Thread for Thought takes on all the recent nationalistic/ fashion exhibits in museums (including the Met and the Brooklyn Museum), questioning how we can define “American fashion” and the difficulty of defining fashion and categorizing it for exhibition purposes.
I do find this particularly interesting, especially in the recent era in which fashion is recontextualized and democratized by the internet (if it isn’t obvious, growing up in middle-middle-class suburban New Jersey didn’t exactly provide me any direct access to experience, awareness, or knowledge of much other than Abercrombie, Hot Topic, and Old Navy — the internet did all that.) So do our concepts of what is “national” relate to what is historically American (cowboys? hip hop?), what is mass-market (the Gap? or designer RTW? Walmart? Urban Outfitters?), “American designers” (who all show in New York, which is not exactly representative of America at large, and with most of their production probably overseas), or what? And in terms of style — what does a global economy and instant worldwide information access (INTERNETZ) do to what defines style? (Threadbared as per usual does a great job of summarizing the digital influence on fashion in the past decade.)
I dress an awful lot like you Scandinavian and Australian girls whose blogs I read daily. So to what extent do trends remain local and to what extent do they spread globally and rapidly, through the internet? (Why do girls in London still look specifically London to me still, although much of their style is similar to fashion in Brooklyn? Are generational fashion differences purely generational or influenced by tech-savviness as well? Do wealthy folks in Iowa order the pieces they see on their favourite LA fashion bloggers online, which they wouldn’t have been able to purchase before without travelling to a major city? Why is it that in other countries I get told I don’t “look American”? Has the internet been responsible for the Japanese obsession with American streetwear/hiphop fashion? What the hell is up with me having so many readers in Germany, Brazil, and Croatia? Can we talk about those 70 million global pageviews that Lookbook.nu gets and what this means for teenagers in Singapore, Sweden, Colombia, Poland, and New Zealand?)