“Oi!”

April 22, 2010

In l970s, 1980s Britain the skinhead subculture erupted. Out of this culture came political and non-political youths, but most of all a unique style evolved. Some aligned with the British National Party, while others simply adopted the clothing style to counter hippie culture of the time. The most important effect of skinhead subculture were the trends and legacy it left for modern fashion. In this collage, original skinhead fashions are on the right while modern skinhead-inspired fashions are on the left side. The British flag and the logo of the British National Party are on opposite corners of the collage to demonstrate the spectrum of skinheads/skinhead style as it relates to history. The word “Oi!” is a saying associated with skinheads and helps centralize the collage.

There are two images of men sitting in similar positions: one in skinhead clothing, the other in comparable modern dress. This is a great visual way to draw a parallel between skinhead fashions of old and new. Another tactic is the white space running down the middle of the page. This serves as the divider between modern style and original skinhead style. A viewer of this collage should be able to recognize what skinhead subculture has left for modern styles.

His Airness

April 22, 2010

A kingdom of sneakers is suspended in the sky and seated on the throne is none other than the “most marketable athlete” Michael Jordan, clad in the original Air Jordans. A closer look reveals that the cloudlike foundation of this empire is composed of solely sneakers, all products of the AJ line. Dedicated fans/consumers have their hands reaching skyward as if there is a high chance of a shoe rainstorm. Meanwhile, “His Airness”, flanked by two white collared servants, smiles brightly at the viewer.

The focal point of this composition, Jordan, is seated on a bright red throne, drawing attention from the viewer. From there, one can find several key symbolic elements. The green emeralds, for instance, embedded in Jordan’s crown represent the financial success of both Nike and the “king”. The depiction of the many models of Air Jordans conveys how Nike has become an empire in the sneaker market. Rather than looking like the traditional servants, the peculiar figures next to Jordan don business attires and hold up evidence of success—a sales chart that boasts high income and a basket filled with money and a trophy.

Intuxication

April 22, 2010

Intuxication, a neologism of the words “intoxication” and “tuxedo,” is a take on Barbara Kruger’s untitled work from 1989 that boasts the phrase “Your body is a battleground.”  The artist, famous for her pop art as social commentary, created the piece as a critique of our society’s perception of women’s body image.  Like the original, Intuxication is split in half between the positive image of a typical woman from the 1950s and the negative photograph from a 2008 Yves Saint Laurent ad campaign.  The two halves are placed together to form one woman.  The words “Semblance is intuxicating” are printed in red bolded and italicized font across the woman’s forehead, chin, and chest.  A pair of red handcuffs links the woman’s wrists.

The appropriated collage signifies the shift from clothing as a restrictive force pre-Yves Saint Laurent’s “Le Smoking” (1966), marked by the closed handcuff, to dress as a means of “semblance” and liberation, evidenced by the broken handcuff.  YSL’s fitted tuxedo for women visually equated women to men, which subsequently led to their advancement in the workplace.  The added movement and confidence allowed women to progress from housewives to businesswomen.  The phrase “semblance is intuxicating,” refers to appearance as an agency of change as well as the specific resemblance of the “smoking” to men’s clothing, which “intoxicated” societal norms by putting women in pants.

Feminison-break

April 22, 2010

In correspondence with the economic prosperity of post World War II era, from the 1940s to the end of 1950s, curly hairstyles dominated to be the glamour of this era. Curly hairstyles, whether long or short, became the reflection of femininity. The atmosphere of post WWII era and hairstyle’s meanings are well captured in the collage, “Feminison-break”.

There are two main divisions in this collage: left-side and right-side. Each of the two sides are depicting two different periods of time. The background of each jail cell signifies the time period. Because of the purpose of comparison, one side shall not dominate the whole picture.

Women in the left side of the jail are smiling inside the jail with glamorous hairstyles. They are ignorant of the fact that they are in jail. Furthermore, the only vibrant features of women in jail are their lips and hairstyles. Woman on the right corner used chainsaw to break out of the jail and has different hairstyle from the women on the other side. It is significant to notice that the women on the left jail are all smiling and have similar kind of curly hairstyles.

White Entanglement

April 21, 2010

In the 1920’s, the white wedding dress was given the characteristic of signifying purity.  In modern society however, many woman ignore the symbolism of the white wedding dress. On the right upper corner, there is a figure of a woman in the 1920’s entering a narrow and run-down tunnel. On the opposite lower corner, there appears a 20th century rebellious woman and luxurious items coming out of the same tunnel, but this time it is wider and more spacious. The woman going into the tunnel and the woman coming out of the tunnel are the same woman, but with different ideals.

The white nest on the background portrays the entanglement of ideas surrounding the white wedding dress. Two generations ago, although the concept of the white wedding dress is only an idea invented by society, more importance was given to this concept, as women before were much more conservative. In modern society however, the percentage of woman arriving virgin to the altar is significantly lower compared to the percentage two generations ago. Despite this, women continue to wear white wedding gowns ignoring what the color of the dress is supposed to signify. Women now are more liberal not only in dress but also in ideals as the importance given to the aesthetics of the dress surpasses that of its invented symbolism.

Lingerie Propaganda

April 21, 2010

Propaganda in Lingerie

World War II had a drastic effect on the American society in the 1940s, particularly when dealing with gender roles. Aspects of the shift of women’s roles is reflected in the popular bras in that time period. This digital collage shows a picture of a woman wearing an embroidered bra. The woman is smiling and stretching her arms out. Hanging on her right arm is a seemingly metal female symbol. Above her in dark letters, it says, “Stop him”. The “him” in the phrase is large and bolded, with a warped shape. At the bottom of the collage, the question is asked, “What do you say, ladies?”. The background of the image is a faded, yellowed, and slightly crinkled paper and the text on the bottom is light behind a dark rectangular background.

This collage is modeled after a World War two propaganda poster. This background is supposed to show a causal relationship between the war and the theme and message of the poster. The fadedness of the background paper signifies the old age of the ad to a modern viewer. The word “him” stands out from the other text on the poster because it represents men in the 1940’s society. The question at the bottom of the poster implies a target audience: women. The female symbol that is hanging on the woman’s arm signifies the image of femininity and how that image is rooting her in her perception of the feminine form that is reflected in her bras, just as it is holding her down in the collage due to the weight of the metal. The question at the bottom is modeled after a famous WWII poster that asks America what they are going to do about the situation overseas during the war, calling for action. This parallels the negative influence of men in the undergarment manufacturing industry and calls women to action in taking control of their own image of femininity.

During the era of Latin American colonialism, the immigration of many slaves for the use of the labor caused the merging of many cultures. Here we see how the exploration of Puebla expanded more than just Old Spain to New Spain, but also the culture barrier that was broken from the Asian continent. As we analyze the images shown, we see the Spanish Colonial ship on the seas, arriving on the lands of Puebla, represented by the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios in Cholula, Puebla. The main reason for the exploration of new land was to expand the rule of the Spanish king, but as we can see here, there was the motive of Indian slavery behind it as well, represented by the hands in chains. The church represents the myth of Mirnah, a slave princess from India, being adopted into the Sosa family and raised Christian. She plays a big role in the history of the China Poblana because she was the one who created the dress in the first place. The dancers on the hill show us how after time passed; the dress began to be used as a tool to attract the men of the city for marriage. The flags represent how the United States copied (hence the flipped flag) many of the dress’s stylistic approach and applied it to their fashion era. Finally, Frida Kahlo, shown here as the centerpiece, shows us the final stage of the China Poblana, being the dress of the aristocracy. The collage as a whole represents the history of the China Poblana, and its rise to power, represented by the mountain behind the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios.

Digital Collage

“Away with the Old, On to the New” depicts a leaving behind of American tradition, leading to division of generations. The post war era of the late 1940s and 1950s brought on a newfound sense of entitlement for the American Youth. For the first time, they took ownership of money earned and began using it to have their own cars and other personal items. This whole new feeling of owning something significant led to a more rebellious feeling of leaving behind tradition to pursue a new culture. James Dean was a major figure in this movement with his movie Rebel Without a Cause, in which he played a jean-wearing boy who gets into some trouble. Jeans became a signature item for the American Youth during this time. They are shown in this collage as walking away from home, down the street towards James Dean, who stands further along the neighborhood. Behind James Dean, the landscape fades to color.

The contrast in color in this digital collage is simply an effort to contrast the “old” and the “new.” The black and white landscape including the neighborhood and the house represent the “old.” James Dean and the jeans are all shown in smooth and bold colors to represent the American youth’s eagerness to break away from the past, eventually creating their own culture. Jeans are used because they were a defining item of clothing for the American youth, and no specific faces of the youth, other than James Dean are shown, suggesting that this movement did spread across the entire country, not limiting itself to any particular area. The jeans walk towards a colored landscape away from the black and white neighborhood they are currently in. This walk towards bold color represents the movement to a new youth culture that is still important in our lives today.

Abstract

The collage shows two eras for the activism t-shirt which are very distinct from each other. In the first era- the 1960s the mainstream fashion was characterized by straight, clean cut dresses and suits and the activism t-shirt was frowned upon and considered “improper”. It was adopted by the marginalized sections of society- the hippie community and gay and lesbian community and people began to associate the activism t-shirt with these minorities. The second era is the present moment where the activism t-shirt has become a trendsetter’s wardrobe staple. Celebrities popularize the activism t-shirt by wearing it themselves. This indicates that the activism t-shirt has managed to enter and established a place for itself in mainstream fashion. The logos in the background show the agencies that advertise the activism t-shirt in each era. A sharp contrast can be seen between the modes in the 1960s and today. It has evolved from being advertised in flyers distributed by small agencies like ALFA (Atlanta Lesbian Feminist Alliance) and RAVEN (Rape And Violence End Now) to being broadcasted on channels such as CNN and popular magazines like Vogue. Its wearer has changed from the marginalized hippie to the trendsetting celebrity.

Who Needs a Groom Anyways?

Until the 20th century, brides have always been dependent on other people. The wedding was a mark of changed loyalty- the young girl who used to depend on her father was now depending on a husband. Today, brides have established themselves as independent. Brides today plan their weddings and many pay for their wedding. Brides have economically established themselves with the help of society embracing their liberation.

The collage depicts a wedding cake with a bride figurine on top. When picturing a wedding cake, bride and groom figurines are customary. There is only a bride to show that the bride no longer needs a groom and is no longer dependent on him financially.  This is an ironic concept because a wedding is the joining of two people. Yet, this joining does not necessarily mean a required dependence. The groom on the bottom of the page shows the man the woman is leaving behind, and the economic dependence she is leaving behind. The word “independence” on top further emphasizes the point of the independent bride.