3 Mar 2012

Fashion is plain stupid

I suppose that, at some point of my life, I have been a "victim" of fashion. In other words, that I have been persuaded to adopt clothing or whatever that happened to be a "trend" at that moment.

I feel less and less inclined in this direction. In fact I find myself increasingly appalled by and disgusted with the whole world that gravitates around what is now a major business that occupies a lot of written press and huge spaces in our towns.

 How many clothes do we really need? And who could possibly require or even use the increasing numbers of shops selling them. Walking around city centres almost anywhere in the world tody, it seems as if people have given up eating, or reading, or indulging in any other activities apart from looking at cloths, maybe trying them on oaccasionally, and, presumably, buying more and more. Otherwise I simply cannot figure out the proliferation of these shops, most of which sell look-alike garments anyway. It all seems totally futile and vacuous.

I felt this once again on a recent visit to what used to be a pleasant old Provençal city, Aix-en-Provence. And today I picked up a so-called serious French daily newspaper (Le Monde) only to read, on the front page, this lead to a full page article on the inside (my translation from French):

"Ladies, vinyl and sequins are the fashion of 2013 
.......Creators have chosen elegant, striking and sexy materials for this year's autumn/winter ladies fashion: vinyl, Lurex, sequins and gilded embroidery."

I hate the ubiquitous use of the term "creator" for almost anyone able to cut and paste. I also find it pretty hard to imagine who, apart from a few weird fetishists, could possibly find that either vinyl or Lurex or sequins are elegant or "sexy". They are more trashy than anything else to me. Whenever I see eminent people in the fashion world, I tend to think that they are, on the whole, a pretty strange lot and usually living in a world of their own that has little or nothing to do with everyday life for most of us. Maybe I am wrong, but take a look at Galliano and Lagerfeld, just for a start. Unfair? Maybe. One could possible call some of them "amusers", or "court jesters" (not Galliano, I agree, the guy is a nutcase). But "creators" ?

What is certain is the economic drive behind all this twaddle. That a major and usually serious daily like Le Monde should treat this rubbish in a sycophantic way just shows how dependant they are these days on advertising from the fashion world. Their weekly magazine, which used to be readable, has turned into a sort of fashion catalogue recently.

I decided to take a look at what Ambose Bierce the excellent author of the cynic's bible, The Devil's Dictionary (1911) had to say under his entry for Fashion. As usual, his definition is subtle and just a tad ambiguous:

FASHION, n. A despot whom the wise ridicule and obey.



A king there was who lost an eye
In some excess of passion;
And straight his courtiers all did try
To follow the new fashion.

Each dropped one eyelid when before
The throne he ventured, thinking
'Twould please the king. That monarch swore
He'd slay them all for winking.


What should they do? They were not hot
To hazard such disaster;
They dared not close an eye — dared not
See better than their master.


Seeing them lacrymose and glum,
A leech consoled the weepers:
He spread small rags with liquid gum
And covered half their peepers.


The court all wore the stuff, the flame
Of royal anger dying.
That's how court-plaster got its name
Unless I'm greatly lying.


—Naramy Oof