Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Fashion's Obsession With The "Weird"

A common misconception about the fashion industry is that it's all about an idealized version of beauty. P.S It's not. I am well aware that women are being touched up on all our favourite magazines from A to Vogue, skinny is the dominant trend, and makeup, a tool used for beautifying, is an industry in itself. But what people don't know is that fashion is not the pretty girl in your English class that gets all the attention. Fashion is personified by the other girl who sits in the back with the gapped teeth and bushy eyebrows. What was once an industry that promoted a singular look is now a realm of versatility on a constant quest to find the "weird". From gap toothed models to whimsical prints, fashion loves to counter established notions of beauty with unusual silhouettes and bold accessories simply because it can. After all, mother knows best.

When you take a moment to look at a runway show from Alexander McQueen or Marc Jacobs, you enter a world where beauty is undefined. The general public calls it "weird", but can we really define "weird"? What does the word "weird" even mean?

via ivheesalvador.wordpress.com
Once upon a time, the word weird referred to anything supernatural. Today, we call that girl who eats paste in kindergarten a weirdo. In fact, anything that differs from our own reality appears "weird" to us. Unfamiliar foods, unconventional haircuts, and oversized hats are deemed weird because we don't see them on the streets every day. But what if we did? What if the entire world decided to embrace their inner weird and do something they've always wanted to do but didn't because they thought it would be interpreted as weird.

When you look at a fashion trend, how do you decide if it's "weird"?
Is a giant fur stole weird or flamboyant?
Is flamboyant a euphemism for weird?
If so, why are we so keen on the word flamboyant, but cringe at the word "weird"?

via www.womenzmag.com
Weirdness is frowned upon in most societies. You can't just walk up to a stranger and strike a conversation. It's weird. You can't make strange noises in a public setting. It's weird. You can't wear a wizard's hat at school. It's weird. You're not Harry Potter. Fiction can be weird, but you? Definitely not.

If you're weird, you risk being rejected by your peers. Who will accept you if you're too weird?
How would we know if we avoid the weird? What is the appropriate amount of weird that society can tolerate?

Designers embrace weirdness because society doesn't. Fashion aims to be original, unique, and slightly bizarre to challenge those regular folks. That's what keeps it fresh. If we all engaged with our weirdness, would the world be a more creative space? Or would it be a raucous circus?

Ponder It,



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