Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mirror, mirror; me

Amidst the looming stress around me, I have a sense of peace. I do believe that everything is going to be all right. I feel a separation from all that I have been grasping onto; the identity that I once adhered to, is quickly fading.

My first steps on this road began when I began to explore my identity. This project has taken me down a road that I have been longing to travel, yet have been afraid to explore. During these past few months, I realize that I have been running away from myself. For nine years, I have been avoiding the recognition of my own identity. I have been searching and striving to find the perfect version of myself, the ideal representation of self, the one that will be best accepted by society, and even, by the ones I love. Blonde to brunette, side swept to full bangs, unmarked skin to a tattoo, shy to comfortable, afraid to peace—so many changes are taking place since the decision to return to me.

Who have I been trying to be—what identities have I been adopting; what have I been hiding behind?

I realize I have been living in fear. I have been harboring a deep fear that came as a result of my fragile existence behind the facades I created. I was constantly afraid they were transparent, so I kept running, striving, pretending, out of fear that if I paused too long, people might actually see me, or if someone came too close they would see behind that which I used to hide. I was a scared soul, afraid of myself, trying to fool the outside world. And all the while, deceiving myself.

Where did this come from? For nine years, I have been here, or I have been there, successfully hiding from myself, existing, camouflaged in the world. I am beginning to experience freedom and peace as I slowly return to myself. "Love your neighbor as yourself," I realize I need to love myself as neighbor, as I have been under the influence, and unable to see, me as I am, fearing that others will judge me just as harshly as I judge myself.

How did this all begin—why did I start hiding? I initiated the fabrication of this facade in junior high. This was the time when I became self aware, and it was the time that held the initial creation of the internal image I have been comparing myself to. Like most American junior-high-age girls, I developed an image that defined beauty. Beauty to me looked like my friend—Lauren R; the tall, skinny, blonde, outgoing, athletic, cheerleader, who captured the hearts of every boy in our class. I can now admit, I wanted to be her—or at least look just like her. But I did not. I was short, not incredibly thin, brunette, with bangs, and shy. I was the opposite of her, yet we shared the same name. She, in my mind, was the beautiful Lauren, and I was the other.

Validating this perspective of what I was beginning to believe was the idealization of beauty, were the fashion magazines that I allowed to saturate my life. Recognizing a consistent definition of beauty that surfaced amongst the various publications, I adopted the belief that the social ideal was one that aligned with the characteristics of my friend. I did not possess anything that remotely aligned with this definition of beauty, and therefore, grew to despise my appearance, and slowly, my entire self.

The transformation began. My mission to achieve beauty began the summer before I began sixth grade. I was determined to be beautiful, and this meant that much needed to change. I was going to be attractive, and therefore, I was going to be blonde, I was going to be tan, I was going to be thin—I was going to become the beautiful Lauren.

Nine years I have been working to maintain this identity, fooling the world and disguising myself. For nine years I have been striving to uphold this image of beauty, until I realized what I had been struggling to uphold, and upon deciding to let go, I am watching it shatter.
Recently, I made the decision to begin the long walk home. I have awoken to the realization that I had been running away from myself, avoiding the recognition of who I am. I feel as though I had been held in captivity, under the intoxicating influence of the fashion industry, and the definition of beauty that is communicated. This definition was one that I did not naturally fit, and therefore felt irrelevant, and which led to a deteriorated sense of self. This project, and the research I have been conducting for the past six months has been a restorative journey for my soul.
I am once again brunette. I once again have bangs. I am not struggling to be this person I am not—I am no longer being crushed by the weight of the false definition I have been trying to live into. I am defining my own.

It is easier now, to get dressed each morning, as I am not trying to pick the perfect costume to hide behind, I am simply dressing for the role of myself. I ask myself who I am, and wait for the answer. The voices are beginning to quiet, and I am listening to my heart—to the definition of beauty in which God has created me.
I had the realization this past week, that my capstone project will not change the world. I can not break the entire system of monarchy we live within; I can not liberate our nation from the control. But, I can choose to be free. I can step into anarchy and choose to fight against the dictatorial control that I have allowed the fashion industry to have upon my life.

I may not be able to change the world with this project, but it has changed mine.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Storybook beginning

Again. Another change. Again, I have developed a new idea. This is the challenge I combat that so often prevents me from moving forward. This indecisive mind that sees possibility, and this passionate soul that sprints so quickly in the new direction, and these eyes that are intrigued by all that is around me.

My most recent and exciting change was inspired by the film, American Beauty. I have realized that the issue I am combating is so much larger than something a poster will impact. I want to encourage people to think, but I do not feel prepared to put this into the world yet. The most powerful thing I think I can do right now is to collect and record all that I have been researching, observing and inquiring about during these past few months.

I am going to make a book.

I want to tell a story—I want to reveal the stronghold that the messages communicated by the fashion industry have upon our society and the power they have in shaping our definition of beauty. I have been impacted so intensely by this research, that I want to write a book that records my thoughts and findings.

I was beginning to lose heart, with the realization that my guerilla marketing campaign was not going to be enough to change the world.

This, I am passionate about.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Revealing anger

I have reached a point with this project, I am fueled by something more powerful now. It has, as I've mentioned, gone past personal. Now I'm fueled by anger.

The impact that the fashion industry has upon our society is outrageous—it is the leading cause of mental illness through eating disorders. What is this? Why is it happening? Why are we allowing it?

A 300 billion dollar industry as the source of this insanity. People are dying, people are in bondage, people are controlled by mental anguish—and for what? They are just clothes.

What have we done

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Our journey continues

Hello dear Friends!
Thank you for joining me thus far on my adventure of inquiry. It has been a long road, and the journey continues. Although maintaining the same quest, I am traveling a new path...

I have created another blog, which is the result of the thoughts and dialogue that has occurred in this space. I will still post my inquiries here occasionally as well, but my main focus, after these months of research and analysis, is on the final product that is now finally taking shape.

Please join me in this as well,

Be ready to question your definition of identity—I look forward to hearing your thoughts + insights. Hoping to hear from you soon!

Monday, May 3, 2010

True influence

What am I influenced by?

Well obviously the monarchy. But how—how am I influenced?

I have been battling for longer than this project. Being a woman, I believe it started when I was began elementary school and started interacting with others, realizing that the external sources had influence, and that I was therefore influence-able.

I remember when one of my friends told me that my dress made me look pregnant. I was in third grade. I was mortified. Yes, it must have been sometime in elementary school when I became aware of my clothing and how it made me look.

This is it.
'How it made me...' that phrase, this is the problem. It didn't make me anything. I existed independently from it. I did before I wore it, I did after, and I do now.

So today, what am I influenced by. What have I bought and why? What are the stories?

This will be an interesting look...

Heart of the anarchist

This project became painful the moment it became personal.

Although, thinking of it now, it has always been personal for me. What happened then? Why is it seemingly more difficult right now for me to move on this? Why am I afraid to act upon the plans I have developed thus far?

Maybe it's because I realize how much am still controlled by the monarchy. This realization has me afraid of the very anarchy I propose—the very thing I have been encouraging to take hold is the source of fear I am experiencing now.

I wish it weren't this way.

If I could I wish I could just be analytical about this, and logical even. I wish I could simply set out and accomplish the task before me. I can, and I have to. I will, but this project has been infused with emotion.

I need to channel this. This passion, this emotion, this fear, this anger, I need to channel it to result in progress. I have been making progress, but not taking action.

Today, I will.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Freedom of speech

I have designed the cards for the guerilla campaign and now just need to find a way to print them and gather a group of brave friends to help me embark upon this mission.

I have to be careful in how I go about attempting this, as some have fear that I might be doing something illegal. I do not really see how this is illegal, as all I am doing is encouraging thought by posing questions of inquiry. How could this be illegal... does it not fall into the category of freedom of speech under the First Amendment? I am not defacing property, or vandalizing merchandise, I am just asking questions.

Okay. I just looked up the definitions of vandalism, defacement, and hooligan—none of which my mission or myself align with. I checked the laws regarding vandalism, and I feel that the only account for which I might be possibly charged is the decrease of economic gain. This though, is not my intent. All I am attempting to achieve through this campaign is to ignite thought—to make people pause in their moment of purchase and actually question where their current belief of fashion came from. I want to make people wonder how their belief was developed and think about who it was that told them what was or was not beautiful.

Is this illegal? I think not.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A spark for fire

"The unreal is more powerful than the real. Because nothing is as perfect as you can imagine it. Because its only intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on and on. If you can change the way people think. The way they see themselves. The way they see the world. You can change the way people live their lives. That’s the only lasting thing you can create."

Thank you Natalie for sharing this quote, and thank you Chuck Palahniuk for this thoughtful insight.
I am thankful for this life, for this world, and how, when you take time, even one moment, and look for beauty, it is possible to find it. Often beauty exists in the most unlikely, or unexpected of places. It is in perspective, it is a simple shift. Nothing changes, but the way in which we choose to see. Inspiration, therefore, is all around; it is just a matter of seeing.
This is what I hope to do, this is now my mission, to shift perspectives and change the way people see. I am not attempting to revolutionize the world, as I had initially with collegiate spirit, but rather to propose a lens for those willing to see in a new light.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Back to the heart

Reviewing my presentations, I realize that what I set out to achieve initially at the beginning of last quarter when I started this project is exactly the direction I am currently pursuing today.

"Visual communication of ideas to inspire societal change and the way we define beauty."

Yes. This is from my first presentation, and I have stayed aligned with this goal, I just had no idea that it would take the form of a guerilla marketing campaign. Who knew?
Throughout this project I kept asking questions.

I kept inquiring—my focus has been to ignite inquiry.

The topic I have chosen is a matter of perception versus reality. There is a monarchy that has existed within the fashion industry since the 17th century. Although the power, overtime, has shifted from France to America, and rather than being solely political, it exists within the realm of mass media publication and is based upon opinion that is exerted from the pages of Vogue.

The monarchy today, the one existing within the fashion industry, is it real, or simply a perception of reality? With either case, I have realized that clothing is nothing more than costume in context. It is not identity, but merely fabric to fit the varied roles that we play in our lives.

Irregardless of what the monarchy proclaims we should or should not wear, we are free. We have a system of anarchy, we just often choose not to fully realize and fully embrace this reality.
Ok. So, how can I influence change here? There are infinite solutions to this, but the one I am pursuing is that of inquiry. I am going to present questions to the public that initiate thought.
How do you develop your perception of reality?
How do you define yourself?
Where do you derive your self-worth?
What is beauty?
What is clothing—is it costume or is it identity?
What inspires you?
What is fashion?
Is beauty a universal concept?
What is our societal definition of beauty?
Are you confined by distorted ideas of beauty?
What is confidence?
What is individuality?
What is style?
If clothing is an expression of self, what are you saying?
What is dressing-up versus clothing?
We should dress in the costumes of ourselves.
True style is the freedom to be unique.
True beauty is acceptance of self; it is individuality.
The original purpose of clothing is to clothe, but beyond this, clothing is a possible means for self-expression. Some people wear clothes for its intended purpose, while others wear clothes to make a statement.

What to say

Okay. So my project is going to be a guerilla marketing campaign.

Now I am moving forward, and to continue in this direction the next step is for me to identify the main messages that I want to communicate. What is it that I want to say—what is it that I want people to know? Once this is identified, how do I say it? One thing at a time now! I can only do one step before getting to the other. Focus.

I'm going to review my presentations and gather the main points. I hope this will make things become clear—at least clearer than they are presently.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Revelation to revolution

During my presentation yesterday, I had a moment of inspiration.

I realized that it's not a museum exhibit that I should be creating, but rather a guerilla marketing campaign.

I want to share information, spark something that changes perspectives, and inspire people to question the monarchy that reigns within our society. The context of a museum, although a great means for sharing information, is not the right context for what it is that I am attempting with my capstone.

If it is 'anarchy' that I am wanting to spark, anarchy from the fashion monarchy, looking back in history, anarchy was never achieved through the safe and structured walls of a museum. Never. Anarchy was ignited amongst the people, it was a stirring from underneath that shook the foundation of the system at the top.

I need to unleash a current that inspires change—one that makes people take notice, one that is bold, one that speaks so loudly that others begin to hear.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Presentation—takes initiation

The first of three for our final capstone projects, and number one is tomorrow.

Let's go.
I have been thinking about this for many months now in theory, and the challenge with presenting tomorrow is that I have to be concise. Being concise is something I struggle with, as I love thinking thoughts, and thinking so many kinds of thoughts about the same topic, that I often think my way into paralysis when I embark upon too much analysis. Dad was right—paralysis by analysis actually occurs. Now, if I can find a way to combat this.

It is simple really, just keep moving forward. Yes, ok, so the real challenge I realize is in the implementation of this behavior...

To keep moving forward with this project, I need to answer a few questions as my presentation will consist of the results.

1. What is the problem I have identified?
2. What am I attempting to do?
3. Why is this important?
4. What is my proposed solution/ how do I achieve what I am attempting?
5. What do I expect to present/ what is my inspiration?
1. Our societal relationship with clothing is dictated by a monarchy.
The problem that I have identified is that there is a powerful external source of influence that impacts the way in which we define beauty in regard to clothing.
Societies around the globe have been influenced by a form of this external force since the 17th century.
This began in the historic form of a monarchy, originating in France with Louis XIV and the court at Versailles. Today, a similar power exists with the monarchy established by Anna Wintour and Vogue.
The exerted opinions of those at the head of the monarchy, both historically and currently within society, influence those underneath them + shape the relationship they have with clothing in light of their personal opinions

Societal relationship with clothing is a consequence of the monarchy.

2. I will expose the existing monarchical system of Vogue.
I am attempting to reveal the impact that the fashion industry, as led by Vogue, has upon our personal relationships with clothing.

3. Our existing societal relationship with clothing is distorted.
We give too much power and regard the opinions as expressed by the fashion industry with too high esteem, that the words and images found in fashion magazines become our dictators—we allow them to dictate our relationship with clothing, (we allow them to shape our identity).

4. I am proposing anarchy.
The anarchy that I propose takes form within the mind of each individual. By revealing the parallels between Louis XIV and the French Court + Anna Wintour and Vogue through the medium of an exhibit, I hope that through this exposure to historical references and current societal observations, to empower others to desire change and realize that freedom from the monarchy is available to those who step out and make their own choices in clothing—realizing that clothing is not your identity, it is only a costume.

5. Let's begin a revolution—today.
My inspiration is the French Revolution. The people of France recognized that there was a problem, and they took action. They revolted against the injustice of their nation, and ignited change in the system. Today, let's do the same.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Anarchy + identity

"Understanding identity in relation to clothing and the consequence of

Examination of the fashion industry through the monarchies of Louis XIV
from France + Anna Wintour of Vogue, to determine how we can develop a
sense of anarchy for our identity.


I really need to get over myself and this insane trepidation that exists within me. I realize how afraid I have been to simply post my thoughts in this space. Why is this? It seems crazy, but I think it is fear of criticism, now that I really look at it.

The thing is, there is no longer any time for fear... it is time for action!

Okay, so what direction am I going?

I was on the brink of abandoning Louis XIV and Anna Wintour altogether, but luckily, my professor prevented me from this as it would have had me pursuing further research in this rapidly diminishing sliver of time that I have left. Thank you again!

Bah! Why do I always do this? Is anyone else prone to abandoning ideas when it is time to move forward? Well, I am about to turn over a new leaf and for once, stick with my original idea. It is a good idea that I had! I need to remember this. It is not the best, and cannot be, but it is intriguing, and all I need now is to execute my externalization/deliverable in a way that invites others to learn about this topic. I need to make Louis + Anna relevant to those outside myself. I know I find this parallel interesting, but I have to invite others into this conversation in a way that is compelling.

What exactly is this conversation?

Mmm... time to think some thoughts on this one. The goal is to be concise in my answer—clear, and concise with a well-defined target audience. I cannot be all things to all people, so I have to stop trying. I just need to answer this one truthfully so that I can move on and move forward from here.

Here's to progressing forward!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

True Beauty

Moving on, finding a path

Beauty, clothing, fashion or identity...

Should I look at all of these, or do I need to pick one? If just one, which one?
Revealing the heart of the fashion industry to find freedom from clothing, to develop an understanding of true identity, one in which we can find beauty.
Is this clear? I understand it... will others, do you?

Polyvore, my revolution ally

As noted in the New Yorker regarding Polyvore...
Fashion magazines are widely perceived to be snake pits, but the Polyvore community values kindliness, mutual affirmation, and tact. Most of the comments that users make about other people’s sets are full of smiley faces and exclamation points; flamers are quickly ostracized.

“It’s a very positive environment to be in,” Lee said. If MonChanel’s namesake once declared, “Elegance is refusal,” the site’s ethos is more like “Elegance is inclusion.”

Here the pimply teen-ager floats blissfully free from test-marketed cover lines promising a hotter body in ten days. “I really wish I’d had Polyvore when I was little, because when I was reading the magazines I would look at the models and be, like, ‘Oh, these people are so thin’—sometimes I’d just feel so horrible,” Lee said.

“To have some place where you can express yourself and get compliments and feedback—I think that’s really important.”

Evaluating, now making movement

Reflecting was lovely, but now to make actual movement...
Information evaluation:
Client / the museum + me
Audience / individuals who wear clothes
Message / true identity is not looking like everyone else, it is looking like yourself
Client motivation /clothing is costume
Audience motivation / desire to embrace freedom from the idea that acceptable identity exists in conformity to the monarchy of fashion in our society
Competition / Dove campaign for real beauty
Environment / mis-interpretation of the exhibit message
Audience desired response / analysis of personal relationship with clothing
I want to help individuals redefine their identity + find freedom from clothing, by revealing truths of the industry

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Reflecting toward movement

Where to now? I think I have asked this question before. So many times throughout this process have I wondered where I should go—what direction to take. Now is the time that I just need to move. I have researched this topic of fashion, beauty, and identity within our society and that of the past. I need to recognize that there will always be more for me to learn, there is so much out there, and so many people have developed thoughts on this topic long before me. In light of this, I also need to have confidence in all I have learned and in the ideas that I have for communicating my thoughts on all of this.

...I feel as though I as swirling in a hurricane of information, images, and ideas... STOP. The winds have quieted; I need to be still. It is time to process the information!
Thank you Mark Oldach for writing about creativity + thank you Dominic for sending us his article. Processing the Information is a roadmap for the creative. It does not reveal the destination, but provides advice as to how we can reach our own amidst the torrent of information we travel through as designers.
Now, insight as how to move forward...
Review. Reorganize. Restate. Readdress. Reword.

1. Review all notes and research.
2. Reorganize the information you have gathered.
3. Restate the information in various forms.
4. Readdress the project objective.
5. Reword the project objective as design criteria.

"Give yourself the luxury of time to let the information marinate in your brain." Effective results are the product of a specific message and a clearly identified audience...
Focused objectives. Specific audience. Defined expectations. Single message.

Do not be all things to all people!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Same thoughts, new community

The unoriginal

I have heard it stated that there is no such thing as an original idea. Whatever someone comes up with is a result of something that has already been done before.

For some crazy reason, I thought that my ideas about the fashion world were unique in some way and exempt from this. I have realized, they are definitely not. This was, initially, disappointing. I have not pioneered a new thought. I have not come up with an original idea. But I found peace in realizing that there is a community of individuals who also feel as I do about the fashion industry—an anarchy is already occurring...

This is so very exciting! These people are the ones who I can look to and analyze as I begin to develop a framework for the exhibit.
On Thursday night I went to the SAM. I was exploring the exhibits and researching the spaces and how they are used to reveal, share and teach an audience. It was interesting to see how exhibit designers and curators used the physical space to tell a story about the artist. This is what I need to work on, developing the outline for my story so that I can begin to create.

But what is the story I am trying to tell...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Freedom in form

I'm in Parnassus, and all around me I see actors and actresses who have defied the imposing instructions of fashion directors.

I wonder, how have these individuals become as such; how have they embraced anarchy in the midst of monarchy?

Return to inquiry

It has been some time since I last wrote here.

The break in my writing was due in part to finals week and the craziness of life, and then to spring break where I took time away from any form of structured thinking and gave my mind an invitation to think freely, discussing with friends the ideas I had and exploring, in a fluid way, what I thought and felt about the issue of fashion, style and identity within our society.

It is good to be back.


I have just read my last post to remember where I had abandoned my thoughts before our final presentations last quarter. I discussed the notion of fashion being a consequence—a result of both external and internal influences.

I am pondering this idea, and I begin to look at everyone around me. Looking at the people, these individuals. What are they wearing, what does it say about who they are, what does it reveal? Is it a true representation, is it an accurate external communication of their personality and being? Does it even matter? Or, connecting to a different idea I have previously considered, is clothing just a costume? Is everyone wearing costumes? What am I wearing, what is my costume, is it accurate? Who am I... can my clothing communicate this, can my style communicate my identity?

If we do view clothing as costume in context, what influences our decisions about what character we will be, what role we will play, and how we will indicate/ represent this character's identity?

Is there a costume designer? A fashion director? Yes.
We are the actors and actresses, but is this their show, or ours?


Louis XIV is to French Revolution as Anna Wintour is to ____.

Monarchy led to anarchy, is this where we need to go? Not completely, but it is the development of the mindset of anarchy that will lead to freedom from the external imposition of conformity in our visual identities.

Now it's time to fill in the blank, to figure out where to go...

Monday, March 8, 2010


How do trends result? Where do they come from? How do we generate the current definitions of beauty that we adhere to?

A new way of thinking about fashion and beauty is that they are a consequence of the society-the environment, the times and the people that one grows up in and around.

Fashion as a consequence...this makes sense, I believe. The clothing we wear is the result of one's society. I had never thought about this until my professor mentioned it to me today.

Is fashion the product of marketing and personal choice? I believe also that it is the reflection of internal and external influences.

Why do we like what we do? Why do we choose what we do? What makes us believe that something looks 'good'? I remember a time when I thought that stirrup pants were awesome and that retainers were super cool. When I was five, all I would wear was biking shorts. It was a comfort thing for me. But now, I will wear tight fitting jeans that restrict my movement, but are 'in style'. (Mine went through the dryer.)

I can't stop wondering why? What sparked the change? Where are my biking shorts + stirrups pants?

Loren/ Lauren

The Italian actress, Sophia Loren, recognized around the world as an image of beauty, influenced the way we both define and understand the ideal. In 1984 she authored a beauty guide, further hoping to change perceptions and redefine our societal definitions, where she described that true beauty exists in charm, warmth, wisdom, intelligence and imagination.

Discovering this made me wonder for a moment if I am going the right direction... is an exhibit too much? Is this too large an undertaking? Should I write a book, or have some sort of printed deliverable? Would this be best?

So many questions.

Taking a step back and thinking through my project further, I realize that a museum exhibit is probably the best way to share this information most effectively and achieve the influence I am hoping for.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Something found

Could it be? Have I happened upon a direction for my capstone?

I think, yes...

Miracle of miracles, today my presentation was understood. I have been feeling as though I was speaking tangled thoughts to my classmates throughout the quarter, but today, there was clarity within my words.

This has happened just in time, as today was our last presentation (pecha kucha style) before our final in two weeks.

It seems that it has come together though, and for this I am truly grateful.

I have decided that my capstone is going to be presented in the form of a museum exhibit. This seems like the best way to go about sharing all this information I have been bringing together, yet it is a slightly daunting undertaking. A paper and a poster series was one of my previous possible solutions, and now I am creating an exhibit—only slightly more involved!

I am very excited about this though, so it's time to keep moving forward!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Who am I talking to

Thinking about all I have been researching and discovering lately, I am a little confused as to who I am trying to talk to.

Is is Anna Wintour / Vogue / young women / all women / the French / marketing personnel / advertising agencies / visual communication designers?

I feel as though I have identified many issues- or I am at least realizing that there are many- within the world of fashion and the influence it has on our society and the ways in which we define beauty.

What can I do, and who can I talk to? I need to identify all the possible modes of communication and all the possible audiences...

With these lists, I need to figure out what I would like to do and who I would like to talk to?

Looking at all of this I can then determine what I should say and who I should communicate to in order to inspire change within our society.

This is now the challenge.

Although intimidating in some regard, I am looking forward to the possibility to change how we think about, understand and define beauty...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Thinking thoughts

What is necessary to shepherd the idea of the "unique"?

I'm interested in changing the ways we think about fashion today.

How can I share the idea of thinking of clothing as costume, not as identity—and ourselves as the costume designer, not as the courtiers/bourgeois who simply mirror the monarchy?

It is a new idea of freedom; freedom from the idea that we have to conform to become beautiful.


So, fashion is not bad. It has just become distorted through the generated perceptions. Although fashion is ingrained within our society, it is possible to change our perspective. Let's shepherd the 'unique'!


{Now, the challenge is to bring this perspective into our society... any suggestions, friends?}

Finding identity and remembering individuality

The fashion industry is not bad entirely, yet as I further my research, I am realizing that it is built upon perceptions of power.

Those at the top have effectively created the image that they are in control—they look to one another for direction, validating their positions, and we, the bourgeois individuals of society, also look to them, furthering their influential role within our society by validating their aristocratic power.

Something needs to change, and I believe it is our perception of the Industry.

Let's stop. Just for a moment and look around.

How can we encourage change, or curate a new way of thinking?

I believe we need to:
-Fashion is like a current; it's always changing.
-Do we follow it's movement?
-I do, and many of us are easily swept away by it.

-We are not obligated to look a certain way.
-We are the lead character in our story, so we do have a choice.
-We are also the costume designer, so there are no strict limitations.

-The exerted opinions of those within the high ranks of the Industry dictate what's acceptable
-It is a monarchy, not a dictatorship
-We have the freedom to choose

-We have the capability to optimize fashions for humans
-We lost the appreciation for creativity and became consumed with efficiency and productivity
-Images of others filled our society and we began to compare ourselves

-Once we gained the ability for mass-production we became obsessed with the ability to copy
-We stopped being individual and began to look to the aristocrats to dictate what we wore
-It is time to change and stop striving to look like the reflections and visions of others

Monday, February 22, 2010

Proposal—hopefully not too abstract

Visual Communication and the Perception Beauty in our Society: A Paradigm of Vogue and the French Court of Louis XIV


The perception of beauty within our society is influenced by a variety of external sources. A result of advertising, marketing, and the communication of messages through visual imagery, the fashion industry has largely developed the psychological understandings of beauty that we adhere to today. The power that is being exerted by the industry upon our society has direct parallels to the structure and culture of the French Court in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. During his reign, the influence of King Louis XIV was felt, not only within the French Court, but also through reverberations amongst the European nations. This assumption of authority quickly led to King Louis XIV’s recognition as the dominant monarch of the World of Fashion. Looking to the King’s court as a model reveals that fashion has had an explicit role in the development of culture and national identity. By recognizing the influence that one man had on the external identity of Europeans, we can use the French court to develop a diagrammatic framework to understand the system of the fashion industry today and its influence upon our modern society. Through visual exploration and analysis I will reveal the ways in which our culture is largely developed by the opinions of those governing the World of Fashion today. An exploration into the power of exerted influence upon societal perceptions, I will use design to visually explain the system of fashion. Within this framework I will draw parallels between the French Court, led by Louis XIV, and the fashion industry in its current existence.


This is very exciting. I have just applied for the UW Undergraduate Research Symposium, and this is my official 'Abstract Proposal'. I love the name, truly!

Saturday, February 20, 2010


On Wednesday afternoon, I bought jeans that are not baggy.

I bought jeans that fit.

[...and I like them!]


Here's what happened.

I went to Buffalo Exchange, and just thought I would search their jean section. Unexpectedly, I happened upon two pairs that actually fit.

I have bought into the societal norm of women's fashion, and am now an individual who wears jeans that are form-fitting.

Was my proclamation of wearing baggy jeans one that was out of frustration for my inability to actually find jeans that fit? Was I wanting to "stick it to the man" of fashion?

This is a mini-case study about the psychology of fashion + individuals in the context of societal trends and it has me analyzing the structure of the French Court from the position of the courtiers, and how they longed to fit-in with the acceptable fashions. Would I have strived to fit-in, or been one who was in revolt?

These are things I am pondering...

It is good to finally be honest with you all though.

Fashion frenzy; confusion, then clarity, now...

All this study of fashion is making me crazy.

I thought my identity was surfacing, but plunging into this world discussing identity, beauty and clothes has me drowning.

I went on a date last night, and tried on at least 5 different assemblages of my latest thrift store finds, and I just ended up in a tangle of material...

My roommate, an innocent bystander in my flurry of confusion, just laughed at me. I was desperate for someone's opinion, and asked her if I looked funny in my patterned skirt, tights and cowboy boots. Her response, simple, yet profound in my opinion, was that what ever I chose to wear, honestly did not make a difference.

"The thing is, it really doesn't matter."

WHAT. Oh, yes. But of course! I had already determined this. I don't care what people think anymore. That's right. I was "free" from that... remember Anna, I had suggested that you let Vogue know.


Yes, so apparently, I am still a member of the court— or at least striving to be. I want to look like I belong, or at least look good. I still have yet to determine what that even means for myself.

What is my style? My roommate is right; it sincerely does not matter. But yet, I feel as though it does. I long to be free from this...

Well, let's just pretend for a moment that it does matter. If it did, what would I like my style to be? I would want to be an effortless bohemian beauty, hippie-chic if you will. But simple. There is so much beauty in simplicity I believe.

This completely contradicts the style of Louis XIV, and I'm not sure what Anna Wintour would say about it, but, let's pretend for a moment, that it does not matter. Oh, but it doesn't.

ALL THAT'S REAL IS WHAT YOU FEEL...This is a theory that expresses the power of perception. It impacts us immensely, as can be seen in both the historical context of the French court and our modern context with Vogue, and how individuals conform to gain acceptance of the aristocratic powers that be...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Brain thought revelation; understanding life's beauty

Design is a way to think.

It is a lifestyle, a process, a way to approach everything.

Life can be lived as a designer, and that actually means something; it is a system for living.

Yet, one has to realize that this system, however beautifully designed, cannot be controlled. Life is freeform, and a designer's systematic approach to the design of life is one that is purely conceptual in all reality.

Life can be "designed" up to a point, but we each have to come to peace with the fact that its beauty exists within the unknown. This beauty is in life's fluidity, and the inability to tame it completely.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Style is

I have just identified that I like my jeans to be baggy, it's apart of my style.

After deliberation, reasoning, a little psychoanalysis, and personal liberation, I decided to buy pair #3!

It may be suggested that style reigns supreme over comfort or personal preference, but really, fashion is not a dictatorship. We do not answer to anyone but ourselves in this "aristocracy" as we wear our own clothes. The aristocracy is merely suggested and aims to impose its laws, doing so successfully through it's publication of fashion magazines and runway shows, but just as the courtiers had a choice to follow King Louis XIV and his fashion trends, so do I, so do we have the choice to follow the Industry's lead, or choose our own pathway of individual style.

The word "style" sounds like something that is pretentious or flashy, but really, style can be simple. For example, I have chosen baggy fitting jeans to be part of my style. Not pretentious, not flashy, just a choice. Style is a collection of choices that we make which create an image, in an assemblage of various materials, colors and shapes, to visually represent who we are. And in this, we have freedom.

Jeans: a tutu story

Today I bought a pair of jeans.

They were $6.50, and they are wonderful.

Not fitting me perfectly though, I can enjoy them in spite of this, as when I wear them, I feel free. By this I mean that I do not feel like I am trying to adhere to any sort of style identity other than that of myself.


In the dressing room though, I was struggling to decide whether or not to purchase this pair of jeans. I had three pairs with me, and was feeling conflicted. Three pairs, all completely different.

This called for a serious evaluation. Here we go...

Pair #1: Fit me like a glove— a tight glove, but a glove none the less. It had rips in it, which I do like, as they create visual interest on the jeans. They were similar to the jeans I have now and love, but the jean weight was thinner.

Pair #2: Fit me well. I had some freedom to move, which was nice. The back pockets had adorable detail that I appreciated, but the front was very plain. The bottom hem was thick, but the jean weight was also thinner than what I was looking for. No rips, but maybe this was good. I will look more responsible this way, and let's be honest, it is more practical.

Pair #3: Fit me just like my favorites! They were slightly baggy, but this is just how I like them. They had some detail on the knee of slight ripping, but no holes. This is good— it's a halfway point between the wild, care-free rips on #1 and the structured practicality of #2. The jean weight is awesome.

Now a decision must be made. Which do I purchase? I want to get a pair that I will wear, one that I will WANT to wear. So I need to evaluate the options here. What is it that I like, why do I always throw on my favorites?

I feel good in them. I love thick jean material, as it feels more durable and as though it will be more functional than the fashion jeans with lycra. So, I like a solid pair of durable jeans. Will I purchase #3 then? But they look a little baggy. People will think they are baggy. Will people think it is strange that I wear baggy jeans?

Wait a moment here...!


Oh. Good question. No, it actually doesn't! "They" are not wearing my jeans. I am wearing my jeans. I like pair #3, and I will therefore wear pair #3. Pair #3 felt like home. Is that silly? Maybe, but it's true; I like how I felt in those jeans, and although the Industry standard might be to wear tight fitting jeans, it does not mean that I have to.


Sorry Louis, it's a different century. There is not an aristocracy anymore. Anna, did you get that? If so, please let Vogue know.

Versatility in essence

Why do we wear what we do? I am so curious.

I have three pairs of jeans, but only tend to wear one of them. Why is this? They do not fit me extraordinarily well, they have two large holes in them, (intended by the designer, but which I have stitched, due to impart to the cold winter air and the simple purpose of functionality), and yet, I wear them as often as possible.

To work, to class, to dinner, to bake cookies, on the weekends, on a date, on vacation— these jeans I find to be incredibly versatile!

I wear these jeans, because I feel good in them. They allow me to move, and I feel like I can be me in these jeans. They are what societal standards might consider to be, "baggy" or ill-fitting, but I'm sorry, I do not like to be restricted by my clothing.

Okay, but wait. I wear high heels. This completely restricts movement. It is challenging to simple walk when wearing these kinds of shoes. So what is the deal here? Why are jeans different? Why do I invite some restriction in my clothing, yet object to others, like my jeans?

Here's my theory. I am a woman. Therefore, I am typically going to be more inclined to be self conscious about my image, (I understand that it depends on the individual, but this is this is based on an extreme generalization). Individually, I am especially self-conscious about my legs, and if they are "restricted", as is commonly experienced with tight jeans that are popular among women's fashion today, I am going to be self conscious that I might be gaining weight. This my friends, is a common fear of a woman, (again, generalization), but this is how I feel.

So, then, am I hiding behind my "baggy" jeans?

I do not believe so. I think I just enjoy being comfortable, much more than I had originally thought, and comfortable jeans, with freedom to move, are important to me. I want to be able to bend and move, without being concerned that my jeans might expose or tear. Comfort— apparently, it IS important to me, and sometimes, it's not all about style.

A compass discovered

Okay Louis. Let's go Anna. I am ready for this.

I have been researching, thinking, reading and watching documentaries about the fashion empires of today, and have identified some major parallels amongst those of the past.

I feel as though I am finally in the right place to diagram, I had to figure out what I was working toward first, which ended up taking longer than I had thought.

Recognizing the many parallels has given me confidence in what I am attempting, and I feel as though my thoughts on the topics of fashion + history + identity are valid. My interest in these areas are finally making sense to me, as before I was feeling scatterbrained, but now I it is becoming clear, as I am recognizing there are valid correlations.

In gaining an understanding of the structure of these systems, the aristocracies of past and present, I feel as though there is really something that can be explained and better understood through visual representation and diagrammatic frameworks.

Before, I was not so sure. I was not sure what I was going to be representing or attempting to explain. But now, it has become more clear.

My diagrams are going to visually explain that there is an existing aristocracy in our world today. I will represent this by showing the correlations between the power structure of 1670 with the French aristocracy of Louis XIV, and the power structure of the fashion Industry of today with the Vogue aristocracy of Anna Wintour.

Finally, a sense of direction...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Changing lanes

It's going to be different than I thought it would.

This is not what I had planned to pursue, but through my research and explorations of the history of fashion, I am unearthing direct correlations between the fashion aristocracy of the past and the Industry of the present.

My research of Louis XIV and Anna Wintour have led me to develop a new analogy that likens the current fashion Industry to a modern-day aristocracy, with Anna Wintour as King Louis.

A comparative diagrammatic framework between Louis XIV and Anna Wintour is how I am going to first attempt to develop a deeper understanding of the Industry. With this developed insight, I am hoping to be led to action and be able to move forward.

Anna Wintour once stated, "There is something about fashion that can make people very nervous."

Yes, Anna, I am beginning to see this.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Oh Louis

What am I trying to do again... I can't seem to figure it out. I was focusing on Louis XIV... he was the original fashionista...

Am I trying to understand, on my own, the world of fashion?

Oh yes, this is what it was.

Okay. This is the first step. I have to understand the Industry as a whole in order to figure out what message needs to be communicated and how to communicate the new message to the right people.

This is step one. One thing at a time.

To understand it, I will make diagrams, and try to help others to see and better understand the Industry as well.

So, who's involved? Let's start here.

Identifying 'The Man' of fashion

Sounds easy, right?

All I have to do, is understand the system of fashion. Just break it down and understand all of its complex bits, to make sense of the madness behind it all. Who is influencing our society and the fashions we wear? Who are these people and want are the factors that develop our fashion choices and influence 'the system'?

Yes, okay, I may have procrastinated on this bit. But honestly, this is a big undertaking, which is why if I was sane, I would have started the moment my professor suggested this task last Thursday for our mid-term presentations tomorrow.

But, apparently, I am not, and have proceeded to think about all this, yet have not a thing to show yet. My great hope is that all of my thinking will make the development of this presentation easier...

...Oh I hope, I hope.

Tonight has the potential to be a very long evening that may extend until morning. I pray for divine inspiration and mental clarity to be able to process through 'the system' and distill it into a comprehensible diagrammatic framework for tomorrow...

I wonder why I somehow always end up thinking too much! I keep realizing this, so when will I change? As wonderful as thinking is, being a crucial part of the process, taking action is often more profitable, as then, you at least have something tangible to show for your efforts!

Well, the hour is now— here am I, about to take action and explore the vast world of fashion!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Beautiful change

A change in perspective.

This is what needed to happen within myself, and is, surprisingly, exactly what I would like to research for my capstone project.

I am interested in exploring how design, through visual communication, can develop, influence and change perspectives.

I want to understand how the societal definition of beauty was developed. I believe it was influenced by the messages communicated from the fashion industry to the public, and I want to show the power that visual communication has on the development of our society.


I thought it was Italy, but I think it is France.

Louis XIV was the epitome of fashionista— he captured the true essence of the word. During the 18th century, his social standing and resulting prominent power single-handedly influenced a nation into a fashion obsession.

This widespread national influence demonstrates that if the right people communicate a message, it can influence a society. There is power in message, and as discussed today in class, there is power in story.

In order to create change We just need to get the "right people" to communicate the "right message" in the context of the right story to our society about true beauty.

My challenge: discovering the right people to communicate the right message.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I have become lost in the thoughts of my own mind.

The direction in which I am heading has become less clear to me as I am further discovering the vast topics that are related to my project.

I feel like a bulldozer. Plowing ahead, not stopping, collecting and carrying anything in its path. Time is passing, and I have got to find some sort of direction within this.

I am not desperate, not scrambling, not scared, not yet. I have hope that as I pursue, like a bulldozer, in this broad direction, that something will surface, that something will become clear.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Design to Change Perspectives.

This is what I want to focus on!

I want to use design to help women, to help people, to see in a new way. I hope to inspire a new way of thinking, that will free us from the confines we feel to be real.

I hope to use design to communicate a message of freedom— freedom that comes when we find peace with who we are, in an acceptance of self.

Now how do I use design to do this...

Monday, February 1, 2010

Analogy in question

What am I doing. What is the problem I have identified?

What is my analogy for it?

I had thought it was about fashion, but I think it is something more.

It is based on fashion, or is it the loss of our sense of self as we each have become diluted by the current of our society and the influence it has upon our choices and how we then see ourselves.

It is this loss of self identity that has us turning to fashion to define our style and create an identity when we don't know who we are.

It is beautiful, and what I would say is true style, when someone can use fashion to make a statement about who they are rather than to define who they are.

I want to change the way society believes we can find our identity, and help us to break free from feeling the need to conform; to stand strong against the current's pull and choose how to express ourselves and how we find our true inner-beauty.

Not being defined by the exterior, but, if one chooses, the exterior can represent the interior on some level. Just as art is a bold representation of its creator at times, in other circumstances, it is simply a means for communication. Similarly, clothing can be used as an external expression of inner-self, and at other times is simply intended to clothe.

I want to redefine society's definition of clothing in order to create a shift in our understanding of it conceptually. I believe that this will improve the existing relationship we have with clothes if we can break through the restrictions we feel forcing us to conform. We need to recognize the freedom we have in this society to dress in the costumes of ourselves.

It is not about blending in with the rest of the cast, but living into and expressing the role your true self plays.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

To be

There is great strength found when we can be, uninhibitedly, ourselves. When we further develop our sense of self, we do not need to look to the structure developed by society that we can conform to in order to gain acceptance– we don't need the false affirmation found when we fit perfectly within the approved structure.

To be yourself in this society, you have to fight for individuality.

It is easy to allow yourself to get swept away with the societal current; to follow the trends, to buy into the latest and most heavily marketed phenomena, and to long after the material successes of our culture.

But these will not bring lasting happiness. These will not create a genuine sense of self. In these things you will not find true beauty. We, our true selves, are being diluted by the messages bombarding our society that claim to identify what we need to be fulfilled.

It is time that we stood against the current.

It is time that we each defined our sense of self. We need to discover the true version of ourselves and make our clothing choices that allow us to dress in the costumes for our lives.

Gaining clarity

We all want to be liked. This is an intrinsic human desire.
To be liked, do we therefore feel as though we need to conform?
What will we look like when we do? What do we look like now? Are we each products of our society, or are we a society of individuals?

I hope we are the latter, but if you look around, if you look in magazines, we are not.

We are surrounded with messages and imagery that tell us what image we should conform to, and what things we should purchase to find happiness and to define ourselves.

My question is then, should we continue to let these messages create the outlines that define our self worth?
Where does it all end and what is the pay off? Are we going to be happy once we look how the TV tells us we should and we have all the stuff that we think we should? How are we going to feel if we don't achieve all of that stuff that we think we should? There is so much to worry about when we fall away from ourselves.

The message we need to communicate is one by Ram Dass; "We are not the sum of our material lives."

We need to communicate differently.

Your stuff is not you. It's just stuff. You are not defined by your material possessions– your identity is not defined by your clothing, although what you wear communicates a message. If you choose for your clothing to make a statement about who you are, make sure it is speaking clearly, and truthfully about who YOU are, not who you believe society tells you who you need to be. This is the difference.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Where from here

I have thought about so much.

I have identified things I need to know.

My brain feels as though it was spinning and unable to contain everything that was on my mind. I took time away and have let my exuberance for this topic simmer.

The next step for me now is to define the terms I set out to understand. Without these definitions, it is going to be near impossible for me to move in a clear direction...

With diagrammatic frameworks for our Wednesday presentations, it is time again to think!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Society + culture

Culture is the result of societal interactions amongst individuals.

I didn't want to forget this gem-thought after speaking with my professor in class. It makes sense though, doesn't it? Think about it for a second....

As we coexist and communicate with one another in our physical environment, we influence and develop the thoughts, beliefs and ideas that collectively create our culture!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Rome and fashion, one dream of many

I want to encourage people to paint outside the lines.

Fashion is not paint by numbers; it is free-form finger paint! We are individuals; we are each intricate and unique pieces of art. Like haute couture clothing, not one of us is a duplicate of the other!

Prior to designing a line of clothing, I would like to explore the world of fashion as defined by Italians– as they set the world standard for the social identification of beauty. Through my coursework in, Italian fashion, nation and culture, I am learning about the development of fashion throughout history and how it has influenced the culture of Italy, and how Rome, being a major world power, has developed our social definition of beauty.

I plan to someday photograph Italian style as I observe it and identify the ways in which fashion and the ideals of beauty have changed over time. I hope to be able to reference works of art that portray and document the cultural trends and fashion throughout the centuries.

Rome is where it started; Rome is where I would like to be.

I want to embark on a research exploration of beauty. I will wear the hat of an ethnographer and step into the shoes of an art historian, becoming both an observer of culture and a researcher of history...

Questions leading to answers

When there is pressure to fit within an acceptable boundary, I have trouble making decisions on my own. This is why finding a "personal style" was and continues to be challenging for me. It is difficult to assert what I like or I do not.

I am struggling to express myself– which is weird, because I am an artist. We are supposed to excel at creative expression! I am realizing the confidence it takes to acknowledge your individuality and embrace who you are, and in turn I am recognizing the lack of confidence that I have.

I find myself caught between being me, the bohemian-chic, Italian-inspired artist and the pressure I feel to maintain the image of responsibility and all that is practical. Why do I feel this?

Why am I living in secret– why do I feel the need to masque my identity, and conform to that which I believe is expected of me?

I need to accept that I will always differ from the societal definition of beauty. Everyone always will, if they are being true to who they are. What can we do to encourage this?

Six questions of how:
1. How can we over come this voice communicated to us by our society? Can we communicate a different message? Can we use design and speak visually?

2. How can we communicate the message that it is okay to be unique?

3. How can we encourage people to accept difference– differences of themselves and amongst others, while inspiring a sense of unity to develop within our society?

4. How can we get people to listen? Who do we target with this message?

5. How can we incorporate the fashion world and encourage them to speak up about the value that they give to original works of art in haute couture?

6. How can we generate understanding of that which defines beauty?

We are part of the whole, but uniquely our own...

Clothes and paint

There is an argument in academia concerning whether or not we are all intrinsically creative.

I believe that we are. As created beings, I think each one of us at the heart understands the importance of and need for creativity in this life.

It has been said that art is the highest form of thought... Art and creativity live outside the boundaries and have the courage to ask,"why," constantly challenging the status quo. Art does not stay within the boundaries, as there are no guidelines to be followed. There is no set standard in which artists are evaluated. We try to establish standards through galleries and museums and connoisseurs in the business to identify what should be valued. Yet the only true method for analysis exists within us. In the end, the question comes back to each of us– what do we like? What appeals to our intrinsic recognition and understanding of true "beauty"?

The answer is the same with clothing. There is not one set standard for beauty, there is not one outfit that is exactly right for that date, that interview, or that reunion. There are types of clothing that are better suited for each occasion, but once this is identified and you realize your chartreuse stilettos and sequin tank are not ideal for meeting your fiances grandmother, you can step back and ask yourself a new set of questions.

What do I feel good in?
What do I want to say?
What do I want to communicate through my visual expression of self?
How am I going to say it...

Just as an artist creating for the sake of expressing one's self, it is crucial to not stifle your creative inspiration by worrying of the judgments of others, but to simply communicate who you are through visual expression. This is where freedom is found and the opinions of others are abandoned. Here, in this state of mind, you can embrace your freedom to choose and be exactly who you are, rather than striving, uncomfortably, to fit within the media-generated definition of beauty.

Style as a state of mind

The Satorialist is now my web homepage, keeping me in a constant state of inquiry as I search to understand what defines fashion, style and beauty.

These people are having fun. They are having fun with their clothing, and it is apparent. Seeing this confidence makes their clothes look good. It does not matter the brand, the designer, the country of its origin– if the article of clothing is used as a deliberate expression of self, no matter its make, it becomes like paint for the artist; used to unlock a bit of the beauty inside of the individual.

This externalized self is a glimpse of beauty– beauty is being simply you, and having the willingness to express who you are.

Being comfortable in your clothing exudes a sort of confidence, therefore beauty is not dependent upon your clothes, but upon your state of mind when you are in your clothes. A sense of self and recognizable comfort.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Satorialist inspiration

Hope was not lost today, and the connecting thread that helped to foster understanding among my peers was my reference to The Satorialist and how this blog has inspired me. Scott Schulman has photographed people of different backgrounds, lifestyles and personalities wearing unexpected but undeniably beautiful assemblages of clothing.

The connecting thread amongst these individuals, is confidence. None of the images or outfits ever look the same. Each tells the story of the wearer. They are unique, they express freedom from the mass-marketed definition of beauty.