FSH 6.0: Iconic Items Edition

FSH 6.0 (Fashion Six Point Oh) is a biweekly post-paris news and shade round-up. Six stories to dis-en-courage critical thinking, conspicuous consumption and/or unabashed ogling! I have developed and teach a Style Icons and Fashion Objects e-course at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. My students in the fashion journalism program (the only accredited program of its kind in the United States!) study the cultural significance of certain style items and historical social processes behind their rise (or fall) within public imagination. Whenever someone tells you, oh it’s just a T-shirt… make them take my class! Here are six items that recently made the news… and none of those news were about fashion, per se … Proceed with curiosity!

SHOES: any road is made by walking

This pair of shoes first broke Twitter with nearly 400,000 likes and retweets and is now on display at the Women Empowered exhibition at Cornell. They belong to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who just became the youngest elected Congresswoman in US history. I could teach a whole semester on evolution of our ideas of progress as told by footwear!


UNIFORMS: the branding of belonging

Woodchurch School in the UK made headlines for banning two (ridiculously) overpriced outerwear brands to curb social bullying of students from lower income households. We do a module on the paradox of conformity vs. individuality as evident in the history of uniforms. Moncler also outfit pets at $450 (four hundred and fifty dollars) per doggy coat!


UNDERWEAR: public vs. pubic (and beyond)

In Ireland this month (November 2018) a defense lawyer in a rape case has argued that wearing a thong implies consent. I should change that sentence to “rape defense lawyer has argued”. I wrote about fashion & sexual assault when Donna Karan questioned what Harvey Weinstein victims were wearing. That did happen. Meanwhile, @diet_prada called out Boohoo for photoshopping swimwear models’ pelvic areas off their bodies altogether. Society continues to brutally police women’s bodies and agency via fashion.



BAGS: oh but you can’t take it with you

My class examines complex social capital that goes into making designer handbags an accessory to fame ‘n fortune. Last week, President Trump nominated a Mar-a-Lago Club member as the ambassador to South Africa. Handbag designer Lana Marks specializes in “luxury accessories… in 150 different colors of alligator, ostrich, and lizard.” Here she is in a tennis tournament in 1979 apartheid Namibia. As far as white privilege status symbols go, Lana Marks (of Bermuda) seems to have that Trump cabinet nomination… in the bag!


SOCKS: a little engine that could

When TMZ reported Kris Jenner selling socks, I got curious how much money was in the game. ‘Cause you know Kris Jenner cannot $pell without a dollar $ign. Turns out, socks is one of the fastest growing segments projected to hit $11.5 billion within five years. That is Kardashian-Jenner territory; that makes sense. Before you fall for the soap opera  story of co-owner Rob Kardashian needing to boost child support for the holidays, remember that as “the poorest member of the family” he is worth $10 million. That’s a lot of sock stuffing! If you want sock that make a difference, go for MaXhosa by Laduma.

Actual KardaShian Sock merchandiSe. The joke’$ on YOU.


In a module on fashion rebels, we discuss how gender-normative performance has been both reinforced and challenged by fashion. I had ranked Celine Dion’s music videos (in terms of style) for Fashion School Daily, so I was familiar with her contrarian fashion sense. She has just launched CELINUNUNU, a gender-neutral line of kidswear. I don’t know if black & white crosses are a particularly fashion-forward look, but the promo video is hilariously delightful. I hope this goes on, and on… Cue the flutes.

P.S. UPDATE: Based on feedback, the Celine Dion campaign definitely sparks fascinating classroom discourse. For some, its darker imagery taps into age-appropriate curiosity of children for the macabre and the natural sciences. For others, it appeared not more disturbing than typical disneyfied apparel. Ultimately, it expands consumer options to exercise parental discretion and makes for a curious industry disruption case study.

There you have it. FSH 6.0 / FASHION SIX POINT OH. November 25, 2018

Previous editions: #FASHIONSIXPOINTOH

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