Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Functions & Brands

by Andrea Gutierrez Coello de Portugal

From Malcom Barnard, Fahion as Communication, "Functions": This essay focuses on what fashion and clothing might be for, on the different functions or jobs that fashion and clothing might have. Why people adorn their bodies and why they wear and have worn clothes. If we separate the material functions (those connected to protection and modesty) of fashion and dress from their cultural functions (are to do with communication) we see that these change from culture to culture and communicate a different cultural identity. Clothes have a role in the production and reproduction of society. Clothing will represent people’s positions of power and authority within a society.

Clothing is used to make life easier, to proclaim or disguise our identity and to attract sexual attention. It is also used as a way of protection, modesty and attraction and its major function is communication. Clothing, not fashion, can be a physical need for protection and shelter. It protects the body from the cold, the heat, sports, accidents, psychological or physical dangers... These human needs concerning to clothing change from culture to culture, from different counties even in the same culture depending on the needs of each individual person.

Vivienne Westwood, 1993

Modesty and Concealment
Modesty means that certain parts of the body are indecent and shameful and should be covered, but once again this can change from culture to culture since the connection between clothing and modesty changes in every society and has its own perception of modest dress, behavior, modesty or shame and between religions. The functions of clothing could also be thought of for distinguishing masculine from feminine. Some clothing have the function of camouflage, not only in military dress or uniforms. Some clothing changes parts of the body to camouflage them and others just not to get attention on themselves. In some cases fashion is even used to fit in with the people around one.

Thierry Mugler, 1967

Immodesty and Attraction
Fashion can also be used for the opposite, and wearing clothes is a motivation to immodesty and exhibitionism. Some people think that clothes should attract attention to the body. Women's dress is thought for the seduction principal while men dress is thought for the hierarchical principle. Women's clothes are used to make the person wearing them more attractiveness while men’s clothes are intended to display and enhance social status like is has been seen in history and prehistory. Fashion also changes the ways how we differentiate the different parts of the female body at different times of history. These change at the same time as fashion does. A lot of fashion and clothing is used to display the sexual or social attractiveness of both men and women, but these also vary from culture to culture.

The unifying function of fashion and clothing is used to communicate the membership of a cultural group. Fashion, dress and clothing have communicative functions. Clothing or dress can be used to reinforce someone's mood. people buy new clothes to feel better, since they make them feel unique or just by wearing something new. They can also feel pleasure fore displaying themselves or seeing that from others. Clothes can show someone's uniqueness by them being old, new or a mixture of both. these can be explained as as syntagmatic and paradimatic differences.

Other Factors
-Clothing and fashion is often used to indicate social worth or status. These can come from occupation, family, sex, gender age or race. Clothing is used to differentiate male from female, the difference between religious classes and the memberships of different families.
-The different types of status define how people in those positions have to behave. Also the way someone dresses can make the interaction between people easier. And represent their social role.
-Economic status is the positioning a economy. Clothing may indicate the position of people in a job. White collar means they wear suits for their jobs and blue collar means manual labour.
-Fashion and clothing are connected to the workings of power. People use clothes to show their social role in different social status.
-Macro-religious: Clothes in this case represent believe and strength of believe. Worn sometimes or always certain clothes represent the membership of certain religions and indicate the strength of the believe.
-Social Rituals : Clothing is used to indicate the beginning and the end of rituals. Like for example a weeding or a funeral. People in there cases wear certain clothes. These clothes vary from each ritual, culture or religion.
-Recreation : Fashion is also used in recreation to show the different trends in different activities or sports.

Material functions like modesty, protection and attraction were used to explain the function of fashion and clothing. These vary from culture to culture and from one period in time to another. It has been explained how things are communicated by fashion and clothing as a cultural phenomena.

Fashion & Graphics by Tamsin Blanchard

In a label money, sex appeal, aspiration and status is represented. The label has become very important and why the garment has been sold in the first place. Packaging and presentation is used more and more between brands rather than the product itself. The brand image attracts a certain consumer.

Strong brands are consistent through time and have clear associations as in YSL above a monogram that has come to represent French tailoring, luxury and sexuality. Gloria Vanderbilt below represents a short lived brand that utilized the power of name alone.

The graphic designers have taken a very important role in this since they are responsible of the look of the label and the art direction of the campaign. Peter Saville was one of the pioneers in fashion graphics for the 1980’s look book of Yoshi Yamamoto.

Now in some cases the presentation is more important than the actual design and what makes one garment cost a certain amount of money.

The designer label represents the spirit and integrity, the philosophy and the character of the line to the costumer, so this is why a well designed label is so important. The graphic identity is a reflection of what a product wants to express and reflect and it is the language between the designers and the consumer. The graphic identity will be applied to everything that the brand uses.

Graphic designers have brought a new vision to fashion and a different perspective. A well designed and well known logo is the most important factor for a fashion house to succeed. Tyler Brulee's creation of Stella McCartney below represents a name in lights effect that signifies her emanating family fame.

While the Paul Smith logo is unique with a signature, the background resembles both the art work of Bridget Riley and Rem Koolhaas' proposal for the EU flag.

Weak brand equity happens when a form is easily confused with other meanings.

1 comment:

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