Term 1 – Week 1 – Fashion as Communication, Dress as Disclosure

October 4, 2016 in uncategorised

0ebc0efbf24b6d74cc55d219ec393565To begin our lecture on Fashion as Communication, Dress as Disclosure. We started by watching a short film called ‘1719 edition, The Life and Adventure of Robinson Crusoe’. It was a about a Western European man who was teaching a man from a tribe to be civilised. He taught him how to speak words of English, count numbers in English, taught him to wear trousers and showed him how to use a gun. I think the European man had excessive pride for him to do that, it seemed as though he was boasting about his knowledge and felt as though he was at a more higher status than the man from the tribe.

What is Dress? Why do we wear clothes?

This was a question raised by our tutor Dene, we as a class concluded to many different unique answers to that. Some answered because of our identity, a way of diverging and converging, modesty, status or political reasons and territorial reasons. My answer to that was survival and protection, as wearing clothes to me is not only because of fashion and style but it is also a human need. We need to keep ourselves warm and protect ourselves from the climate change, objects and the ground we walk on. If we as human today walked around completely naked throughout the four different seasons of the year, I don’t think many of us would survive as long as we could if we had clothes on.

In this lecture, we discussed the many main reasons why we actually wear clothes. Firstly we had…….


It is a primary human need, which gives us shelter and protection. Fashion in the 20th Century was considered a ‘female’ thing and was not taken very seriously. It was more focused on the use of clothing rather than the appearance of it. Charles Darwin (19-20th Century) was a man who had a more leisured lifestyle, he was the type who wanted to do good things for people and he had the money for it as well. He was a philanthropist. He met a tribe and he gave them blankets to keep them warm throughout the cold weathers, the tribes reaction to the blanket was a shock, they did not know what to do with it as they thought it was some sort of accessories instead of a using it to keep them warm.


As the generation grows older and more civilised, we are more cautious about our modesty. But modesty varies between different culture and religion. Some people may believe that to cover more of yourself and your skin shows more value to yourself. Sexuality is also another reason of why people wear clothes, there are sexual boundaries while dressing yourself, sexual limits and also age and gender limits. Dressing sexually would not be suitable for people who are too young or even children or else that would not be seductive anymore, it would just be completely wrong.


‘The Ambassadors’ a painting by artist Hans Holbein the Younger, shows two men who dresses themselves up to show their social status. This painting displays the image of power, knowledge of music, culture and art. The man wearing thick fur coat displays wealth and richness. Some people in the modern days still do dress to impress, they want to show other people that they are better than them by showing them what they wear.


Many people nowadays only want things they cannot afford, they want to buy things even it’s not necessary to have. Mainly women carry the need to show off what they consume. They use clothes to communicate their pride.


Dressing up is also a psychological need to express oneself, the need to fit in with other people, to show a persons personality and freedom. That is why we see many groups that range from Goths, Hippies to Rock Bands who all dress in the similar style as their circle of friends, they are proud to be in the same circle of friends who communicate equally in the sense of fashion and style.


This is where a function of a certain wearable goods changes into a new expression. Wealthy men who buy expensive watches wear it because it looks nice and it shows class and status, they don’t need to worry about the time but only the richness of the watch quality itself.


Semiotics is a straight forward communication in terms of fashion. Dressing yourself can communicate messages to people, an example from one of the slides from the lecture where a man wears an earring on his left ear or a white handkerchief in his left trousers back pocket meant that he was ‘homosexual’, but nowadays that does not matter.


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