Monday, April 26, 2010

Mary's Musings: More on Globalization, Bowler Hats

Above: Unique Assorted Looks from Across the World, courtesy of Lookbook, which I always want to make fun of but can't because it is basically this photo repeated 10,000 times.

1. Apparently the Face Hunter has decried globalization, saying:

"Globalization is a myth. The belief that international brands and pop culture are making the world a standardized society populated by clones is an old-skool science-fiction vision of the future, not the reality of the 21st century."


"we should talk of 'creole-ization,'" which is "customizing identity from fragments of culture from different parts of world."


"Trends are dead, baby! Become what you are' is now a reality."

Well, obviously he's not going to say that everyone looks the same everywhere because of globalization, and that the ten million people wearing a bowler hat and posing pigeon-toed from Norway to Korea is indicative of that.

But it's not like globalization only relates to big brands and corporations. Cultural globalization has everything to do with the fact that everyone with a computer can view people and trends from across the planet, whereas once cultural influences were insular and therefore had to be somewhat unique. It has to do with the fact that people's cultural references came largely from where they were from, instead of from a glowing box. And let us not forget that street style can trickle up or down- the current trend of wearing huge, teetering platforms with crap hanging off them (or "big ugly shoes" as I call them) obviously started with designer fashion, as the style is one of the few thoroughly modern looks popular, and there's not really any skewing going on there.

I have been using my razor-sharp observation skills to look at the people of New York City, where I currently am (uh, do you have a job for me? List of jobs I'm interested in will follow at end of post.*) People in New York look a little more polished, a little more on-point, but they are overwhelmingly just wearing the same trends we have all seen so much and made so much fun of: Saggy pleated shorts, chambray shirts, boxy blazers with rolled sleeves, the aforementioned bowler hat (for the love of god, stop wearing those!!!!!) and, for guys, the Sartorialist look which is at least a cute one.

Lastly, everything today has gotten so fashion-y. There used to be a huge divide between designer and plebeian. Maybe this is apropos of nothing, but remember that Britney Sometimes video? I do. I remember watching it in horror as she capered around in a white cropped turtleneck and baggy pants, like her stylist had walked blindfolded into a Deb sale rack and shortened the first thing he could find into a half-shirt:

Anyway, it blew me away how fugly it was. It was that really thick ribbed knit, too.

I just think this sort of thing wouldn't fly anymore, you know? Everyone collaborates with a designer, and every fashion blog features some fourteen year old jerking off over the new
Alexander Wang collection. When I was in high school, no one knew about this stuff. To them,
"designer" was the Paul Frank monkey or Mavi jeans or something. The pervasive idea that you can take designer looks and "skew" them and make them your own is supposed to democratize fashion, but you're still echoing the establishment- the same with designer capsule collections for cheap stores.

The point is, globalization and the like is more insidious than you think. It's not just kids in remote China eating happy meals, man! And as for the "old-skool [skool??!!] science-fiction vision" of the future, let's not forget if someone from the past flash-forwarded to today and saw a zillion people staring at little glowing screens and wearing wet-look leggings, they'd be pretty freaked out!

2. Words I wish never to hear again:
panini, I hate saying this word, and I hate how every crappy chain restaurant in the world is all over ciabatta and microgreens and all this fancy stuff that only makes sense when it doesn't come out of a baggie in the freezer.

pimp and all its variations. The 2000's were the worst, and now that I am reflecting upon them a lot, I am getting more and more angry that I had to come of age in such a horrible, turtleneck/half-shirt wearing decade. Using the word pimp as an adjective or verb is not okay.

3. Here is a funny blog for you guys to read: Godmammit I'm Mad. This is a lady after my own heart, who hates Sea of Shoes and whose hero is Patti Smith, and who posts amazing photos of herself as a teen runaway hanging out on Sunset Boulevard in the 60's and 70's. It's worth reading the back entries, except that most of 2008 is just anti Sarah Palin posts.

* Jobs:
1. Malcolm McClaren-esque band manager. Give me a band clad in turtleneck half-shirts and I will turn them all into stars!
2. Gaddabout. Hire me for your magazine and I'll make droll observations about parties I attend for free.
3. Costumer for whatever. No longer will no one sit in the audience and fume about how this movie supposedly set in the 1970's clearly features people wearing modern jeans!
4. Simon Doonan or Amy Sedaris or Judy Blume, or assistant to Simon Doonan or Amy Sedaris, but not Judy Blume because I guess she is retired.
5. Vintage museum curator.
6. Trend forecaster, but used for good, not evil.
7. Glam rock expert.
8. Basically any other sort of job, hopefully something to do with vintage clothing, YA fiction, feminism, writing, editing, or similar.

PS: Malcom McClaren's coffin:

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