So here’s what I’ve really been up to:
For the past couple of months I’ve been collecting advertisements, taking pictures of billboards and retail displays, and generally looking for common themes in how fashion is advertised. To be more concrete about it, through the seasons what generally makes up our societal definitions of fashionable.
What I ended up proposing was that apparel hit mainstream upon being advertised (no shit) and upon mainstreaming certain apparel, they become privileged with the notion of taste. Taste is an arbitrary concept that is legitimized through its endorsement from the higher echelons of society. Taste, in other words, comes from the top. If Tessa Prieto thinks its fabulous, it is fabulous. No questions asked. It doesn’t even have to be Tessa Prieto, my point is our notions of taste are socially motivated.
Thus, in a capitalist society where upward social mobility is desired, the selling point in fashion advertising comes with associating products with opulence. Fashion is, after all, an endeavor reserved for the elite. No matter how ghetto you may be, your ghetto-ness only goes from ghetto to derelict when it’s being paraded down the runway. In terms of opulence, I’m not just talking about wealth. The whole concept of wealth is completely irrelevant to the study without anything visible to signify it, and that’s where fashion advertising comes in.
Fashion advertising is built on images, after all fashion is all about images. It rarely makes use of language or product descriptions, thus affirming that fashion is not concerned with the utilitarian. No one gives a crap about how long your Balenciaga heels will last, what we want to know is how fabulous they look and where to wear them. What drives the fashion industry is not the consumption of products but the consumption of images. So upon reading these images, what can be assumed about the market they’re being sold to.
Now please greet my dear friend Cat who turns 21 today. I love you Cat!