Archive for August, 2014

Fashion Is Mean To Be Personal

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

 

 

Fashion doesn’t always come off the runway donned by a supermodel in extra small. Fashion can be what others find to be cool but that you find to be anything but. It’s simply what you wear and what you like.

When you walk into a boutique and select a piece of clothing, it will not always be a thoughtful process. Sometimes you’ll choose that piece of clothing because it is the first one you saw or it is the right price, or perhaps someone else asked you to try it on because they think that color will compliment your eyes. Sometimes you just want your clothes to make you feel good and it’s not about any trends or fashion statements. It’s about you, as it should be.

Fashion is meant to be customized to you, the wearer. No one understands that better than the urban young adult. As the chief momentum shifters of mainstream culture and peripheral subcultures at any particular time, fashion is just another playground for exploring one’s selfhood, a showcase of personality. One of the things about fashion as a creative process differentiating it from most other art forms is that it gives the wearer the tool to complete the process. We get to experiment and cultivate our own personal way of self-identifying publicly by wearing our clothes to make a statement and intimately by letting our clothes dictate our moods and feelings about ourselves. Any way we express it is fashion and there’s no such thing as anti-fashion.

Fashion is thus as personal as one makes it if one has the eye and passion for it. But it can also be just as impersonal. The design process is guided by rulebooks of what not to do and is in itself limited by sales goals for a majority of high retailers. You may be surprised to find out that much of what feels like your own personal sense of fashion is a product of advertising and other mediated content targeted to you.  But that’s not to say you don’t have somewhat of an indirect say. You always do. Fashion is always personal.

Advertisers, designers, and editors know you all too well. They are the reason that shade of green-yellow which happens to be your favorite color, exists for you to buy in the first place. We may not all be fashion conscious but the market is. The great thing about it however, is that it is engineered to feel personal. You buy a purse with a designer’s name stamped on it who’s a complete stranger to you and somehow that purse can still reflect your own fashion taste or your ideals of luxury. When you’re picking clothes off a rack and you find your right size, it’s as if those clothes were meant for you. It’s as if you’re the one making the choice, deciding your own fashion taste when in fact it’s all been decided for you long before you knew you needed that shirt or those harem pants.

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Margael St Juste, Hunter College ’15

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Fashion Is Meant To Be Disposable

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Gasp! If you’re really into fashion, I know how that sounds. Fashion is art and art is sacred, and this is sounding like an oxymoron?

Well, we are on the subject of modernity and if modernity is the inherent fiber that makes the American urban young-adult aesthetic as commercially successful and as cultural relevant as it is then fashion must be predisposed to imitating its nature, one that mutates and evolves. Which is why fashion is meant to be disposable—it’s meant to be functional and it’s meant to be aware of itself.

You have your  fashion staples, pieces that never go out of fashion, timeless pieces passed down from generations that remain profoundly embedded in the vision of every contemporary class of fashion makers and influencers since its time. We can cite Diane Von Furstenberg’s wrap dress as one of those revolutionary pieces that easily made themselves permanent fixtures of American fashion and are now deservedly iconic. Combining a minimalist design with equal parts high functionality and artistic direction is genius that transcends both time and culture. You can now walk into most fashion retail department stores around the U.S and see a wrap dress on display and it won’t feel retrospective or vintage. The prints, the colors, the textures even, will be as modern as our time but the design remains essentially classic.

Or we may look at a simpler paradigm…

American blue jeans, who doesn’t own a pair? This garment probably holds the same importance to the mediated image of American fashion as Bourbon whiskey does for American leisure. The key seemingly is a formulaic dose of design and function. A pair of denim trousers as an innovation at its time was simply a reaction to the social shift in the workplace. No longer did textile need to be spun at home by hand while adhering to dress etiquettes of propriety and decorum. Because of the much dirtier nature of  factory work and because of available means to mass produce, a new industrial population demanded more casual, more utilitarian fashion, in effect more disposable fashion— cheap practical simple design—fashion that was not in essence concerned  with art but with a primary objective of being wearable.

Inevitably, all fashion ends up reflecting on its approximate culture being bred from the intellectual and material resources of that culture. All design as a general rule takes a creative direction. But the more disposable fashion becomes, the less we see a creative direction in lieu of wear-ability and the more adaptable it is to our own creative expression. Fashion as a disposable commodity responds to the modernity of culture, our need for self-expression, our need for high functionality paralleled to the high-paced structures of our lives, and our endless appetite for consumption and instant gratification. Ideally, fashion has to be obsolete and we want it to be. When constantly seeking ‘the new’ and ‘the modern’, we don’t get that without recycling ‘the old’ to generate new ideas.

So we must go back to modernity and also understanding the instrumental role of fashion being functional for use and disposable for value. We may thus understand why the American aesthetic is ideal to be at the forefront of fashion globally—why people in all corners of the world aspire to the white tee and blue jeans, perfectly bracketed within urban young adult imagery, the most important shaper of culture

 

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Margael St Juste, Hunter College ’15

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The Fashion Complex You’re a Part of

Monday, August 11th, 2014

This blog series is a serialized look at fashion as a function and inspiration in our everyday lives. It explores the urban young-adult aesthetic in modern American culture, specifically in New York City. If you are reading this series, you’re somewhat familiar with urban fashion trends or perhaps you fit the aforementioned demographic. The urban young-adult aesthetic likely saturates every form of media from music to films and other visual arts that you consume. You find that a touch of it lingers in the background track of your favorite dance song when you hear heavy platform shoes on hardwood floors or the clink of metal on some over accessorized clubgoer. You notice that the film adaptation of your favorite young-adult series uses the popular color scheme from the runway that year. It is no coincidence that fashion concepts marketed to young-adults are such popular motifs in other art forms. The young adult is powerful in any form of art. The confluence of their unique and modern generational experience fused with newfound independent thinking, without fail, makes every generation of young adults the most important shapers of culture.

The term aesthetic generally conflates a vast concept of beauty and the perception of it through the senses. In fashion, it has a more direct association to the word style, the concept of self-identifying through clothes. Often it’s used to describe a brand or fashion house’s distinct personality.  That is what I mean when I talk of the urban young-adult aesthetic. I’m talking about the distinct ‘isms’ of this generation that are engaged in formulating this seamless urban attitude that is both commercially successful and culturally relevant.

Once we learn to recognize this phenomenon as part of our cultural affect, we can start to understand it—why the urban young adult is a universal landmark of aspiration on the runway and subsequently in our local fashion department stores. Firstly, being young is always en vogue. The fashion industry’s obsession with youth is another story altogether but it is important here to note since it’s all, believe me, very cyclical. What the urban young adult means to fashion however is newness and modernity. Fashion that adapts to us has the key to being successful.  Modernity, a tried and true American ‘ism’, allows for adaptability to changing times and markets. This series outlines five inherent concepts of the urban young-adult aesthetic that exemplify how it works and works so well.

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Margael St Juste, Hunter College ’15

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College Advice Revealed

Friday, August 1st, 2014

college_advice_revealed

 

During college, you have the freedom to explore and a platform set that allows you to make mistakes; trial and error is the known policy. Don’t you wish you had someone available to give you guidance throughout those years? To encourage you to grow, to inspire you and to give you a career path to look forward to. To be a mentor for you, and discuss their professions with you?

Advice has always proven successful to allow students to indulge in discussions of the future. Without guidance, the future can be daunting.

 

Several professionals have contributed their thoughts: What do you wish you knew while you were in college?

 

“Take advantage of the all the resources that are offered. Register for a class outside of your major, utilize professor office hours, talk to career services. Outside of academics, join a club, attend school-sponsored events, meet as many people as you can.” – Chloe Wong, Rhode Island School of Design graduate

 

“I wish someone told me to really take advantage of what the school had to offer such as unlimited access into certain studios. Turns out you gotta pay for all of that when you’re in the real world.” – Stephanie Cuenca, SUNY Purchase graduate

 

“It gets better,…it will be ok when schools over. I know that for me, where school was so important, I was worried that when it was over I would just unravel. I depended on it in so many respects, calendar, priorities, social life. I think I may have even jumped into grad school so quickly afterwards because I was scared of being out of school so if I was talking to my college-self I would say, it gets better, and you’ll be ok on your own you are smart enough and good enough to dictate your own life and not let school or teachers or grades or whatever dicate how your life is and will be.” – Stephen de Jesus Frias, CUNY Baruch undergraduate, Lesley University graduate

 

“Learning about economics and finance is crucial.” – Miguel Ramirez, Wesleyan University graduate

 

“I wish I knew just how drastic life would change after undergrad. Full time work is much more demanding than I imagined.” – Sabrina Smith, CUNY Baruch graduate

 

“Try to get internships.” – NYU graduate

 

“Intern as much as possible. Never underestimate the powers of networking and hardwork. 99% of entry-level hires are previous interns.” – Tiffany Ma, The New School-Parsons School of Design graduate

 

“Looking back at my college experience, I wish I had taken full advantage of what my school had to offer. I would have taken classes outside of my major to broaden my horizons. I wish I had networked more within the community and school- maybe joined a few organizations. I am also disappointed that I didn’t pursue a semester abroad- I think that’s a once in a lifetime opportunity college students have.

My advice for any college student is to be passionate about your work- it helps to make the tedious stuff more fun. In my experience of going to art school, your college assignments are essentially your portfolio when you’re job hunting. It helps to have been passionate about the work when you have to sell it to a potential employer. It isn’t like high school- where you can slap something together for a passing grade. You should be proud of the work you create.

It’s hard to focus on your eduction when you’re invited out to parties every night. Trust me- you’ll wish you had found balance between work and play when you’re paying off those student loans!

There’s nothing else like college. You’ll meet some of your best friends, and you’ll make some of your best memories. Enjoy it!” – Lensey Randals, Rhode Island School of Design graduate

 

“I would say the importance of internships. They look good for grad school and help you figure out if this is actually what you want to do.” – NYU graduate

 

Personal Finance Management.” – Keion Prescod, Monroe graduate

 

“I always tell my students during orientation to make the best of their college experience so that when they look back they can say that college was the best time of their life.  I also wished that I had gone on study abroad because it allows you the opportunity to fully engage with another culture as well as broadens your perspective.  Study abroad opens up an international network of contacts full of opportunities and teaches those skills necessary in an ever changing global environment.” – Janet Hoyte, Johnson & Wales University graduate

 

“Be sure to get involved and join groups! I was in a women’s a cappella group all four years I was in college… my experience would have been totally different had I not got up the courage to audition my freshman year. I expected that it would be fun to perform and that the girls would be some of my best friends, but the most valuable takeaways were things I didn’t expect: getting to know older and wiser upperclassmen right off the bat; the work experience I got volunteering for various business positions in the group; and the close-knit network of alumnae I now have access to as a graduate. It was a gift to be in the group while I was in school, and now it is the gift that keeps on giving!” – Annie Johnson, Colgate University graduate

 

Stay tuned for more inspiration from college graduates and professionals! 

 

 

 

 

Visit thelivingcalendar.com for more tips and advice from Arielle Fiffer  – College/Career Advisor

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Interested in more deals for students? Sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter to get the latest in student discounts and promotions  and follow our Tumblr and Pinterest. For savings on-the-go, download our printable coupon e-book!

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