Response to face fucker’s my favorite most beloved ex’s entry, “On Fashion”
(By the way, no one may call him face fucker, apparently not even me. Isn’t that right my favorite most beloved ex whom i shall now refer to as M.F.M.B.E.)
As my favorite theorist Heidi Klum would say, “one day you’re in, and the next day you’re out.” Although a trend may be immortalized in pictures and through whatever clever marketing schemes happen to be at hand, the only thing that cannot be negotiated in fashion is the inevitability of its demise. And with every trend that bubbles up or trickles down comes the obsolescence of another. Like in that Flaming Lips song about the guy whose wife dies while giving birth because the ambulance just wouldn’t go fast enough: “Tell me for everyone that dies, someone new is born.”
But to argue for fashion’s “emptiness” would be to debase the sheer amount of effort and forecasting that goes into this billion dollar (global) enterprise.
Those stupid skinny jeans with the built-in crumples and tears you see on every mannequin at the mall: They’re butt ugly, but there’s a reason why they’re there. There’s a whole team of people who racked their minds and did their research to give you reason to want that pair of jeans, and there’s a reason why they’re available everywhere from high-fashion retailers to supermarkets. The same goes for puffy New Romantics sleeves, god help us.
The decisions that go behind every trend that appears in every magazine are just as informed as the decisions behind any enterprise. It’s not just some lady with an 8-ball sitting behind a desk, asking if next season, orange will be the new black.
Not everything that is ephemeral or contributes to commodity culture–especially that of the upper classes–is by definition, “superficial”. Wanting to look a certain way doesn’t necessarily make you shallow, it’s a consequence of wanting to define yourself when you’re part of a mass that effortlessly compromises individual subjectivity. With that, how one defines oneself by means of fashion doesn’t always correspond to how much one is willing to spend on a pair of shoes or how fastidiously one is able to keep up with the latest trends.
Yes, fashion is a business of building and killing these trends. It plays an important role in the production of signs which will eventually topple and break under their own ephemerality and arbitrariness, e.g. trendwhore signifies wealth, skinny signifies beautiful, paris hilton signifies anal sex (case in point: if you bought a genuine Le Sportsac, you’re probably kicking yourself in the face right now).
But it is also in the business of giving people choice which in turn can uplift or debase their humanity. Isn’t what you’re going to wear the first choice you make at the beginning of every day (Mine is whether or not I’ll take a bath, but forget I said that. I have the hygiene practices of a serf.)? With every new trend that comes and goes comes a new way of presenting ourselves to the people around us and the choice to change it.
At the end of the day, they’re just clothes–anyone with a brain and a decent grasp on that integral part of our humanity that is choice understands this. You can choose to wear pink and only pink for the rest of your life, but it’s human to want, and the business of fashion is about catering to that want–believe it or not, regardless of the money involved. And if you’re retarded enough to spend 10,000 pesos on a top, then may god bless your soul and the souls of everyone that could have benefited from your 10,000 pesos.