Thursday, March 30, 2023

Comment | At New York Fashion Week, clothes are a mirror of America’s priorities.

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During last week’s State of the Union address, I found myself distracted by something strange.

It wasn’t President Biden’s policy proposal or the alarming statistics about fentanyl. As the cameras panned the house, the one thing I couldn’t stop thinking about was Senator Kirsten Sinema’s lemon yellow dress, with its almost skin-tight cut and voluminous, butterfly sleeves.

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Why is it so bright? why? Those The sleeves? Can anyone see sitting behind her? Why are you wearing it tonight?

And clothes have meaning. Cinema was trying to say something – but what?

In DC, fashion is rarely the first thing on anyone’s mind, as the most common attire for our halls of power attests. In other places, however, careful attention is given.

As it happens, just days after the president announced his priorities in the political capitol, New York Fashion Week set out to do the same in our culture. I went there to ask the participants of this season – designers, models, photographers, street style stars – what fashion has to say about our current time.

MIT Professor Claude Shannon, known as the father of information theory, distinguished between data and information. Data is normal – the events we expect. Information, however, is created when an event is out of the ordinary – the surprising takes on meaning.

Blue and gray colored seas are common. The canary yellow dress is amazing.

With 350 billion dollars, the American fashion industry creates one of the country’s strongest exports: Lewis is a soft power, the cowboy hat is a globally recognized symbol. Theories abound that hemline lengths or lipstick colors reflect—or accurately predict—national sentiment.

“Nowadays your wallet is political. How much money you have is political. So what you buy says something,” fashion photographer and filmmaker Nigel Barker told me.

They pointed out that in recent seasons they have been seen in clothes that are called “boring”. “But it seems wrong,” he said, “at a time when most of the world is affected in one way or another by the war in Ukraine and we’re coming out of the pandemic, probably in a recession.” To show things beyond human reach and imagination. You must appeal to the oil.

Moreover, embellishment has always been used to make statements that could not otherwise be made, to declare loyalty, to criticize the norm, to mock, or to provoke anger.

Time and time again, people have told me that fashion is a marker of identity – especially as many identities are under new threat.

“I don’t think you can remove yourself from what you stand for,” said Philip Lim, who was sponsoring a fashion week show at a gallery on the edge of Chinatown. “For me, having an Asian American-led brand is itself politics. This is the last line of resistance to succeeding as an independent designer but becoming one of the legacy APIs.

“I have a little girl, and I make clothes for myself, and I make a version for her — because when we go out, she says, ‘I want to wear what you’re wearing,'” says designer Terry Singh.

His stunning collection combines traditional western wear with Indian dhoti. Dresses, beautifully embellished and tailored, defy definitions of masculinity.

“There’s something about the relationship between a father and a daughter. Wherever we go, we are one, we are one. We are an evolution of everything that came before us, the pain and struggle of every family before us to get us here. I want to grill you for that, for what you’ve done.”

Fashion is useless, clothes are superficial and there will always be those who say they don’t care or are stupid. But by the clothes we wear, the way we do our hair, makeup or accessories, we all communicate who we are and what we think.

Fashion speaks. It is also wise to listen.

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