The first aspect I have chosen to look at in this field is to focus on protests: in particular student protests. As this is something that I myself am very much involved in as I have taken part in a couple of student protests in London as my sister goes to UCL. UCL has one of the highest rent rates in London and the prices are absolutely ridiculous so when you have that on top of university fees the protest for free education something extremely high on my sister’s list as well as so many others supporting the same movement. The right to education is just that: a right and not a privilege and most of these images represent the student protests, which spark the outcry for change and recognizing corruption. I would say that to viewers the image of the skyscraper in London would seem odd to appear amongst this group of photographs, as like I said most of them are very much focused on student protests, however, this is ultimately about corruption and it is massive corporations were most of the corruption lies, which is something that I find incredibly interesting and infuriating. A couple of these images also shine a light on crime, seen in the “caught red-handed” image, and the spray painted book with a quote said than none other than Kourtney Kardashian (of course) which links to the corrupt justice system and that is something that I am very interested and passionate about and fully intend to explore in this project.
Movies & Music
From tartan skirts to uttering the phrase ‘AS IF’, Clueless to this day remains such a strong influence in popular culture. The quirky fashion is definitely the key element that has inspired many to embody the wardrobe of Cher or Dione and they impact the film in such a dominating force, putting the film on the map for one to be remembered for years and cross over to multiple generations. Many designers have been inspired by the infamous looks from Clueless making them trends again and again, further cementing them in fashion history as iconic. High street brands have also adopted some of the famous lines from the film and used them for slogan t-shirts which are incredibly popular, showing that it appeals to the markets that target the masses as well as exclusively. This reflects just how much film impacts the trends of society and how much they influence them so effortlessly.
The Iggy Azalea ‘Fancy’ video took the world by storm, gaining almost 700 million views on YouTube. It’s portrayal of the movie Clueless wasn’t even heard of until the music video launched two years ago and again revitalised the film as a trend. I would almost argue that in terms of linking film to fashion, films almost become a brand in themselves as in this case its definitely one of the key identifiers of the film. Azalea took focal scenes and staple looks from the movie and recreated them which was an excellent move from the artist as it attracted so many people. I like to think of trends as looking into the past, finding that one thing that inspires you and using innovation to make it reborn again, and that’s what I think happens with the relationship between trends and fashion, film and music as they all take from each other in order to project a message with the aim that it resonates with people to gain to most impact.
Mean Girls projects ‘girl world’ in the best way which a witty and amazingly funny script from Tina Fey that is burned in every teenage girl’s brain. From Heathers, to Clueless, to Mean Girls, this film is recognised as the girl power movie of the 00s proving to be a genre in itself nowadays. It not only sparked the revolution of the 4-way phone call but spoke to teenage girls about some key messages: “You all have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it ok for guys to call you sluts and whores.” Feminism is a underlying theme of the film that really shines through to become a dominating element that makes it a symbol of empowerment.
Brandy Melville is an LA based brand that sells affordable products that target trends immensely. With the constant revival of slogan t-shirts, this brand in particular are known for their use of pop culture for their prints. These display just four of the many that have been produced by the company and not just from Mean Girls but various other iconic films and music lyrics, from Clueless to Kanye West. These items are so incredibly popular for simply just having a few words printed on them, but they make the biggest impact as they appeal to a mass market and are the trend that will never die – a gift that just keeps on giving.
Spring Breakers is one of my all time favourite movies. Not only is it the latest work of the phenomenal, ingenious director and creative visionary, Harmony Korine, but it’s a film that influenced society in many ways: the good and the bad. Focusing on the popular American pastime known as ‘Spring Break’ the film really had such a strong energy and the clothing used brought that ‘image’ to life and revived a trend we all know too well: neon! Forget about the crazy plot and the Disney stars holding guns, the costumes in this film were truly transformative for the roles of these characters for embodying Spring Break. Upon its release fluorescent started coming back and in a big way. Suddenly it was all about bright coloured shorts, bikinis, dying your hair pink (and various other colours), and mirrored sunglasses were huge! With neon being something very much, well at least for me, reminiscent of the 80s or 90s raves, this was shocking to me as it really shows how much other areas outside of fashion influence fashion without even trying. It even went as far as for the brand Opening Ceremony to release a line dedicated to the film, Spring Breakers, entitled Opening Ceremony X ‘Spring Breakers’ (some of the pieces displayed in the …. Image) launching on March 21 2013 which was an amazing success. Not one trend but two were reignited by Spring Breakers as it also sparked the obsession with unicorns which has become a phenomenon on social media and in the fashion world as many products include slogans and phrases linked to the hopes of being a unicorn which is even more insane!
Fashion & Politics
Katharine Hamnett first launched as a brand in the 80s when her slogan t-shirts that comment on political issues and the government were seen (most famously) on George Michael with the now infamous statement: “Choose Life”. From there her philosophy as a brand only continued to become stronger as she went on to tackle so many issues that society was facing and was making her message be heard loud and clear to all which I find so incredible. One of the things Hamnett is most renowned for is what she wore to meet with then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, which can be seen in the image above, “58% Don’t Want Pershing” which commented on Thatcher’s decision to allow U.S. Pershing missiles to be stationed in Britain despite the majority of the British public being opposed. Legend also has it the designer faced a bankrupting audit as punishment for the embarrassment. Katharine Hamnett proves to be an incredibly interesting an intriguing in terms of not only the designer herself but the brand’s concept also and I would love to explore further as the brief progresses. Walter Van Beirendonck is known for his ‘statement’ collections and messages and his A/W 2015 collection was no exception. Debuting just two weeks after the tragic Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris, this act of terrorism forced him to respond with the opening statement: “Stop Terrorising Our World” which is a message he chose to reprise from a previous collection, A/W 2006, even though he never initially intended to make a political statement with this collection at all but when this shooting happened he felt that he just had to react. I think that this sends a really strong and powerful message to the audience and I think that it’s so important to make these statements as it really strikes a chord with the viewer and makes them think about our world and our society.
A ‘red square’ was adopted as a symbol during the 2012 student protests in Quebec, Canada for free education. The idea behind the ‘red square’ was synonymous with the phrase “being squarely in the red”, which we all know refers to being in financial debt. Since then, the red square has progressed to become the symbol for student protest. It is individual to each and every person associated and effected by student fees as anyone can have a red square – all they have to do is cut a square out of red felt and attach it to their clothing. Although it is a very small and seemingly simple object, it has such power and significance in terms of showing your support for this movement in representing the vision of education being a right not a privilege and something that we should all get the chance to have no matter what financial position we are in. The struggle to achieve free education is something that is being fought all over the world and these images displayed above show just a few of the places that are supporting this movement.
This collection by Ricardo Tisci (Cretaive Director) was meant to be reminiscent of the brand of Givenchy itself but ended up being reminiscent of Tisci himself. The reason for honing in on this particular collection is because of the ‘Bambi’ influence that although only featured lightly in the collection itself, blew up prior to its launch. Disney is something that always seems to be an inspiration to everyone in some way and its constantly being revived in some way but it was how Givenchy revived it in combining it with different images, almost creating a mirage of itself making it an incredibly striking print. This concluded and cemented the fact that Disney will forever to a trend as this type of print was later seen in the stores of many high street brands and many collaborations have been done with other brands including MAC to bring out at least three lines of exclusive products that sell out instantly. It’s not just the use of the classic Disney animated characters to create a feeling of nostalgia but also promoting the new adaptations, making them appeal to the mass market and also keep Disney relevant although I don’t see a time where it will be viewed as irrelevant as it is considered iconic.
These three pieces by Ritcher are half of the collection exhibited at the museum and are entitled; ‘John Cage’ after the American avant-garde composer and this collection included using a squeegee which is a tool he has been known to use in his past works. The result of these paintings are made up of painting layers and erasers and I love how the tool used for this collection has created these beautiful scratch-like marks and also more of a rippling effect evoking a feeling of freedom and calmness (this can also be reflected by the colours the artist chose to use as they work together to bring a sense of harmony to the pieces).
The veiled figure in Aidan’s work is the protagonist, which instantly introduces a very strong sense of ambiguity, making the work incredibly captivating. The use of these traditional religious symbols intensifies the artist’s quest to deconstruct and challenge patriarchal order as well as to celebrate female hegemony simultaneously. The work created using granite and marble set the monochromatic tone, representing both man and woman present the artist’s focus on domination and submission which is an incredibly interesting topic and very relevant to today’s society. The craft present in this collection is absolutely breathtaking and I absolutely love the work done with the white marble as when you really look at it up close you can see all of the intricate detail throughout the entire piece (and the collection) which makes it quite an intimate and also delicate collection.
These three pieces ‘Mother and Child’, ‘The Last Peasant-Painters Peeling Potatoes (Old Woman Mill)’ and ‘Church Boats’ by Holmwood were pieces that immediately caught my attention in the exhibition. This predominantly thanks to the use of media the artist chose to use: fluorescent. This paired with the pieces being reminiscent of the 19th century created such an interesting, and incredibly captivating, juxtaposition, as neon is a trend of the 21st century. Although when you hear ‘neon’ and ‘19th century’ together you would think it as a terribly bad combination but Holmwood has really made this marriage work; they’re a quite a pair. Although I looked at this exhibition in the previous brief, I found that specific artists really stood out for this brief also so thought it important to include my observations and explain the reasons why. It is primarily due to the trend of fluorescent and how the artist looked at an era from the past and paired it with a recent trend to make a very captivating collection.
‘Phil ‘The Gift’ and Jay ‘Citus’ (Ideal Proportions), ‘Domestic Terrorist Kerkow’ and ‘ Ideal Proportions: Squeeze – A Winning Hand’ are the pieces by McClelland that I was drew to the most. Focusing on the fact that code, made up of complex algorithms runs absolutely everything in the world and are responsible, even something that seems completely simplistic and mundane proved to be such an interesting concept to me (especially after what I looked at in the previous brief). She uses the canvas in a very unique way and the way she presents her work and her message are very powerful. The almost monochromatic base that each of her pieces have paired with that small yet very strong and dominating touch of colour work harmoniously to captivate the viewer and really highlight focal elements of her work.