Summer 2020 – Fashion Media and Processes in the Fashion Industry

Synne Skjulstad: Vetements, Memes, and Connectivity: Fashion Media in the Era of Instagram

This article relates the contested design collective Vetements to contemporary scholarship on digital connective mediational practices and Internet culture. Vetements has included central ingredients of contemporary Internet culture into the core of their design practice, and applied these strategically. Their design and communication practices are pervaded by Internet meme logic, heavily bringing on participation culture and connectivity. It taps into, and reflects currents in the field of art (and post-art) and go with them – not against them. Key to understanding how this design collective is part of a changing aesthetic in fashion mediation, is to inquire into their mediational activities in the light of recent research on Internet culture, with a particular focus on Internet memes. Via appropriation and ready-mades, Vetements’ positioning in the digital visual media ecology is investigated via the proposed concept of fashion memes.

Keszeg Anna: The concept and phenomenon of “Instagrammable fashion”

My research is deeply rooted in the conviction according to which the primary task of communication and media studies is to map everyday concepts and usage logics of everyday media consumption. Consequently, the paper analyses the main frameworks governing the interactions between the fashion industry and its prominent social media platform, Instagram; interprets the term “Instagrammable fashion”; and looks into ways of its academic conceptualization. The argument focuses on the interpretative traditions of social media practices by addressing fashion and dress related Instagram posts. Finally, a typology is proposed, allowing a systematic analysis of the discourses behind the term “Instagrammable fashion”. The typology has three major components: (1) shopable and entertaining Instagram media; (2) activist Instagram media; (3) viral Instagram media. The posting practices of some of the most representative Instagram accounts are used to highlight the three above mentioned models of Instagrammable fashion.

Hódosy Annamária: Superhero fashion. How and why do superhero suits (and accessories) get origin stories?

Superhero suits are not to protect their wearers from the cold: they are iconic signifiers that mark the hero as different from the mass as well as from other superheroes. Notwithstanding, time makes it necessary to develop the superhero suits, what is more, the latest films usually emphasize that the point of superhero clothing is to protect the hero from his enemies as well as to become a weapon by itself. The changes that aim to achieve this purpose are to enhance the realism of the superhero narratives and to abolish the ornamental and carnivalistic nature of the suits. But too much change may interfere with the tradition that defines the identity of the superhero. The latest narratives solve this problem through an allusive or narrative contextualization of the renown and indispensable but outdated elements. First, the problematic nature of a detail in the usual appearance of the hero is highlighted, or the mise-en-scene that used to be a “given”, and then the problem is solved by weaving it into a new narrative thread. The study exemplifies this strategy in three superhero films: Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), Thor (2011) and Wonder Woman (2017).

Hermann Veronika: All Hail to the Flaneur – A social history commentary

Introduced by French poet Charles Baudelaire in mid-19th century, the flâneur became an iconic figure of modernist urban bohemia after Walter Benjamin’s famous essay Paris: Capital of the Nineteenth Century. Since then the figure of the flâneur has been dispersing through national, ethnical, gender and historical borders. While a great deal of research has been dedicated to examining modernist identity tendencies and structures, what has remained somewhat underdeveloped is how different versions of the flâneur became related to gender and certain cultural, political or social circumstances. Accordingly, in this paper I intend to consider general aspects of gender relations by analyzing female derivations of the urban stroller. I also argue that modernist literature has played a key role in mediating urban mass culture and shaping urban subcultural identity structures at the beginning of the 20th century.

Egri Petra: Staging Fashion: Contemporary fashion performances

Fashion interacts with various media and different institutions; it is constantly formed through this transmediality. It is inevitable that – due to its connection with the different media – the fashion show often radically transforms. One important component in this transformation is the effect that the art of performance has on the fashion shows. In an instructive way, theatre, first of all contemporary theatre performances show similar signs. The phenomenon of “postdramatic theatre”, outlined by Hans-Thiens Lehmann, refers to a special theatrical event that integrates performance-art components, creating theatrical events through an act of border-crossing, a gesture that disrupts the frames of the institutionalised theatre. Fashion performances – besides staging the latest couture collections of designers – often show similar trends, usually have important social and political references and create symbolic narratives. Such “postdramatic” shows not only present garments, but also suggest a special social and cultural form of resistance. In response to the literature on “postdramatic theatre”, the aim of this paper is to examine various types of fashion performances through factual cases with different intentions. Additionally, the argument refers to the effects of performance as a transforming medium on the modified practice of contemporary fashion shows, and to the world of fashion itself. The paper examines the “fashion walk” of Tamás Király in 1989 that was built on symbolic narratives, the collaborative fashion performance of Vanessa Beecroft in 1988, and the collective fashion performances of Laurel Jay Carpenter that were placed into liminal space in 2017.

Case Study

Nistor Laura: System and Agency: An outline on sustainable fashion

Clothing-related fashion can be interpreted as a reflection of those trends and fashions which are prevalent in social actions in general. We can quote in this respect the case of sustainable fashion, whose growing popularity is a consequence of the general spread of environmentalism and sustainability-related megatrends. Several analyses have documented so far the huge environmental footprint of and the various ecological damages caused by the consumer society, i.e. by our mainstream social-industrial organization. The recognition of these problems have generated imperative actions both in terms of producers and consumers: among others, irresponsible fashion production, accumulation of clothes and fashion consumption which ignores its environmental consequences became labeled as passé.  Thus, the fashion landscape of nowadays reveals not only conspicuous consumption, but also the vivid trend of eco-conscious, socially responsible fashion consumption. The concept of circular fashion approaches the case of sustainability at the crossroad of fashion as a system and individual agency. Starting from this concept, I review several production and consumption attempts which illustrate the movement of fashion towards sustainability. My conclusion is that sustainable fashion can be conceived in the form of various, more or less radical system – agency tandems: there are different types of sustainable fashions, each of them rooted in specific motivations and possibilities. Individual consumers who are used to practice fashion as agency (i.e. bricolage) have nearly infinite possibilities for choosing to practice a sustainable form of fashion.

Maróy Krisztina: Fashion hypes

The article presents a phenomenon of the fashion industry that has become increasingly dominant in recent decades, the drops, and the fashion hypes. The trend started with streetstyle brands, but now influences the operation and communication of the whole industry. As a negative consequence of the overproduction, niche brands have begun to dictate fashion, and it seems they will dominate the future as well, forcing the entire industry to change its rhythm. The aim of the analysis is to answer a historical and a practical question: what caused the radical change of the fashion industry’s direction within four decades? how to get the attention of the customers today? The investigation deals with concrete case studies and recent examples.

Orbán Jolán: Comme des Femmes – Olga Neuwirth’s Orlando opera and the costumes of Rei Kawakubo

Olga Neuwirth’s Orlando made history on 8th December 2019 in Vienna, becoming in 150 years the first opera composed by a woman to have been staged at Wiener Staatsoper. Choosing Virginia Woolf’s novel as topic and Rei Kawakubo, renowned designer and founder of the brand Comme des Garçons, as costume designer, Olga Neuwirth made clear that in the 21th century it’s time for female composers and designer to be present on the stage and to face the gender questions in the opera houses. I would like to focus on three questions raised by the premiere: the encounter between contemporary opera and fashion, between Olga Neuwirth and Virginia Woolf, and finally between Rei Kawakubo and Orlando.

Student’s Workshop

Bukovácz Lilla: A study on ethical consumption gap among young, Hungarian, eco-conscious buyers

After introducing the concepts of eco-anxiety and ethical consumption gap, the study presents a quantitative research conducted in order to measure the presence of these phenomena in Hungary. The purpose of the study was to assess the fashion product consumption behaviour of young, ethical/eco-conscious people and to find out if their actual shopping behaviour matches their attitude.The author draws her conclusions after evaluating the responses of 738 participants. The results of the research point out the the causes of the ethical consumption gap, and the factors that could reduce the size of the gap in the case of young Hungarian consumers.