NOT ANOTHER BRICK
IN THE WALL
Season: Autumn/Winter 2016
Table of Content
II.The Antwerp Six +
B.Transcript of Interview
This topic is taken from the WGSN’s Autumn/Winter 16/17 trend — OffBeat. According to the society, the very idea of ‘off-beat’ may come off as a bit deviant rather than any good. Meaning, an off-beat person is the ones who has a bit odd or unusual and does not fit in the society. Their habits are beyond our understanding, not because they are the result of madness, but because they are born to be so original that sometimes it cannot be accepted by the societies.
People are more open-minded to this kind of unique behaviour and slowly accepting their norms. Offbeat also has a different meaning if related to fashion and art. As stated by WGSN, Offbeat is also creative, immersive and interactive. It demands to appeal, intrigue and delight with inspiring designs.
From this topic, I branched out the idea to the subject of nonconformity. Throughout the course of history, many individuals have attempted to break away from cultural, religious and societal norms with the intention of living life to the fullest the way the deem right. A nonconformist is an individual who fails to abide by rules and values that have been established by the society (Bell p.78). Due to the fact that the person has a different mindset and set of standards, the individual views the world in a different manner; a unique way. Consequently, the individual fails to accept the general point of view and breaks away from it. A recent study showed that nonconformist who dresses exceptionally in their job interviews appears to me more successful (Brooks pg.1).
In my opinion, we owe all our advancement, breakthroughs and discoveries to the people who had the bravery to be offbeat; to be different. Take some time and think about that statement. If everyone were to yield to everything that religion, culture or society wanted without having the courage to take a stand or even question the idea, we would still be under the rule of the Church of England. Many people ended up losing their retirement savings and homes because of the society’s failure to question the business practices and banks. Not questioning the government resulted in the loss of around 58,000 American lives in the war in Vietnam. This also relates to fashion. Fashion thrives on nonconformity; eccentric designs are what keeps the fashion industry moving forward. Consequently, it is clear that nonconformity is a necessity in the fashion industry, and it brings about more benefits than disadvantages. In this paper, we will explore fashion nonconformists such as the Antwerp Six, Johnny Depp, Willow Smith among others with the aim of understanding its impact on fashion.
“As long as there are rebels, non-conformists, and creative people, punk style will always be a part of fashion.” -SnookyIn the late 1970s, British experienced a cultural revolution when the Punk subculture exploded. It was by far, judged as Britain’s most original addition to post-war culture for both social and visual transformation. Punk is mainly established in individuals who are in some way disenfranchised from the society, simply by their own choice or being outcast by others. It is an umbrella concept and ideology that is interrelated variations from the arts, politics, popular culture, consumerism, and sexual and social mores of its era.
Punk was not originally rooted in working-class life. Punk ideas were established in the old-style cultural freedom, in which a mindset that encouraged individual personal interests varying from the conventional to the irrational and idiosyncratic. This culture aimed at the new, self-created and often shocking ideology. Its anti-establishment belief supports young people of the 1970s with a dynamic political ideology that encourage them to questions this established attitude such as capitalism, racism, sexism and nationalism.
Fashion will always be part of punk identity development. The way the clothing and body relate and then shape a consolidated new entity is a crucial part of what compose punk style. In style terms, Punk was the ancestor of DIY fashion. Introduced by Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren of Sex Pistols, Punk fashion is seen as a method of self-expression rather than necessity. In fact, Punk was a youth-defining process through its philosophical and artistic movement as an aggressive form of music and fashion.
Tartan plaids, mohawks, distressed black T-shirts and chunky boots (Dr. Marten 1460 boots) has become the 1970s British Punk stereotype look. This Punk look has remained a staple in pop-culture. As the time passes by, Punk fashion evolves and reshape itself to appeal to a more contemporary outlook. Modern punk-style garments include jeans, T-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, and athletic shoes. Not necessarily about experimenting or shocking confrontation, this look is about comfort, utilitarianism, and not wanting to look forced as if they are poser.
Body modifications and accessorising such as tattoos, piercings, cosmetics, and silver jewelry also take parts in defining Punk styles. The changing of punk’s natural hair to vibrant colors such as blue, red and green is used as a hint to embrace a subversive differentiation from the norm.
According to Ted Polhemus, Punk changed the world — arguably more so than any other single style tribe before or since. Indeed it is. Hippies were counterculture but faded, and now their style is only nostalgic in many ways. The Hippie subculture itself remained in the 60s. Meanwhile, punk has been willing to reinvent and grow itself to suit the times. Therefore, it stays relevant and can go on indefinitely in some capacity.
“The only reason I’m in fashion is to destroy the word ‘conformity’. Nothing’s interesting to me unless it’s got that element.” – Vivienne Westwood
Dame Vivienne Westwood was once a country girl with a subversive streak who become the undisputed Queen of British fashion. Born in England’s textile-mill country with her mother as a cotton weaver and her father from a family of a shoemaker. She is known as an advocate of radical cutting, interpreter of historical detail, lover of culture, pioneer of elegance and the epitome of Englishness, which made her become a designer by default. A born craftswoman, she spent her early years customising her school uniform and playing around with dressmaking patterns. At seventeen, her family moved to Harrow in north-west London, where by her admission did not know about classical music or art galleries expanded her cultural horizons.
By 1965, her marriage with Derek Westwood was over, and she had met her partner and collaborator Malcolm McLaren. To the outsider, it was unlikely a pairing. There was a five year age gap — Westwood was a child of the Fifties, a teacher and mother. Meanwhile, McLaren was the child of the Sixties and an art-school dropout. But they bonded over a mutual desire to challenge the norms and flip over the status quo. With him, Vivienne began to make clothes to sell in her first shop called ‘Let it Rock.’ at 430 King’s Road, Chelsea. Westwood was aware of playing, with proportion and infuse a classic garment with the sexual edge. The first fashion distribution was four Teddy-Boy suits that she customised by changing the colour of the velvet trim. Equipped as a working-class sitting room, ‘Let it Rock.’ featured a leopard-skin partition and voluptuous pin-ups. Afterwards this evolution moment, the time shift between naive and knowing became a recurring theme in Westwood’s collections.
There were also the first signs of punk: while McLaren wore his particular brand of Teddy-Boy attire, Westwood sported an ‘Easter chick on acid’ look described as spiky bleached hairdo, skin-tight trousers and a lemon-coloured mohair sweater. Vivienne Westwood’s designs had the rougher edge that inspired by James Dean; the new look was based on biker clothes, zips and customised leather. In 1947, they renamed the shop ‘SEX’. It has the special meaning that emblazoned over the door in huge pink, foam-covered PVC letters, attracted voyeurs, experimentalists and the curious. ‘SEX’ shop promoted the idea of sexual confrontation, selling leather, bondage gear and rubberwear — camisole, skirts, stockings, and suspenders. However, the aim was not to alienate but to popularise sexual dressing in an everyday setting.
McLaren and Westwood were so interested in cults that they ended up invented one. As Westwood mentioned, the cult was not created from the streets, it was the other way around. They linked their love of the confrontational and disruptive, their use of fetishistic and customised clothing, random slashing, safety pins and razor blades to form a radical new style: Punk. Both McLaren and Westwood instructed to produce provocative red rubber outfits, but it was a London band they put together, The Sex Pistols, who would define the era and become the face of punk. Punk was not simply a fashion statement, but also a political position moralizing opposition to formal order. Punk vocabulary consisted of one-word messages: Chaos. Disorder. Anarchy. Destroyed.
Vivienne Westwood was very good at making slogans. Her first punk mock-up shirt was embellished with a picture of London communist — Karl Marx. She called Seditionaries’ — her renamed shop after SEX — designs ‘clothes for urban guerillas’.
The Antwerp Six +
“As the UK press could not pronounce our tongue-twisted names, they just started calling us The Antwerp Six.” -Geert Bruloot
The Antwerp 6 is a group of influential cutting-edge fashion designers who originated from the Royal Academy of Antwerp in the 1980s. The design joint introduced a particular idea for the design in 1980’s that built up the powerful group of the Antwerp as the central area for fashion style. The advancement took place around 1988 where the group leased a car and traveled to London fashion with their accumulations and hence putting the state on a fashion map. After that, they all separated and went their different ways and got to be popular separately with their own extremely straightforward fashion and trademarks. Having done the greater part of this they set a case for their continuators, for example, Tilley at the Flemish foundations, and then setting the unyielding fundamental for the more significant development of fashion in the town of Antwerp. Since then, Antwerp has a real, strict fashion focus: as stated by one member, in which uncommon setting in the heart of the town, alongside ‘Fashion Paradise’ as illustrated by Van Noten’s there is a design school, a fashion exhibition hall, and a Flanders Fashion Training Institute and as of late additionally the greatest boutique of the Japanese planner Yohji Yamamoto (Adam, pg69).
This group has some of its individuals who in one way or another have added to its prosperity. The individuals have particular lines of experience that they have persistently given to support the group. For instance, Demeulemeester one of its members launched her line in 1985 which was later known as a trial line of the group. She has reliably pulled in customers who have little desire in the design. The design is reached by blending and matching distinctive fabrics and after that slices, tears, regularly in a delicate palette of chestnut, dim, and dark. In any case, she has been known not into a merry gentility now and again too. In any case, Demeulemeester’s mark is a mainly manly look that defines her long-term deliberation. The artist has once in a while made extraordinary talked word verse for Demeulemeester’s runway soundtracks. Patti Smith’s verses, from the other side, frequently had an impact on the prints too. At present, she is chipping away at an apparel line roused by Jackson Pollock. Ann Demeulemeester has likewise worked with the craftsman Jim Dine (Will, pg152).
The other member is Walter Van Beirendonck. Since 1983 has accumulations under the name Walter Van Beirendonck. Walter had been enlivened for his outlines by craftsmanship, music and writing, all blended with ethnic a nature impacts. His unique shading mixes, developing cuts and in number realistic result are a trademark for his accumulations. His continuous explanations about nature, society, earth, fashion world and contemporary life which are gathered in prints. He is thought to be a part of the leading pioneers of men’s design by the expert press. In 1997, he outlined the ensembles for the U2 pop art visit that conveyed great acclaim to him. In 1999, he recompensed the privileged title of “Social Ambassador of Flanders”. At one time, he was the leader for the presentation Mode, which took place in 2001 in Antwerp. Since as of late he was again the Creative Director for the Scapa sport. He has youngsters group additionally, for a Belgian fashion shops. It has been a remarkable leap forward for the gathering that has persistently sold the organization. Walter Van Beirendonck works other than the accumulations, consistently on undertakings: planning outfits for theater, artful dance, and film, curating articles, outlining items, a think-tank for business activities and items, picture making for pop-gatherings, delineating books, planning business accumulations (Adam, pg73).
The other part, Dirk van Saene was known for his creative ability, he adores trapping and stunning his gathering of people. He is contrasted with different fashioners not willing to take the patterns. He worships creativity and purchasing his work, individuals can make sure getting something unique. It has appeared in his work; one configuration can be fashionable and stylish while others are deconstructive. Van Saene additionally won a few costs, even right off the bat in his profession. He won the ‘Gouden Spoel’ cost in Belgium. Van Noten another part has a noteworthy accomplishment as he began opening stores all once again the world. His outlines are known for their casual blend of eastern and western or the folkloric fabrics. Van Noten dependably had an enthusiasm for fabric; this is the reason he makes his garments by hand. This renowned planner gets his motivation of Antwerp where he works and lives. A particular enormous extravagance of dwelling in Antwerp was the fact that he could do without much of a stretch stroll in the city. While in New York and Paris, it’s more perceived. Watching individuals in the city he says is his greatest incitement. He won the honor of universal fashioned in the year 2008 presented by America’s Council of Fashion Designers (Will, pg240).
Before leaving for London, Dirk Bikkembergs, who is another individual from this gathering, had effectively acquired the ‘Canette d’Or’, honors as a Best Young Designer in Fashion. Enlivened by his childhood, a large portion of his lines think about military fundamentals a more profound level, consolidated with the intense fabrics that he regularly employments. Interestingly enough his first ladies’ accumulation was, aside from size, indistinguishable to his menswear. Being an extremely dynamic planner, he is once in a while found in one spot for over a week, going starting with one fashion Metropolitan then onto the next (Adam, pg85).
The other member is Marina; she graduated and began fashion in around 1978 in the academy. She became an expert in leather collection both for men and women where she won a prize of the collection to theater costumes. She had her workshop, and her work reflected on respect, spirituality and design. She commemorates and reconstructed old clothes which a unique thing about her. The last member of the group Margiela is concerned with the experimenting and deconstruction in the entire group.
Consumerism has deeply engrained itself in the western nations of the world along with some developing countries also the following suit on the same course. No matter whether boom or bust in economic conditions, the consumption of consumer goods remains unaffected in the western nations. Commercial media and public entertainment venues are offering carefully constructed environments to avoid political or real world problems that might disrupt the consumers’ buying impulse.
Culture jamming is a form of political communication which has emerged as a response to the commercial segregation of the public life. Inspired by the tactic used by the military or political parties to jam with broadcast reception signal, the term “culture jamming” was coined in 1984 by a West Coast based performance/ activist group called Negativland. The purpose is to describe a variety of activities including altering billboard advertisements by creating parodies of corporate and NGO organizations’ websites by the Yes Men, and as well acquiring of consumer goods through shoplifting and then rebranding them using Yo Mango.
Culture jams aim to expose the arguably political assumptions behind commercial culture at times so that people momentarily take a look at the branded environment they live in. They also develop brand logos, fashion statements and product images to question the idea of “what’s cool”. It sometimes creates negative transparency about a product or brand by revealing about the environmental impact or social experiences of the workers involved in the product manufacture that are not depicted in the final advertisement fantasy created. Adbusters, a magazine that features subvertisements (clever subversion of ads) of famous brands like Diesel, Calvin Klein and Nike, is one of the most famous examples of culture jamming. In activism, the organisation of green peace has gained enough reputation for culture jamming.
Here below is a subvertisement for Nike:-6350175794
At first, a person looking at the ad would notice the brand logo of Nike and think it to be a commercial campaign for Nike. This is due to the powerful brand recall value that some brands hold. But, on looking closer it is actually a culture jam on Nike wherein the social status of the workers of Nike is openly questioned. This negative message can surprise anyone who knows the brand or associated with it. And it can leave us with one question “how will this negative brand imaging affect my behaviour as a consumer?”.Cyberspace has been an advantage to this movement of culture jamming as now one can be easily express one’s ideas across the world with the help of individual expression and anonymity without any interference of state or corporations. This homemade defeat of organisations has come in the way of what the companies have worked so hard to establish. A corporate rule by giving notoriety to hackers, who have again hacked into major corporate websites including Nike, to deface logos with anti-globalisation messages. The hacker as well directed the websites’ visitors to a page revealing the inhumane social conditions of the workers working in the sweat shops of the company.
Considered by conservatives and high power executives as an act of useless vandalism, the culture jamming movement has gained an almost revolutionary status as more citizens are now becoming more aware. People are now taking interest in the uncovering the complete truth behind brand advertisements and selling of mass-produced lifestyles.
Johnny Depp is arguably the most successful actors in Hollywood. He is also a musician and film producer. Growing up, Depp was arrested several times which led to him being considered as a disorderly, non-conformist person. His many tattoos spread around his body also contributed to people having this ideology of him. As a character, he is arguably the most nonconformist person in Hollywood. Many have described him as an ‘oddball’ owing to his eccentricity in real life, the way he chooses his roles in the film industry, his fashion styles and his inspiration. He usually plays as a weird main character in movies such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Alice in Wonderland, Sweeney Todd, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Edward Scissorhands among others. He incorporates his weird and dark personality into his characters. He owns his roles and makes it his own by adding his weird personal characteristics into the being or person. He also has a quirky fashion sense (Grabowski p.78). For these reasons, Johnny Depp is often considered as a non-conformist because of his originality.
Figure SEQ Figure * ARABIC 1-Johnny Depp in Edward Scissorhands.
Willow Smith is yet another non-conformist. Her unconventional fashion style, lifestyle and ideology clearly reveal her nonconformity to society. An example is a lyric from her song where she states that she is not anyone’s stereotype, but she is who she is (Brooks 25). This statement clearly shows that she does not bend to what society expects but does what she feels comfortable with. She is a person who is not afraid to share her opinions with the world despite the criticism she might get. Moreover, her fashion sense and lifestyle are often considered quirky; a clear sign she is a nonconformist. She often appears on the red carpet dressed up in outlandish attire. She extends this to her music videos; each and every one of them is filled with unusual art and attire. Willow Smith’s fashion sense is a significant factor that helped her land jobs with one of the biggest fashion houses. She is now strutting down runways and is on the cover of the sixth issue of CR Fashion Book. As a fashion model, she always wears peculiar outfits. Some people have even crowned her a fashion icon. She is becoming the new coming-of-age for her generation. For these reasons, she has been labelled a non-conformist.
In conclusion, the nonconformists mentioned above such as The Antwerp Six, Johnny Depp, Willow Smith, punk and culture jamming have shown us that we shouldn’t always be like everyone else, we should be ourselves, and at least try to be exceptional. Punk culture taught us that nonconformity can be a source of creativity in the fashion industry; it brought us DIY, black studded leather jackets, spiked hair and other outlandish things. It marked a significant transformation in the fashion industry. The Antwerp Six showed their non-conformity through their eye-catching presentations, slick and groundbreaking designs. Their designs made them become regarded as a revolutionary force in the fashion industry. Viviene Westwood also showed her nonconformity by using her designs to promote the idea of sexual confrontation, selling leather, bondage gear and rubber wear — camisole, skirts, stockings, and suspenders. However, the aim was not to alienate but to popularise sexual dressing in an everyday setting. At that moment in time, her designs were subject to a lot of criticism but have become more acceptable in this modern age. On the other hand, culture jamming shows nonconformity through encouraging people to see things from a different perspective and not be slaves of the branded society we live in. Lastly, the Hollywood oddballs showed that an individual does not have to be what other people expect them to be to make it Hollywood. These ideologies have particularly been significant in the development of fashion. Eccentric designs are what keep the fashion industry moving forward. If every fashion designer were to conform to what society deems good, fashion would stagnate as most designs would be similar. Although some people in the past saw these acts as rebellious, nowadays, it is more acceptable, since everyone is embracing self-expression and individuality even more than the past.
Bell, David. Historicizing Lifestyle Mediating Taste, Consumption and Identity from the 1900s to 1970s. Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2006. Print.
Brooks, Chad. “Dressed for Success? Harvard Researcher Says You May Doing It Wrong.” Business News Daily. 2014. Web. 26 Oct. 2015.
Brooks, Riley. Willow Smith: Pop’s Newest Princess. New York: Scholastic, 2011. Print.
Grabowski, John. Johnny Depp. Detroit: Lucent, 2011. Print.
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