For this assignment we had to find some images that would show the theory of the materiality of things. We will be discussing how clothes are invested with meaning and how this value relates to people who wear them. What association comes up when you see someone in jeans, or in a fancy dress with ruffles? And can we see clothes as objects, can they have a life of their own when we insert them with meaning (connotations) when we purchase them?
1. Diesel advertisement 2013: In this picture we see a white woman, naked with tattooed arms under a Middle Eastern veil, made of denim. Tim Dant discusses the example of the blue jeans in Consuming or living with things? as a particular type of clothing that has a specific and diverse connotations. In the 50’s/60’s you maybe were rich enough to just buy jeans and wear them as leisure wear (clothing for free time) or wear them to work, which is the original wearer of denim. It was also the first item worn by both men and women in the same style and silhouette. Denim has a very liberating and western feel (just look at old Levi’s advertisement, full with wild cowboys!), which is used by stylist Nicola Formichetti in this advertisement as a statement for equal rights for women (although I don’t think this was ever a official statement). If it is his place to make this statement, that’s a whole other question. But by combining the connotations of the fabric and use of the veil this advertisement is very controversial and interesting in how we see women, identity and how this relates to clothing and even different sorts of fabric.
2. The second image is an older advertisement (date unknown) from Stein & Blaine Inc. It emphasizes the identity of the clothing itself, which is interesting. ”Lets Talk About the South and Clothes the South Will Talk About!” shows that Stein & Blaine wanted to represent the American Southern identity and claim they’ve achieved that by just making clothes. It doesn’t matter who wears the clothes, if you wear it you’re wearing the South. Dant obviously disagrees with this notion because he states that ”the idea that humans interact with objects (clothes), sometimes as if they are human and sometimes because they reflect back something of who we think we are.” The clothing is just South because we give it that meaning, it is not by definition a representation of the South.
3. I have chosen the third picture because I thought the clothes play a significant role in the picture, even more then the person wearing it. We see a woman with a hairy, furry coat over her shoulders. The texture, the material of the coat is very significant because I feel it has a world of connotations on its own. I think it relates to a feeling you can have and that the coat can protect you in a way. Furry coats are very in right now and it’s also fashionable to wear them around the shoulders with you arm under the coat. Dant speaks about the social function of clothes but I think it’s also a intrinsic function that clothes can represent your state of mind. Maybe the social function can be found in the way we all want to be teddybears and cuddle our way through life? I know I want to!