “On The Coast on CBC with Stephen Quinn” for a short segment on the decline of denim based on this story:
This media request prompted me to reflect on the mainstreaming of fashion and how what we have come to conceptualize as being “fashion” and “fashionable” has been removed from its former esoteric realm, resulting in its “mainstreaming”. Some fashion industry insiders will critically lament that fashion has been “democratized,” which is often not seen to be a good thing. However, It may be useful to critically consider that elitist perspective to be originating from a scarcity based worldview more interested in ensuring job security. In essence, a form of thinly veiled industry protectionism.
Retail Inisder Fashion News Image Credit: http://www.begincollege.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Job-Security.jpg
There have been several key cultural movements which have shifted the once rarified esoteric world of “fashion” and more importantly “fashion-Insider(ness)” into the mainstream. In 1985
, hosted by Jeannie Beker, made its debut on Canadian airways.
JEANNE BEKER’S FIRST PUBLICITY SHOT FOR FASHION TELEVISION, TAKEN IN 1985:
Retail Insider Fashion News Image Credit: http://www.thestar.com/content/dam/thestar/life/fashion_style/2012/04/12/fashion_television_jeanne_beker_looks_back_on_27_years_of_iconic_show/1985_jeannebeker.jpeg.size.xxlarge.letterbox.jpeg
For the first time in history, the general public gained access to the once hidden world of high fashion. Formerly, the once cloistered world of fashion had only been readily accessible to the upper classes and a select number of working class individuals deemed “insiders”, such as the designers, models and seamstresses by virtue of their employment in the industry. Broadcast television’s love affair with the fashion world irrevocably served to “mainstream” “fashion”.
GOOGLE DEFINES FASHION AS:
1. A popular trend, especially in styles of dress and ornament or manners of behaviour.
“his hair is cut in the latest fashion”
A manner of doing something.
“the work is done in a rather casual fashion”
This definition of fashion is democratic in its scope and relatively utilitarian in its application. Defining “fashion” in this manner strips “fashion” of its exoticism. Esoteric and exotic ideological constructs of what define fashion are the variables used to protect self-appointed “industry insiders” from unwelcome intruders. Industry “insiders” often work very hard to protect their rarified “fashion” world construct. This is best evidenced by the constant elitist bemoaning of the rise of the fashion blogger.
IMAGE OF ADRIENNE CURRY: WINNER OF THE FIRST SEASON OF AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL.
Retail Insider Fashion News Image Credit: http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lpr9h4DhwI1qzmmvbo1_500.jpg
The second cultural movement responsible for the mainstreaming of the once esoteric world of “fashion” occurred on May 20, 2003, when the television show
was broadcast into people’s living rooms.
Retail insider Fashion news Image Credit: http://www.ericgarland.co/wp-content/uploads/pix/2011/03/Diploma-Mill-Graphic-1-276×300.png
The final variable that easily lends itself to the democratization and “mainstreaming” of “fashion” is that the “Fashion Industry” is one of the last fields that has not been completely engulfed by the credentialism movement. Arguably, a background in Business, Cultural Studies, Journalism, or Art History coupled with a solid grounding in a trade such as (fashion design, photography, hairdressing, makeup-artistry) will serve to advance an individual’s professional standing in the fashion world.
PROUDLY MADE IN CANADA: MICHI ILLUSION PANT $195.00
When an article discusses the rise in marketplace supremacy of athletic-wear over denim in the “fashion” world, it is imperative that we question whether or not an esoteric fashion bias has colored our knee-jerk response. If we accept the definition of fashion to merely be “
a popular trend, especially in styles of dress and ornament or manners of behavior,” then there is nothing inherently unique or alarming about people choosing, en masse, to wear Yoga pants. Especially, if our definition of “fashion” is divorced from any potentially esoteric bias.
2009 REITMANS COMMERCIAL: FROM THE “DESIGNED FOR REAL LIFE” CAMPAIGN:
Canadian based Reitmans ran a humorous series of commercials which brilliantly poked fun at antiquated, elitist, and esoteric notions of what is sometimes considered “fashion”. I believe that there will always be an ideological tug-of-war between self appointed “fashion insiders” and those deemed intrusive outsiders.
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