The Efficacy of Fashion

Updated: Jul 16, 2010, 17:07 PM IST

<i> A tall, scrawny model sashays down the ramp in bizarre outfit. She pouts and swivels, brushing aside her curly locks that playfully kiss her flushed cheek. The audience breaks into applause, shutterbugs go clicking while she struts with an air of nonchalance. Absorbed in herself like a narcissist, she is a strange beauty, for she is the symbol of eroticism, egoism and desire – a commodity. </i><br/><br/>I don’t like tucking my shirts in pants and for that case, unlike all others; I don’t even wear formals at office. My weekdays start with Friday dressing and I take immense pride in repeating my clothes almost religiously. Albeit, like all youngsters, I do shop for branded stuff but neither do I suffer from a compulsive buying disorder, nor am I a stasher. As my clothes last longer than the fleeting fashion forecasts, I am the worst nightmare for designers. In all solemnity, I proclaim myself to be the dinosaur of fashion. I am gaucheness incarnate - I am outdated, I am outmoded, I am passé. <br/><br/>If fashion is the name of profligacy, vanity and fickleness, to be honest, I am most content with my measly outfits. With each passing year, scores of designers and labels come together at fashion events, hoping to showcase their creativity with something new, which finally ends up as nothing more than the variants of prevalent couture styles. Consequently, fashion is contradictory in nature, for it is too ambiguous in nature to be followed with all sincerity, leave alone being tricked into buying something that is not durable. <br/><br/>Like fashion, its display is nothing much than a vulgar display of power. Fashion is capitalistic in nature, because the desire to possess is coupled by purchasing power. Your social stratum gets reflected through your designer wears. Conversely, lesser designer clothes and branded labels can make you appear pretty ordinary. Well, the lust to look upmarket and savvy emerges from capitalism. <br/><br/>Fashion wields terrible power, as it is diabolic in nature and those who lag behind are mocked and berated as antediluvians. Believe me, not having a smart business suit is seen as a crime by some fashion buffs. <br/><br/>Nonetheless, natural and unadorned looks are inversely proportional to the complacency of high fashion. If you believe that the cultural elitism of fashion rules the world, history has it otherwise. Theorists claim that the Hippies, Punks and the 90s Grunge era are glaring examples of how popular sub-culture defied the poisonous darts of western high fashion. <br/><br/>During the ‘flower power’ era, Hippies had a great contempt for corporate culture; they favoured flea markets and second hand stores. During the seventies, Punks were considered anti-fashion and were known for their theatrical yet plain clothing styles. Likewise, during the nineties, Grunge era saw the rise of unkempt style which went against the very grain of aestheticism. <br/><br/>So, for all those who think that shelling out huge bucks for branded clothes and designer accessories is fashion, think twice about its efficacy, for it is not only ephemeral, but capricious and downright capitalist in nature. Indeed, the lure of fashion lies in its antithetical nature.


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