Tell me how you are dressed and I'll tell you who you are?
Updated: Dec 2, 2020
Can our fashion choices make us truly unique?
Sorry to disappoint the naïve fashion lovers but the answer is no.
Let's go in order and carry out a small premise.
Fashion is not a line to which we can think of adding a new point, fashion follows a circular trend, repeats itself over time, yet never identifies with itself, like an eternal Nietzschean return.In fact, we must start from this awareness to be able to enter the world of fashion.
But, to return to the initial question, whoever wants to work in fashion should always keep in mind the importance of identifying the reference community for which the creative act is carried out: this means defining our target and foreseeing the choices/responses to products offered.
The importance of targetting is demonstrated by the fact that for example LS: N global - the platform that documents consumer behaviour and key industry trends - lists the consumer according to habits, social background, ethnicity and many other algorithms.
This fact unfortunately undermines the illusion that each of us cultivates of feeling unique and in a certain sense special, an illusion of which those who work in the retail sector are fully aware. Starting from this fact, many successful sales strategies aim precisely at product customization by operating in an extremely consumer-centric perspective.
In this sense, the experience of Hans Eijkelboom, a Dutch artist and photographer who for months photographed people around a Birmingham shopping center between July 2013 and September 2014, should be examined.
The work, titled “The Street & Modern Life”, was presented, in line with the title, as a series of moving images that give us the sensation of walking along a street. It is a reflection on the relationship between the individual and the mass, a retrospective of everything we encounter daily and of which we are a part and which seems to suggest us how it is almost impossible to escape from trends, social pressures and the spirit of the present time.
In fact, if on one hand the sliding tapestry of buyers identified by Eijkelboom as gestures, clothes or accessories celebrates the social and cultural diversity of the city, on the other it also suggests the predictable conformity inherent to the "freedoms" of consumers, guided by commercial interests and business.
HANS 'PHOTOGRAPHIC WORK EXPLORES THE CONSTRUCTION OF IDENTITY THROUGH CLOTHING AND PERSONAL APPEARANCE AND, AT THE SAME TIME, THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIAL IDENTITIES IN AN INCREASINGLY GLOBALISED CULTURE.
Eijkelboom's project concerns us all: people who struggle between the deep desire for individuality in a society that inexorably tends to conform tastes and trends.
AN INCOCILIABLE DISSIDER? THE INEXORABLE RESULT OF A CAPITALIST SOCIETY? THE PLEDGE TO PAY TO THE CONTEMPORARY MASS SOCIETY?
Multistory (2020). Hans Eijkelboom: The Street & Modern Life. [online] Vimeo. Available at: https://vimeo.com/163698941 [Accessed 2 Dec. 2020].
LS:N Global. (2010). LSN : Communities. [online] Available at: https://www.lsnglobal.com/communities [Accessed 26 Nov. 2020].
Image from “The Street & Modern Life” by Hans Eijkelboom