Growing up as a horseback rider I have always felt ‘uncanny’ when wearing my riding clothes outside of the barn. When I was younger I wouldn’t go to the grocery store, out to eat, or in general anywhere in public that I may come across classmates. My mom used to pick on me for being so self-conscious about my riding clothes yet I also felt like people were staring at me because I was wearing riding pants with tall leather boots. I always felt like people thought it was “gross” to be wearing clothes that were worn in the barn to a public place yet it wasn’t like I was rolling around in manure, I had instead been practicing for my sport just like a soccer player would be wearing cleats from their practice. When I entered college I joined the equestrian team at school and noticed how comfortable my teammates were wearing their riding clothes around campus, out to eat, and hanging out with friends. I started to see that it is “ok” because now I was part of this group who had established this idea of “normal”. For awhile I would only wear my riding clothes as a group because we are looked at as a group, not an individual. I also noticed the people on college campus’s are interested by the idea of horseback riding and even ask about it if they see you dressed in your riding attire. Now that I am a senior I have no problem wearing my riding clothes in public because I now identify myself as a URI equestrian rider, a member of a team recognized by the school. Even my mom has noticed how my comfort level has changed towards wearing riding clothes in public because I will get dressed to ride and wear it as my attire for the whole day instead of changing into a more “normal” outfit.
Similar to my first fashion moment, a time where I totally felt out of place was not just one specific memory, but rather an event at school every year. When picture day in elementary school rolled around, my mom would dress me in an outfit that, to me at the time, was completely absurd. I don’t remember everything, but I do know I looked like I was going to some formal event. It felt like every single one of my friends were in their regular clothes, like it was just another day at school. Not me though. I had to be dressed in pleated skirts, matching button ups with matching sweaters on top, Mary Jane shoes, and every matching accessory she could find. Although she made me dress nicely every day, picture day was over the top. And for what?! You could only see from the shoulders up in the actual pictures. Plus, I had to walk around school all day in the outfit for a picture that took 5 minutes. I remember feeling so out of place. I also remember feeling like my mom was the only parent who cared about what the school pictures looked like. Why did I have to be the only one whose parent cared about the pictures?? I thought it was dreadful, and I felt so out of place every year. There was really nothing I could do about it too, because my mom wouldn’t hear any of it. There have been many times in my life where I have felt out of place, but picture day is the most specific “story” I can remember.
Like many students in this class, I experienced unheimlichkeit or uncanniness while studying abroad in Italy. When first in Europe, I found myself feeling out of place and judged based on the clothing I wore. I remember packing for the semester and looking up outfits on pinterest that typical italian women would wear. Even with this research, there was never one moment where I was viewed as anything other than an american student. It felt like a clique that no matter how hard I tried to fit in, there was still a special secret that I would never be able to find out. This was really the only form of culture shock that I experienced while abroad. It was one of the first times that I was obviously judged immediately for my appearance. This was more prevalent in some cities that I visited compare to others. Especially, in cities like Prague, natives told us how much they hated americans. They told us this before we even spoke. The citizens could tell by our mannerisms and outfits, that we were American. Even when we were trying to fit in. Many students studying abroad would buy “authentic” italian leather jackets, shoes and bags to better blend into the city and its people. Italians, however, were still able to automatically label the women who were trying to look italian wearing their leather goods bought at the central market vs. real italians wearing actual authentic leather.
Over the previous spring semester, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Florence, Italy and it was the most incredible experience. However, I really did feel a bit like an outsider when it came to fashion. It was always so easy to spot an American student, just based on choice of dress. When the weather started to get warm, I was ready to put on my shorts and tank tops, but that was not the case for residents. There were multiple times I would walk out of my apartment in a sun dress or a tank top, but everyone else was still in winter coats. I felt so out of place and felt the need to go change and cover up. When I am in the states, any time the sun is out I am ready to take off layers of clothing because I think that means summer time. But was definitely not the case in Italy. Locals were in warm coats until about May and every American student was in their t-shirts and shorts. It was a huge culture difference and really made me feel like I stood out and was doing something wrong. I tried my best to dress more like those around me to make sure I did not stand out as much. I really wanted to “look the part” and make sure I was fitting in with the culture.
I don’t think the spectacle is something that can actually be defined as one specific thing. The definition of this concept depends on who is analyzing it. I believe that in “our time”, fashion is best defined through the use of images. The medium in which we most often see these images is through social media. We can explore every aspect of the fashion industry through the media and we can do this within moments. Experiencing the world fashion is at our finger tips 24/7. A great example of this is Olivia Culpo, a former Miss Universe, model, and style guru. She is constantly traveling the world, from NY fashion week to Paris Fashion Week. It is fun to keep up with her and the trends/fashions she is wearing depending on where she is in the world!
After completing the Zeitgeist worksheet, I have to say, I was concerned. As a TMD senior at URI I have taken my fair share of fashion courses and the history of fashion is definitely much easier to follow and track than it is today. Things are a lot less clear cut and hard to predict in the fashion world now and that is concerning, especially for merchandising majors like myself. Completing the worksheet helped me understand the industry as best as I could. Something that stood out to me in my analysis was the innovators and fashion leaders category. My group agreed that Kanye West could be considered a fashion innovator of our time. I think this is a great example because his new collection was just shown in NY Fashion Week and there was a lot of controversy about the show. Ever since that, I have seen Yeezy inspired clothing and shoes on all the websites that I frequently shop. Lulus.com and Missguided.com are two websites in which I have started seeing the clear strap/heel shoes that were shown in Yeezy’s collection.
A time that I felt as though I was “in the wrong place” or “out of place” though fashion was during my five week program in Israel. We had been driving across the country stopping in different area to see different historical buildings, landmarks, and hike. One morning we stopped in Jerusalem which is considered one of the most religious regions of the country. Due to being on our way to a hike after our quick detour we were all dressed in athletic shorts, t-shirts, and hiking boots. Since Jerusalem is a religious area the “appropriate” attire for young women is not one where others can see the majority of their legs and arms. As we all piled out of the bus we received unsatisfied looks from onlookers (specifically the men). Although this occurred when I was sixteen I still recall the exact looks that we received at twenty two. They did not approve of the clothing that we had on. We were told that we needed to cover up our legs due to the area and different locations we were going to see. Even though it was extremely hot out all of the girls pulled either pants or long skirts over their shorts and covered out shoulders with a shall making sure that we were covered. Although the guys on our trip were also dressed in shirts and t-shirts they did not have to change their attire, only the girls. This was the first time that I had experienced being “out of place” and needed to change my attire die to where I was.
The world of fashion is found in cosmopolitan areas, in cities, and near cities. Fashion is in tv, Instagram, magazines, look books, stores, and on the “it” girl. Different medias may present different fashion world such as street fashion or the red carpet. Some of these different types of media tell you what to buy
When it comes to analyzing this so-called “spectacle”, I do not believe that it can actually be defined into something that people could all agree on. A person in the world of Fashion could perceive this analyzation differently than what another person could be seeing. In my opinion, I believe a “spectacle” is the trending basis that is revolving in our every day lives. Nowadays, our generation uses social media as a necessity. To engage, relate and learn from others through a screen that we (this generation) sees as a compliance, changing the way people perceive scenes of their everyday lives. Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat play a huge role. I know that the first thing I do when I wake up is to go through my entire newsfeed on all those apps just to catch up on what’s trending. This “spectacle” absorbs audience in, allowing control and the ability to create a foundation.
Social Media is EVERYTHING in 2016. It is the resource for gossip, announcements, fitness, food, and most important fashion. One of the biggest source is Instagram. Someone’s outfit is on display in every photo whether it be directly related or not. The viewers might not immediately mentally remember the video for the clothes but subconsciously they do. However it is not uncommon for people to re-create looks found on Instagram. Icons like the Kardashian Klan, Selena Gomez and Blake Lively are constantly being looked at for fashion inspiration. Some stores even market their clothes with a picture of a celebrity wearing a similar one. Here is an example.
The “World of Fashion” is a BOLD term to use. There are countless area’s of the world where fashion means something different. Instagram gives every aspect of those area’s depending on where you look. Someone following people like the Kardashians are going to see high end designers and not realistic everyday outfits. Yet we are regular people are able to pull bits and pieces of their luxurious life into ours. A perfect example is shown above. You might not necessarily wear it the way Kylie did but you are able to incorporate it into a more casual ensemble.