0

Brand Database

Alexander McQueen 

https://www.instagram.com/alexandermcqueen/?hl=en

Reason for Interest:

 

Alexander Wang

https://www.instagram.com/alexanderwangny/?hl=en

This fashion label shares its name with its leader; the indomitable, master tailor that is Alexander Wang. The Wang brand is pioneering and trend-setting. Wang was instrumental in bringing the ‘athlesiure’ aesthetic to the forefront of the fashion industry, while assuredly injecting it with a high-end twist. Aside from the strong silhouettes and tough/glam fabrics, I fell in love with the brand for its dramatic ad campaigns. The campaigns are strong in narrative and drama, perfectly balancing urban grit with New York glamour. Growing up in Britain I understand the streetwear aesthetic that is such a driving force for Wang and feel like I would be an asset in injecting some of the industrial London style into the Wang brand.

 

The Reformation

https://www.instagram.com/reformation/?hl=en

The Reformation manufactures clothes using sustainable methods and eco-friendly materials. Their silhouettes are effortlessly stylish, doing away with the stereotypical associations of vintage with gaudiness. Ref is modern not only in its designs, but in its outlook. ¾ of the company’s staff are women, while the ‘RefScale’ on the website lets shoppers know the eco-savings they are making by buying at Ref instead of an industry standard clothing store. I would love to work at Ref because I am a politically conscious person with so many ideas as to how to make Ref even more woke! Super efficient, organised and optimistic, I love working in fast-paced environments, something that Ref embodies given that here a sketch becomes a dress in just a month!

 

Balmain

https://www.instagram.com/balmain/?hl=en

With its structured shoulder pads and armour-like embellishments, Balmain’s clothes are the embodiment of empowerment – preparing its wearers to enter the most stylish battle in history. Just as Balmain’s silhouettes are fearless, so is its relationship with colour, experimenting with everything, from khaki to yellow.

The brand also has a unique business model, which draws on the music industry. Balmain creator Olivier Rousteing argues that music is universal, whereas not everyone buys fashion magazines. We see this with the brand’s jointly released music video for Wolves with Kanye West, which featured models wearing Balmain’s latest collection.

For me, Balmain is the ultimate. Bold, modern; the cutting-edge of fashion.  Like Rousteing I see the bigger picture and look to the world for my creative inspiration instead of limiting myself to within the fashion industry. In turn, Balmain would teach me what it means to be a 21st Century fashion brand – to define the times not be defined by them.

 

Self-Portrait

https://www.instagram.com/mrselfportrait/?hl=en

Judging by the look and feel of Self-Portrait’s clothes, you would expect to be paying the luxury price tag. But therein lies the genius of Hang Chong, who makes high fashion collections without the price tag to match, collapsing the dichotomy of high street and high fashion in the process. Sure, it’s not exactly Primark prices, but it does show a move towards a more democratic conception of fashion.

Self-Portrait’s collections also play with gender, mixing delicate, feminine fabrics with masculine silhouettes. But what I love most about the clothes is their transitional quality and that the designs are also informed by historical references outside of fashion. This is something that I myself consider a strength, in terms of my ability to do considered, in-depth research.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of working with Self-Portrait is how young it is. Being a part of a relatively new company means being part of a team who does not rest on their laurels, who is constantly looking forward and seizing every opportunity to be as creative and interesting as possible. I feel like I would be an asset here because I am exactly the kind of woman the brand is targeting – young, fun, driven, and ready to push the boundaries.

 

KCD

https://www.instagram.com/kcdworldwide/?hl=en

Reason for Interest:

 

Louis Vuitton

https://www.instagram.com/louisvuitton/?hl=en

Reason for Interest:

 

Balenciaga

https://www.instagram.com/balenciaga/?hl=en

Reason for Interest:

 

Katharine Hamnett

https://www.instagram.com/katharinehamnett/?hl=en

Reason for Interest:

 

Nylon Magazine

https://www.instagram.com/nylonmag/?hl=en

Reason for Interest:

 

0

Academic Journal – False Memories

The concept of implanting false memories is paradoxically terrifying and fascinating. The manipulation of the mind in this way demonstrates further understanding into the vulnerabilities of the mind that heightens when we recall or remember memories. Here, Elizabeth Loftus states: “False memories are constructed by combining actual memories with the content of suggestions received from others. During the process, individuals may forget the source of the information. This is a classic example of source confusion, in which the content and the source become dissociated.” Different psychological techniques are utilised to subjects in order to create such false memories, which works to introduce the cracks can be so easily formed within the mind. Implanting false childhood memories, it much easier than trying to create a false memory during a recent time-period as your mind is far more likely to recall it more clearly as much of our childhood is hazy to begin with, meaning that the mind is more likely to be susceptible to suggestion in this way. There are deep complexities and consequences that come with the success of implanting a false memory in someone’s mind as it may “raise doubt about the validity of long-buried memories, such as repeated trauma, it in no way disproves them. Without corroboration, there is little that can be done to help even the most experienced evaluator to differentiate true memories from ones that were suggestively planted.” This causes me to question the power with the ability to create a false memory, especially if it is done without our knowledge. It may cause you to come into conflict with your entire sense of self and being. This academic journal supports my focus on the concept conditioning and how the public are the subjects of mind manipulation by the government and the media, as well as the idea that “history” should be questioned and not treated as gospel.

0

Academic Journal – The Internet & Privacy

The importance of maintaining privacy whilst using the internet is paramount to members of the public, it is something that we just blindly think is something that we have, however the idea of assuming “privacy” whilst on the internet is wishful thinking at best. This has been proven in my research into Facebook’s data breach and privacy violation of 87 million of its users’ data being released to the political firm, Cambridge Analytica. In this academic journal, the objective is to “examine the relationship between information transparency and consumer willingness to partake in personalization”, which again ties in with the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica data breach as Facebook users’ personal data in order to target your profile with specific ads. Ultimately, like this paper concludes: “In order to provide consumer-driven personalized service, firms must target consumers who are willing to provide information.” This idea of transparency also ties in with a documentary I watched, ‘We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks’, as the goal of the WikiLeaks, is to achieve complete transparency in information from the government to the public. The documentary also works to demonstrate the conflict between the abuse of political power, with the use of conditioning, fabricating stories, and generating propaganda to the public, and when the “real” information is exposed and revealed to the public, which comes at great risk. Ultimately, the display of truth is of the upmost importance. The idea that the internet is an all-powerful entity is displayed in this piece, which supports the idea that the internet is an example of a “hyperobject”, a revolutionary term generated by Timothy Morton, and we cannot even begin to understand all its depths and complexities.

 

0

Academic Journal – Technology & Memory

This academic journal re-enforces the well-established fact that social and spatial media dominate today’s society, and this presence is only increasing further, “demonstrably altering space, time, memory, and collective knowledge”. Here, the authors surmise that the way in which we receive information and are provided with information have progressed through the years and have reached staggering heights with “prior innovations in mass media and information and communication technologies – from radio to email to geographical information system (GIS) – have altered the production, representation, and circulation of knowledge.”  They continue to suggest that, “the high speed and volume of communication enabled through social media platforms like Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook transform the scope and scale with which spatial meanings and accounts of past events may be circulated and revised – as evidenced in the contradictory and rapidly changing ‘truths’ about suspects after the Boston Marathon bombing and events related to a widely covered date rape case in Steubenville, Ohio.” The way in which we engage with social and spatial media in everyday life, it’s constant presence works to “transform not just spatial meanings, spatial practices, and time/temporalities but also how we constitute memory, produce and share histories, or even pay attention.” Technological advances to this degree, whereby we they are the main news source for millennials and the Generation Z, leads them to have tremendous influence over the information we absorb: “Digital technologies are implicated not just in how we remember but also in how we forget.”  The internet expanding in this way has enabled news to become much more instant and spread on a massive scale that exceeds that of the times when it was the local news channel or the newspapers. However, this also means that we get an influx of information that comes in at incredible rapid rates, so it is up to us to decide what is worth taking notice of, meaning that lots of information and knowledge gets lost amongst the news feed. This work supports my research into the film ‘The Social Network’ and how it was the spark that ignited the explosion that is social media.

 

 

 

 

 

0

Academic Journal – Power: The Government & The Media

This academic journal tackles the media’s influence and power over society, particularly in connection with political power, focusing on the term, ‘bias’. The term seems to take on three major meanings: “Sometimes, it is applied to news that purportedly distorts or falsifies reality (distortion bias), sometimes to news that favors one side rather than providing equivalent treatment to both sides in a political conflict (content bias), and sometimes to the motivations and mindsets of journalists who allegedly produce the biased content (decision-making bias).” The author of the piece summises that researchers such as Budd, Craig, and Steinman (1999), may conclude that the media meets the “suggested standards for bias at a more fundamental level: consistent framing in favor of capitalism, patriarchy, heterosexism, individualism, consumerism, and White privilege, among other deeply entrenched values that certainly help allocate power in American society.” However, this work focuses on “media interventions in the day-to-day contests to control government power within the snug ideological confines of mainstream American politics,” and how they set the boundaries for “public discourse on most government policies,” as well as setting the boundaries for “discussions of the media as political actors, which are widely seen as exhibiting liberal bias. That belief, despite the lack of empirical evidence, has become a valuable power resource for conservative elites” as suggested by Watts (1999). These ideas suggest that “integrating framing, agenda setting, and priming research by applying the concept of media bias to illuminate political power.. yield[s] wide-ranging and perhaps converging streams of empirical evidence about patterns in the media’s problem definitions, causal analyses, moral judgments, and preferred policies that do make a continuing difference to who gets what, when, and how, but it could also improve normative prescriptions for enhancing the media’s contributions to democracy.” This works in tandem with my research into WikiLeaks and exposing crimes committed and lies told by the government to the public and how we are, in turn, conditioned from both the government and the media, to only provide us with the information they want us to know – and even then, that “information” is sometimes a lie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0

Academic Journal – Narrative as Cultural Memory

“While Remembering strives to defend this precious treasure, maintaining it as untouched as possible, Forgetting never tires of trying to steal and destroy it (or at least to damage or, insidiously, to distort and falsify it). In this way, the conflict about the treasure of the past takes on still another dramatic dimension: it becomes a struggle for truth.” This academic journal presents ideas that link to the story told in ‘The Act of Killing’ documentary, whereby the individuals who partook in the mass Communist killings in Indonesia in 1965-1966 reveal the truth about its genesis and how both they, and their country, lied to the world. This marked “history” a falsehood, a farce, a sham, thus calling into question the reliability of the histories we are told throughout our lives, the limitations and conditioning of information that we are forced to accept as truth because we have no other information offered to us to cause conflict or debate. “Forgetting, in most general terms, meant to lose or fail to retain something essential to human life; it meant an absence, emptiness or loss precisely where a memory, a positive content, should be.” This idea links closely to the way in which one of the killers in the documentary, Anwar Congo, through re-enactments, re-lived and remembered his killings which resulted in the suppression of his guilt to surface to the surface, whereas before it was only present in his dreams. He failed to realise the impact and magnitude of the torture and murders he was carrying out until he put himself in their shoes and experienced this revelation. This piece also ties in with the two other focus areas of my research. Science: “The traditions of enlightenment and scientific reasoning, while transforming the notion of memory from a basically stable world to the ever-changing outlook of modern life, have associated a similarly high value with memory and remembering.” Faith: “As Gross emphasizes, Christianity also joined together memory with insight, spirituality and the deeper moral value of life.” Myths & Legends: “True recall could lead one’s soul back to its origin, to that divine state of knowledge and being one had experienced before birth. Those unable to recollect what they had known prior to drinking of the waters of Lethe (forgetfulness) were condemned to live out their lives in the shadowy world of the mundane without ever reaching any insight into their fundamentally spiritual and divine nature.”

 

 

 

 

0

Steve Ramirez & Xu Liu – A mouse. A laser beam. A manipulated memory. | TED Talk

https://www.ted.com/talks/steve_ramirez_and_xu_liu_a_mouse_a_laser_beam_a_manipulated_memory?language=en

 

This TED Talk introduces an idea that is ultimately simultaneously ground breaking in the realm of science but also terrifying to society.

The ability for humans to have control over our memories with the simple technology of drugs, a laser, and a switch propels science further in terms of the understanding of the mind and memory, but it also poses ethical questions when thought about in the larger sense. This being that what if then someone wanted to control and manipulate people’s memories?

This has the potential to reach as far as to install false memories. The idea of false memories was a key focus point in the research I conducted for the previous brief and is a concept that often relates to criminal cases, particularly in witness testimony in terms of reliability, as well as linking to repressed memories. With the right psychological techniques being put in place, false memories can be planted very easily, presenting the idea that the mind can be easily manipulated.

In this experiment, Ramirez and Liu implant a fear memory into their test subject, a mouse, and trigger that fear memory in order to alter its behaviour. This targeting of specific memories with technology sounds quite simplistic in terms of how they describe it but in fact that the technology used is surprisingly sophisticated, is staggering and incredibly progressive. With the initial idea, itself seemingly simplistic, when in fact it is rather complex and leads to further understanding of the mind, although I don’t know if it has been tested on human subjects.

Although this form of, what could be argued as, “mind control”, as it is a type of mind manipulation, is seen in several films and in literature, it has always seemed so far removed from “reality”. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth, as this experiment proves that steps have already been taken in this direction with the implantation of false memories already being documented. This urges us to think about the way in which we interpret the information we’re given and introduces the importance of the reliability of the source and their intentions behind giving the information. The integrity of the mind is vital to maintain a sound mind and it’s the concept of the perception of our memories that is integral to memory recall and the veracity of our memories. Will there come a time when science has advanced to the point where we can no longer trust our own mind?

 

0

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XM0xWpBYlNM

         

“Free will is an illusion. Your fate has been dictated. You have no control.” What starts off as deciding whether the protagonist of the film, Stefan Butler, has ‘Sugarpuffs’ or ‘Frosties’ for breakfast soon spirals out of control when viewers are confronted with the decision of who out of two people should commit suicide by jumping off a balcony or whether Stefan should kill his dad then cut up or bury the body. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is a sadistic portal to toxicity. It led me, as a viewer and participant in this cruel game, to feel sick to my stomach and tremendous guilt for making these choices. However, no one is forcing you, you can stop watching at any time although you are never made aware of how long you have been watching and choosing Stefan’s path. I wondered very early on what would happen if you didn’t make a choice before the timer was up. The answer is this: “it” decides for you. It automatically picks the first option so that the story continues. I refrained from deciding very early on to see what would happen, then I found myself doing it deliberately more frequently as it asked me to decide who to commit suicide and I couldn’t decide.  Why I want to choose for anyone to die just for the sake of the story to move on. It leads you to feel like a torturer, a murderer, a manipulator. Being given the control over these choices didn’t make me feel powerful or in control it made me feel isolated, removed, and empty as the decisions I were presented with progressively became more and more dark and twisted. When the viewer reaches the point in the film whereby Stefan, who suffers from depression after feeling responsible for his mother’s death in a train crash, starts to think that he is being controlled and is not able to guide his own decisions is when it starts to feel very wrong and, even though you are aware that it is just a film, it’s not in fact real, it’s scary to think that this is actually not very far off from the world we live in sometimes. I often feel like I’m making decisions that don’t matter because ultimately destinations of pathways have already been dictated and chosen, we just make insignificant choices that get us there. Character Colin Ritman, a fellow game creator says that, “It’s the spirit that’s connected to our world that makes the decisions and we’re just along for the ride.” In the end, I felt responsible for the further deterioration of his mental state as the story progressed and also incredibly guilty for continuing to watch as it is attached to making his decisions for him.

0

Facebook Data Breach & Privacy Violation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgI_KAkSyCw

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/dec/20/facebook-violating-privacy-mark-zuckerberg

“Privacy, Zuckerberg believes, renders us inauthentic. After all, Facebook knows what’s best for us.” Much like the situation surrounding WikiLeaks, the data breach involving Facebook releasing 87 million profiles to the political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica in 2015 demonstrates, yet again, ways in which organizations use the internet as a way to carry out and cover-up immoral and potentially illegal information that seriously upset the general public. This invasion of privacy in sharing Facebook users information in this way illustrates a form of manipulation that only exists within the realm of the internet and is done is such a seemingly flawless way that it almost goes undetected. The Guardian reporter, Siva Vaidhyanathan, writes that, “the concentrated political power of organized, wealthy companies outweighs the distributed power of disorganized citizens,” and comments on Facebook’s lack of security and being “subject both to massive data breaches and to political hijacking”. Facebook skilfully instils a false sense of control and security to its users: “Zuckerberg yearns for Facebook to become the operating system of our lives, making decisions for us, guiding us, and enlightening us through more efficient consumption. This is a manner of unfreedom masked as maximum freedom.” Facebook, being a major international corporation, makes the lies they tell their users very appropriate to them but to their 2.3 billion users, it introduces the company’s effectiveness and moral integrity when it comes to personal protection: “Every single time that you share something on Facebook or one of our services, right there is a control in line where you control who you want to share with,” Zuckerberg told the US Congress earlier this year. This is a lie. We never controlled, nor could we know, what Yandex knew of our Facebook activity and what – of anything – it offered the Russian government or its various proxies that have engaged in worldwide propaganda attacks using social media.” It is the fact that Facebook transfers user personal data without our knowledge or permission, justified through the Ludacris notion that Facebook knows best for its users is staggering and this being illuminated to the public has raised some serious concerns surrounding privacy laws when using the internet. “These two principles – that Facebook is benevolent and that privacy is quaint and inefficient – drive everything Facebook does. They go a long way to explain why Facebook continued to give precious user data to a set of “trusted” partners years after the company claimed it had ended such a program.”

 

   

             

 

The term “meme” derives from the Greek term, ‘mimema’, meaning ‘imitated’. The Urban Dictionary defines “meme culture” as “he evolving culture surrounding Memes. Originally only found on the internet, meme culture can be seen in many real world examples, such as the dab and bottle flip, among many others”. On April 10 2018, CEO and Co-Founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of Congress regarding the data breach of 87 million users’ personal information to Cambridge Analytica, and the internet blew up. Countless comments and memes were posted on social media networks including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The way in which the social media generation circulate information has taken a rather drastic term from the previously ‘civilized’ way of ordinary newspaper or online articles and general conversation, the internet has since changed the game. Meme culture has risen to such immense heights, with its combining of popular culture references to current events has changed the way in which people acquire information – it’s quite baffling. During his testimony, which lasted over five hours, amidst Congress’ questions regarding Facebook’s users’ privacy one Senator, Senator Dick Durbin, asked if Zuckerberg would be comfortable sharing the name of the hotel he stayed in last night to which Zuckerberg responded, “No. I would probably not choose to do that publicly, here” he said. “I think everyone should have control over how their information is used.” This was a particularly intriguing exchange as Zuckerberg’s own privacy was brought under scrutiny and was met with resistance from Zuckerberg, obviously, which strengthened the argument that there should be privacy laws in place to protect users from such breaches. With regards to the question of Facebook storing and selling personal data Zuckerberg responded with this: “There’s a very common misconception that we sell data to advertisers. We do not sell data to advertisers… What we allow is for advertisers to tell us who they want to reach, and then we do the placement … That’s a very fundamental part of how our model works and something that is often misunderstood.” Very straightforward questions, that seem to require simple answers, were often met with work-around answers from Zuckerberg. There were key moments during the testimony that were heavily featured in the memes and comments posted online, including the “booster seat” Zuckerberg seemed to be sitting on during the testimony. A particularly popular meme that quickly circulated was an image of Zuckerberg’s face replacing hip-hop artist, Cardi B on her album cover artwork for her album entitled ‘Invasion of Privacy’. Control – that’s what is the driving force in this issue, and in fact surrounding the internet itself, as it is our false sense of security that is being violated by huge corporations that use it promote such negative acts like, “fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy.” On July 25 2018, Facebook shares plunged 19%, with Rupert Neate for The Guardian reporting that, “more than $119 billion being wiped off Facebook’s market value,” after it was revealed to the public that more user data was shared than originally thought, igniting a strong sense of distrust towards Facebook from its users as “3 million users in Europe had abandoned the social network site”. Despite this plummet in shares, Facebook still strives as one of the most dominant social networking sites used in today’s society. This poses the question of: What do these corporations have to do in order for everyone to turn our backs on them? I, unfortunately, am guilty of still using Facebook, despite knowing that my privacy has probably been violated more times than I can count. This calls for a more serious investigation into the strong influence and control that the internet has over us, thus illustrates its ultimate power and control.