Fashion, Our Great Social Construct.
Fashion is a social indicator of one’s placing in modern society. You are what you wear, or so the old cliché goes. Even Shakespeare did put credence in this claim by stating “clothes maketh a man”. The income bracket of an individual in most cases can be determined by the style sense they portray. This cultural manifestation has a way of dictating the terms in our less then credible pop culture. Some call this Swag; a term loosely used to describe looking good accompanied by an over-the-top surge of confidence. Though fashion is a social construct the implications and detriment of one’s coolness is decided by the material worn to cover their skin. If you don’t have your “swag on” as they adeptly say, you have no chance of moving up the social ladder, trust me, you’re doomed. Is fashion the only thing which demonstrates the vulnerability of human mind in believing as a reality what in fact is a social construct? No. Even gender defined roles turned themselves into a reality in our minds.
The media is the biggest perpetuator of this phenomenon, and they are doing a good job at it too. Media is the biggest predator of the independence of our minds, so we ask ourselves how long we will be the prey?
There seems to be a need for a virus detector to scan our system of these indoctrinations and pseudo-realities, which slowly penetrate our minds without our knowledge and metamorphosis into a reality, which is unfortunate. Everywhere you look, whether driving past billboards, watching music videos or reading magazines, you’re bound to be inundated by an opinion on style. People’s independence is an endangered species and soon will be extinct if we don’t act. We are flooded with collections designed by narcissists who host big events every season of the year to showcase their “creative excellence”. I’m sure the bit where they recycle old garments and name them “classic” pieces is easily overlooked with all those neon lights shining on people’s faces at these star studded evenings. The ubiquitous skinny girl from Eastern Europe prancing up and down runways with “signature collections” and “trend setting” items is an image I cannot get out of my head when we speak of fashion.
South Africa is not immune to this global craze. As we try and stake our claim in this upwardly mobile era, we too, the materialistic bastards we are, have given in to the commands from a select few whoare as far afield as Milan, Paris, New York and London. These are the “fashion capitals” of the world by the way. Or so we’re told. We let them wave their wands and exercise godly powers when it comes to controlling our self-gratification. I think of the mushrooming of malls with chain stores from the various global brands around the country is testament to the inability of our people to think independently. We actually enjoy this nonsense. I don’t blame them though, how can you not prescribe to a world where time goes by slowly and there isn’t a slightest image of famine, sadness or self loathe. In the fashion world all is pure bliss. The yachts, champagne and blue cheese is served in abundance. What about the mere act of crossing one’s legs while puffing on a cigar, giving us a double dose of pollution, breathing dirty air while our minds believe you have arrived at the highest rung of the socio-economic ladder. We host fashion shows throughout the country and have given in to the swag diaries.
Women are glued to their TV screens every day to see what the local celebrities are wearing. The most amazing thing about fashion is the close similarity it has with religion, just as how there needs to be a god in order for an atheist to not believe in him, those that do not subscribe to fashion have a certain way they dress in order to avoid the swag, which is a style within its own right. We need not go back to wearing animal skin but let’s be practical about what is important to us. Fashioncannot be allowed to top the list of social independence