Shocking Fashion

As will surprise many of you, and possibly cause a few to question certain aspects of myself, I am currently enrolled in a fashion class. Historic Fashion Costuming to be precise, and am one of three guys in the class, I’ll leave you to question the… preferences of the other two, good luck. But in this class we recently had a discussion, and our final and only essay dedicated to the question of the shock power of fashion. Particularly of the power “fashion” has remaining to shock us. By way of example I present exhibit A

Meat, glorious meat, now wearable to go along with Denny’s baconholia! Ok, so Denny’s is a little late to the party, but lets not blame them too much; it takes a bit to make the great wheels of commercialism to move occasionally. But I digress, we are talking about fashion (and comfortable fashion evidently, even given its reported 40+ lbs weight.) An argument was made (that I agree with and later supported) that due to the intentional actions of certain celebrities who will remain unnamed (see, I’m so nice aren’t I?)  fashion is being stretched to its limit for shock value. This is a result of the great historic pendulum, that subtle shift from conservative to outrageous and then back again, only now this shift is being carried forth, rather than let swing naturally.

I must admit not I am somewhat of a romantic of kinds, and I truly believe that fashion has progressed a bit too far. Were it us to me, everyone would be clad in denim and some comfortable shirt material (probably silk in warmer climates) for casual wear. Given formal circumstances we’d be in something closer to these:


Yes, long flowy gowns and chainmail, tunics, leather and blood. What can I say, slightly wrong age to have been born in? I’ll even take the gowns and dresses of the 1700-1800’s, though they’re slightly less practical. Though again I digress.

Fashion has been so used nowadays that only the absolutely most outrageous costumes even warrant comment. For modesty’s sake I shant post any of the more randy examples as far as material:skin ratio go, but you all know what I’m speaking of. And so it comes down to a world growing more and more jaded to the “ordinary” or at least expected. So certain people will try to push the envelope to be “edgy” or noticed. And that becomes a trap, ironically enough. Because they become know for being so, the moment they cease to entertain the crowd with their one trick pony, they’ll be left in the dust for someone/thing else.

And what’s more, fashion itself is taking hits as well. Because what was once an avenue to provoke thought, or the imagination, the clothing fashion industry is loosing elements to create newly inspirational shock value items. In fact, it truly would be shocking to find something rather on the modest end of things become highly fashionable, because they are so ordinary and bland.

This change will of course occur eventually, it always has in the past, and I am a true believer in the cyclical nature of history, including even of fashion. (Take a look at how the silhouette has changed for women over the past 1000 years, it’ll amaze you.) Point in case; hip-hugger jeans, once what everyone would wear, now being phased out, and the underwear that went along with them. Poodle skirts, what are those? Elephant bell bottoms? All of those and more being or have been phased away. Kennedy himself brought a coma-inducing blow to the men’s head-covering industry, and that is only recently beginning to struggle back awake (I’m ahead of the curve still: my Indiana Jones hat is pretty spiffy I must say.)

But, perhaps for the first time in JD consumed-recorded history, fashion has truly hit a point it never has before. It doesn’t shock. We expect now that certain people will dress up in meat-skirts (and check out those killer wedge heels,) or perhaps next academy awards we’ll see a teddy made of banana slugs woven with some third world child’s intestinal tract. The trend will move on, without too much fuss, though some of us will groan and avert our eyes either in shame or distaste. But it will indeed move on, eventually. Still those who rose to fame on the sinews of the meatskirt will try their best to push it ever further. It’s only fashion after all, and someone has to care for those poor Ugandan unfortunates, how better to get the attention they need?

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