I have no idea what I’m doing

I will admit it. My name is Ársól, and I am a fashion rookie.
Think of me as Anne Hathaway in the begging of the Devil wears prada before you read this post.
And know I don’t mean to offend anyone, I am simply inexperienced.
This has never been clearer than in Steinunn’s lecture on Wednesday. Now let me tell you, that women has had an amazing career. How many Icelander’s can tell you they have dressed the Spicegirls in clothes of their own design to be put on the front cover of Vogue? Again I am a rookie, but I’m thinking probably not a lot!
But what struck me the most about her lecture was the way she talks about her clothes. How she finds inspiration from the Icelandic nature and portrays it in her clothes. She talked about how she studied the national costume and how she keeps trying to find the Icelandic within her self and around her to portray in her clothes.
This I do not get. Sure sure, influence and all that but the pictures she showed us and her take on them was nothing I could see.
But pictures speak more than a thousand words so I’m going to show you a couple and her take on them. So you’ll see the garment and the nature you are suppose to see from that garment.

1The rivers meeting to make one.
2 “Hafís” – Pack ice

3The line from her hip to the floor is suppose to be a river from Rauðisandur


So she uses these nature photos to interoperate into her clothing.
This is a clear sign of Thick description to me. She sees the northern lights in her dress, the lava in her sweater and the pack ice in her skirt. Other designers might see this as well, but I most certainly do not. I do not see a river in that dress and I do not see lava. And when she showed us simply a piece of garment and said: this needs no explaining, I panicked. What was I looking at? was I suppose to see the sea or the darkness of a winter morning or a newly fallen snow. I had no idea because I do not have the trained eye and skills to interpret a skirt. It is simply beyond me.
So within the right context and within the right group these clothes, on their own, develop a deeper meaning. A meaning a baboon like me can’t quite grasp. Now put the clothes on a certain person in some social context and I might be able to tell you something. But on their own I do not understand them.


4 thoughts on “I have no idea what I’m doing

  1. But Steinunn also pointed out that the inspiration should not be too obvious in the clothes, so maybe the fact that you could not always see the northern lights in the clothing mean she was successful in her design.

  2. This rings loudly of the “what is art” discussion. Does fashion need to be influenced by concrete ideas, pictures, or location? Does it matter if we can recognize a river in a dress? Does that somehow make the fashion better or worse?

  3. My experience from that lecture is a little bit different. I saw the river in the dress and so on when she had the photo right next to it but if she had just put up the photo of the dress and said that she got the inspiration from a certain river I would not have been able to picture it or if I had just seen it on the runway. I also think that we perhaps did not need to know the inspiration behind the item. For me when I look through fashion shows or go to one, one of the best things is what I see in the clothes what inspiration I see in them.

  4. I just had a thought in response to Amanderson11’s questions. Maybe it’s a part of a certain social group to see the inspiration in the clothes, and so they can put themselves on a certain pedestal? Like with the Moomin craze, some have noted that people buying the product “do not even know who the Moomon are and have not watched or read them”. In the same sense somebody who wears a band T-shirt but does not listen to that band is something totally different from the one who wears it and listens to the band. So if I only see a dress as a dress am I excluded from a certain social group? If I can not see the inspiration, if I can not see the river, am I looked down upon by a certain social group? And if this is true do we make an effort not to wear a certain band T-shirt, even though we like the garmet, because we do not listen to the band? So I will not wear that dress because I can not tell you the story of the inspiration or of what it’s portraying? And so in the end the garmet doesn’t matter, but what it means on me.

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