THE VULGAR X THE EMOTIONAL ECONOMY
BY CASSANDRA GREENHALGH & NATALIE STATHOPOULOS
As always fashion is moving at the speed of light, no matter how many times fashion revolves. Emerging trends and technology are becoming increasingly accessible to the design innovators of today, changing the way fashion is seen. Throughout Europe, fashion is being recognised unlike like ever before, a combination of societal change and political distribution, the world of dress is becoming unconventional and foreign.
“BRANDS TAKE ON WHAT GOVERNMENTS AREN’T” – Jo McGinn.
Fashion in this day and age has as sense of emotion. The usual instinct of dressing is often combined with an inner feeling, yet in a subconscious process. Layering and more is less has become a trend itself. Street style of today is subject to media outlets such as Instagram in which trends are exhibited daily. However is it becoming more increasingly aware of the how the luxury market is pitched to those of the high street and industry, through visual merchandising and buyers. This materialistic connection to brands has developed the fashion of now, to be greedy and cynical within their attire.
Yet this style of dress is drawing awareness to the question of VULGARITY??? … WHY?
In the Barbican’s most recent exhibition, The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined explores the captivating challenge of Taste in Fashion from the Renaissance period to Maison Margiela ‘Wig Shoulder Pads’ . The common question of the whole exhibition is what really makes something Vulgar and why is it such a scandalised term.
Vulgar;b. A person not reckoned as belonging to good society. a state of lowest people
“Vulgarity became associated with pretentiousness and ambition and exposed and aspiration for the pleasure of privilege” – Adam Phillips
Ironically The Vulgar exhibition is extremely relevant to Fashion today, as luxury brands, vintage, and high street are being combined into a persons style, no longer being categorised as fashion sectors.
A trend noticed in both the streets of London and Berlin, is the ambitiousness of dress. Colour, print, embroidery, and accessorising is becoming a priority, in particular, brand identity.
Brand Identity, primarily in Luxury brands, is focusing on our emotional attachment towards logo’s. Brands such as Gucci, Chanel, Tommy Hilfiger, Vivienne Westwood, Comme des Garçon and even the sportswear market, such as, Adidas, Nike and Reebok have taken advantage of their social awareness, to sell their product, adorned with Logo’s.
It was clear in London, that the luxury market, was a big contributor to the social culture of the streets of fashion. From Shoreditch to Oxford street, concept stores and luxury brands were more accessible to the people of the high street. The over exaggerated visual merchandising of store windows accentuate this questioning of the vulgarity of brands to be overambitious in the selling of their product. Consumers are intrigued by the ugly which is creating excitement…
“VULGARITY EXPOSES THE SCANDAL OF GOOD TASTE” – Adam Phillips
Regarding the trend of the emotional economy, store interiors, are using luxurious textiles, such as fur, velvet and embroidery to echo what has been done by the brands. This abundance of luxury, can either be seen as tasteless or lush. Once again question what is Vulgar in Fashion. “YOU ARE EITHER VOGUE OR NOT VOGUE?”
SPEAKING OF VULGAR…
“The vulgar and the fashionable have to keep and eye on each other.” As fashion is easily accessible around the world sites such as The future Laboratory and LGSN keep tags on what, when and why in fashion. Travelling parts of Europe and acknowledging emerging trends, from concept stores, to exhibitions of museums, it is prominent, that people’s style is intentionally effortless, a trend of the ability to take risks.
TAKING IT TO THE STREETS…
You ask people if there is a formula to their outfit of the day (OOTD), but most of the time there isn’t one. They tell you they just “threw it on”. But the question is does anyone actually get dressed like that… Or is it more the case of subconsciously dressing, in your own set way. This common occurrence of “just throwing it on” has become a trend on the streets of London. Yet how does this relate to one being Vulgar?
Well… with such dressing, takes creativity and experimentation, it is clear through political turmoil and societal change, the people of fashion are rebelling the social norms and rules, and wearing whatever they want whenever they LIKE! (Thank god for Vivienne Westwood, hey?) This sense of Mix & Match could be seen as too much, over ambitious or just fashionably fresh?
Function and fashion have to meet somewhere in between to make it vulgar, if it’s too “fashion’ it can’t be classed as vulgar and then if its too ‘functional’ then it’s to simple to be vulgar. You then start to question how fashion becomes distasteful, to then be called vulgar.
“The wealthy were once referred to as the vulgar but theses days the vulgar are represented by the common people. It was that the, “well bred people did not often dress in what is called the ‘height of fashion’…, as that is generally “left to dandies and pretenders.” It is explained that “by dressing well, [does] not mean dressing extravagantly. You might have the most costly attire, you might appear in satin and lace, feather and jewels and yet be far from well dressed.”
Focusing closely at vulgarity, it has always referred to the people who had too much of something on, again, the greed and ambition.
When you look at the people in London or Berlin that embody this idea, their outfits have that certain persona and that is exactly what makes vulgarity. That a vulgar outfit is not tame but is usually loud and sometimes pretentious. The jewels and fur are no longer for the wealthy but instead the emergence of faux fur on the high street, now adds to the vulgarity of their outfits.
We are being filled and subverted by the use of acrylic to evoke an alternative to the luxury. The high streets are filling people’s wardrobes with luxury faux fur, of classic copies, translating high fashion in a new way. This idea has being depicted in the newest collaboration between luxe brand, Louis Vuitton and street wear brand, Supreme.This means that between luxe and street wear there is less of a label between the two markets.
Seek magazine has reported on this reading that – “Kim Jones fused elements of Vuitton’s classic luxury with Supreme’s bold logo and sporty shapes. The collection consists of monogrammed berets and relaxed tailoring, accessorised with a variation of shoulder bags and rucksacks emblazoned with Supreme’s signature red and white logo.” This shows that vulgar and fashion have some sort of meeting place, that “the vulgar and the fashionable have to keep an eye on each other..”
You can see that in cities like Berlin people “don’t dress to be princesses”- Sevil, LNFA. It’s ironic that the vulgar is becoming normalised. They way someone personifies the vulgar depends on their own mentality and culture.
EMBRACE YOUR VULGAR SIDE…
Vulgarity isn’t a trend that should be feared. It’s a trend that should be embraced in the upcoming future. There is hope for the Vulgarity trend which taps into our attraction to the emotional economy, due to the collaboration between the Luxury and high street market. People are embracing themselves in daring ways.
The idea of VULGAR is that it’s about being known,
it’s never quiet.
CLARK, J. (2016) THE VULGAR: FASHION REDEFINED. GERMANY: VERLAG DER BUCHHANDLUNG WALTHER KONIG.
Moore, Vanessa, XXY MAGAZINES, XXY REVIEWS, 2016, “The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined,” xxx reviews, Visuals by Michael Bowles/Getty Images for Barbican Art Gallery. <http://www.xxymagazine.com/xxy-reviews-the-vulgar-fashion-redefined/20936>
Conroy, Violet, Sleek Magazine 2017, Sleek Mag, Let’s talk about Louis Vuitton X supreme, viewed 22nd January, < http://www.sleek-mag.com/2017/01/20/lets-talk-louis-vuitton-x-supreme/>