Link to article: The Top 10 Moments From Spring/Summer 2015 Couture Week.
Question of the day, then: Is there anything to be learned from this? Maybe it’s just because I have a cold, but I can’t think of a single thing to point to….
Overloaded something-or-other, minimalism, Bianca Jagger’s suit for the thousandth time, Bowie-influence for the thousandth time, bla bla bla… If these are the ten most memorable moments, then this was a dismal week….
(OK, I’m also being deliberately a little ornery – maybe I’ll have something more positive to say on Monday…)
(6 hours later:)
OK, the obvious point is “of course, there’s something to learn from it!” Pointing to the absence of anything new; pointing to the rehashed and slightly desperate use of tried-and-true references… This is also a pointing to something worth looking at. If the Couture Week looks like this, full of desperate rehash and overload; form over substance – icing on icing, on the same old cake – then things are really getting to the point of no return.
But, as always, we have to ask: What next?
The zeitgeist analysis was a really interesting way of looking at fashion and how a little (or big) event can have big impact of how the world looks at fashion, or how trends change.
What I kept thinking, while in class doing this little project is that there I was with people who, most of them, have similar taste or style and are from very similar groups in the society. So we actually agreed on most of the thing that each other was pointing out. What I think would be really interesting is talking about the zeitgeist and filling out the chart with someone you have really little in common with. Different age group, different group of society, different hobbies and so on. I think that a lot of debate would take place and the conversation would get interesting. Or maybe we would find out that, although being different we have the same views of the world of fashion ?
Zeitgeist is also known as the spirit of the age. Social circumstances throughout different societies and cultures may develop certain leaders and head figures. The Zeitgeist believes that these figures are born through the social factors of that time period rather than from individual characteristics of leadership. This brings about the idea that social interest gives birth to leaders. I believe that the mix of societal interest and view combined with qualities of leadership really define and result in leaders of societies. This can be dangerous given polluted societal influence and figures such as celebrities that gain fame through an original act of art or professionalism but then are seen as acts to live by and actually influence society in a negative manner. Even negative views give individuals more publicity and leadership. Society plays a very large role in people. However, I believe it takes a skill or act that gets an individual in a spotlight of fame or leadership that really causes the societal factors to follow. It also is very interesting how societies and cultures can be influenced by the beliefs and actions of individuals. Even a regular person who starts a blog for instance and shares their views in a society can gain followers who share the views and eventually look to this person as the answer. So it works both ways. I am excited to see how society and culture and new technology changes fashion and the views of people on certain icons that rule the fashion world. What I will find I believe is to early to tell but I believe it will influence my views on lingering categories of speculation that I have in my head that society has touched on but have yet to solved given differing views of individuals.
When I first heard the term zeitgeist in class on Thursday I couldn’t help but to think back to my childhood. See the word reminded me of an event that took place when I was younger, around the age of 12, when my family and I went on a vacation to a theme park in Virginia. Up until this vacation I was beyond afraid of roller coasters but i was determined to get past this fear. That vacation I summoned up the courage to ride a roller coaster called Alpengeist, “The spirit/ghost of the Alps”. Now I have ridden many coasters since that day but none can seem to beat the rush I got from riding that monster.
Now you might be wondering what this has to do with zeitgeist, fashion and anything about this class. Well I realized that zeitgeist and Alpengeist actually have a lot in common. The feeling I got from riding that roller coaster is indescribable. So many factors, the height, altitude, construction, history, wind, music, seating, colors and other details all came together and created the sensation someone would get riding it. It is not just one thing, and could never truly be summed up in one word. From what I have learned so far about zeitgeist it seems pretty much the same. It could never be summed up or fully understood. It is a collaboration of so many factors coming together to create the spirit of our culture and the fashion of our time. And much like that roller coaster, the idea of studying the zeitgeist seems incredibly daunting. But I am excited for the challenge and cannot wait to better understand how culture forms and how various factors come together to effect fashion. What can we learn from this and can we see it playing out in our daily lives? I also cannot wait to see what our peers in Iceland have to say. It is so refreshing to learn from people who have different point of view and so incredibly important if we wish to remain relevant in our increasingly globalized society.
After first learning about the Zeitgeist, I’m intrigued to learn more about it. I think it’s going to be eye-opening to look at the world through different frames and perspectives to find the different ways they effect our culture/art/fashion. We don’t really think about it, but there are so many different factors and elements that go into our world, particularly the world of fashion, so being able to break that down and understand it will be beneficial to all of us as students as well as human beings. One place I may see some problems in the Zeitgeist map is that is mostly has to do with “dominating” topics such as events, ideas, social groups, etc. With it having to do with so many topics that dominate, I worry that it doesn’t take into account the influences of other events, ideas, social groups, and so on that may not dominate but are still important. I’m hoping to be able to connect the different aspects of my culture and the cultures of others by using this map and be able to become a better designer/fashion enthusiast.
Out of curiosity, I Google Image Searched “Zeitgeist Fashion” and here’s some results I found interesting:
Link to article: Make no mistake: Michelle Obama just made a bold political statement in Saudi Arabia – The Washington Post.
Here is a very interesting and clear example of the power of clothing in society. This become especially apparent at cultural boundaries. And just in case one begins to assume that this is just in cultures “over there” here’s a story about the dress of women and the male gaze from closer to home. (A woman who will henceforth not wear leggings so as not to encourage men.)
As these things go, one of the group in Iceland wrote in the last survey a comment that ended so:
“… makes me want to understand why women must cover themselves in clothing that ranges from headscarfs and conservative dress to total concealment under a burka, at least publicly. Does this have to do with male domination, religious beliefs, modesty or something else?”
To which I answered:
“All of the above, including the importance of adhering to tradition as a way of creating and maintaining a personal identity. The subjugation of women through dress and appearance is a study in itself and one worth doing. The idea that women have to maintain the purity of the cultural image is also one that is very important in many traditional cultures. (Leading to almost impossible demands on female conduct.) Like other matters in this investigation it is a complex field that resists reduction. There may be in your question a problem that Western society has ignored for a while. For the purpose of our class, that focuses on the “here” and “now,” this may be too large a question, but the meeting place of cultures is also an important part of our here and now…”
So there we are. Layers on layers on layers of meaning and behavior and culture. (Turtles all the way down…)
I think the reason that the zeitgeist is so difficult to grasp at first is because it doesn’t dominate culture anymore. Granted there are wide spread followings of trends within social or economic groups but not one that solely dictates or describes our generation. I wonder if we are in fact slaves to fashion, or maybe just the pressure to fit in and be accepted. I expect to see the trickle down and trickle up theories flip flopping through the decades as wars, financial crisis’s, revolutions, and pop culture become apart of our lifestyles and decisions. I don’t expect there to ever again be a wide acceptance of fashion because some people are never content with conformity. There will always be leaders and followers, rule makers and rule breakers. The zeitgeist may be passé but fashion cannot die as long as someone is there to rebirth it.
At first, I was very confused when I took a look at the Zeitgeist map. So many boxes that we were supposed to fill out, not to mention the fact that I didn’t have any idea how to do it because I thought that I had to do it about one topic and then just follow that trough the map. But now I’m getting what it is about, and it has opened up my mind. I was suddenly able to understand that the group or the thing that I was thinking about and trying to fit into all those boxes wasn’t the thing I should have been thinking of. I had to think outside the box, and the zeitgeist helped me with that.
I’ve seen this word, zeitgeist, used in many ways. I was reading an article about Björk, the musician, and her new album where she talks about wanting to be part of the zeitgeist. She has been fighting a hard battle, where she is always questioned about writing her music, while a male musician (like Kanye West) is hardly ever questioned for their work.
Björk said that she has the feeling that she is going to win this battle in the long run, but she wants to be a part of the zeitgeist. For example she wants to help young girls that are confused, and tell them they’re not imaging things, when there is no listener.
“Everything that a guy says once, you [girls] have to say five times.’’ – Björk
I felt ignorant looking at the analysis sheet. Felt like I had not been keeping track, maybe I was trapped in my own bubble and some parts of the world don’t get in. That is true in some way but most of it seeps in and you are aware of what is going on even though you don’t realize it. What you thought you knew most about actually turns out to be something quite different and your thoughts on it are only relevant to yourself.
What I thought most of before meeting in class was bloggers and Icelandic designers.
The day after filling out the form with the other students I scrolled down my facebook newsfeed and saw referances to most if not everything we had talked about in class.
What came as the most surprising thing was that I had not thought of shared economies until in class, which I already think is important and will be the future. Not only in cars and travel but also in living and buying. I feel like it is alredy happening now with people selling and buying online through sites and social media.
I am only a little part of the whole, thus I can only see a little part of it. I felt like Jupiter orbiting the sun but being too far to see everything in the faster circles.
I saw bloggers as nearly everything when I started doing the Zeitgeist at home, I saw them as dominating social groups who used dominating technology, had dominating attitudes and ideas from dominating events and so on. So I started looking at bloggers as the biggest influentials but at school when we worked on the Zeitgeist in groups I got to see my fellow students point of view and then my perspective widened and they helped me fill out the sections that I wasn´t able to fill out alone. We helped each other with ideas and our discussion was very interesting and helpful to get the Zeitgeist thinking started.
But my group also looked at the bloggers as a big part of the Zeitgeist so as a group we talked about suburban houswifes in Iceland as the influential fashion bloggers. In Iceland bloggers are very influential and we have websites and blogs that tell us what is fashionable and a „must-have“. We thought about how these bloggers can just sit at home on the computer and share photos they find online and blog about them (like hun.is), they don´t even have to own those things or take the photos themselves, they just use the internet. The internet has become our biggest medium and fashion (clothing and other things) is spreading globally with the help of social media through the internet.
I think the Zeitgeist will be useful throughout this course and especially with our research, I think it will be very interesting to see if my research changes what I put in the Zeitgeist throughout the term or if it will be kind of the same idea. I think of the Zeitgeist as a pbig puzzle that helps us look at all the little puzzle pieces that make the big picture, all the things that we don´t even think about until we see the Zeitgeist. At class it didn´t even matter that not everyone had the same ideas about each section because no one got it wrong, we all had the right answer in a way. Everyone has a different point of view and that is why the discussion is necessary, so that we can widen our perspectives and help each other with ideas and questions and together as a group figure out (hopefully) how to assemble the Zeitgeist puzzle.
Hun.is – Here the blogger posts the hairdoos that are “in” this winter but the blogger is only sharing pictures that Mary Claire had posted in their magazine