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The Intelligistas

The other night Beauty & the Geek aired the season premiere. It kind of struck a cord with me because, well, because there were a few statements aired that alluded to a common belief that because a woman is interested in fashion and makeup, that she lacked intelligence.

Now you and I both know, that the likelihood of anyone with any real intelligence could possibly subscribe to that shallow line of thinking. I for one, believe that it takes a great amount of intelligence to identify beauty, much less create it. The process of clothing oneself, of creating and constructing garments is a very complex and heavily loaded subject of vernacular and context. It’s surprising that fashion isn’t taken as seriously some of the other visual arts, like film, photography, architecture, graphic design, etc.

What’s even more intriguing is the perceived divide between the intellectual and the fashionistas… Some groups like Andrea Crews and Hackers and Haute Couture Heretics find ways to reappropriate clothing on an art platform by exploring the reconstruction of existing clothing therefore transforming the garments present meaning. VakkoVamps is a proposal for a project to bridge the gap between the two worlds makes this observation:

When fashion comes under the scrutinizing eyes of theory, it is often considered as a spell from the black arts and is “revealed” as fools’ play, ridiculed deception, or capitalistic conspiracy. Very rarely does theory approach the emancipatory, magical, extravagant, or luminous sides of fashion. This leads to a situation where critical designers almost automatically place themselves (or are being placed) into an anti-fashion position, enacting a “fashion drop-out” statement, and become producers of singular objects commenting on fashion from the outside. Seldom are their critical expressions actually worn or reach an elevated position in the fashion system.

The project was to collaborate with Turkish designers Vakko to balance the project between thought and fashion, but for some reason it didn’t quite work as anticipated, as most projects do… But they did share a great pdf of the process… So who knows? Perhaps clothes aren’t meant to be taken seriously, or perhaps the bridge already exists, and it’s just a matter of looking closer.

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10 comments for “The Intelligistas”

  1. I’m distracted by the beautiful hair in that picture!

    Posted by WendyB | September 20, 2007, 5:22 pm
  2. that post made me weak in the knees…

    Posted by pr couture | September 20, 2007, 6:59 pm
  3. I gotta gal and she’s so fine, and her name is rama-lama ding-dong!

    (Sung to the tune of The Volga Boatmen).

    Posted by Mothra | September 20, 2007, 8:02 pm
  4. There are lots of people who know how to construct a garment (after all it is technique and that you can learn), but there are fewer who actually want to send a message through their whole collection. The first are clothing makers, seamstresses, the second: designers. But the line between them is very thin…

    Posted by dianabobar | September 21, 2007, 1:32 am
  5. Wow, deep. But a great area to explore!
    Thanks for the post

    Posted by Mrs Fashion | September 21, 2007, 4:24 am
  6. @ diana… perhaps that’s why critics do not take fashion so seriously is because it openly stays at the level of decor instead of adopting any form of ideology or philosophy. i think it’s strange that there isn’t more theory attached with fashion design. as a designer myself, i think all the time about these kinds of thing, except my design goes into printed matter instead of the human body.

    Posted by jennine | September 21, 2007, 9:47 am
  7. Hi jennine :)

    I love your blog so much I moved it to “My Red Carpet”!

    By the way, I would like to be an “Independent fashion blogger” (that’s a great blog)! Can you add me to it? Do I have to do anything? How can I get the logo?

    Can you please answer me back?


    Posted by The Stiletto Effect | September 21, 2007, 12:26 pm
  8. i absolutely agree with you… i’m an architect, and i find design in any realm to be interesting. but i find architects and other “serious” designers think that fashion is frivolous. i think it’s because fashion is associated with women that it’s considered not as “important”. good old sexism is still alive and well today.

    btw, it should be “alluded” rather than “eluded” in the first sentence you wrote… sorry, can’t help it, i’m a spelling/grammar maniac!

    Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2007, 6:54 pm
  9. d’oh. you’re right… this is what happens when you try to edit your own work.


    Posted by jennine | September 22, 2007, 12:21 am
  10. I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate what you have written here. I am a graduate student and my dissertation is on fashion. I’m technically getting my degree in Literature, but you are right that fashion is typically neglected from the intellectual horizon. SO THANK YOU. Your article hits very close to home for me.

    Posted by riz | September 22, 2007, 10:00 am

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