Globalization, Nation and Ethnicity Essay
Fashion may be generally taken to represent the trends in style particularly in dressing, accessories as well as in beauty enhancement. In this context, fashion is taken to be the mode of clothing in relation, glamour, style and splendor considering personal appearance, identity as well as the cultural and social significance.
Today, fashion is changing drastically to compose fashion trends, which is very relevant in the contemporary society as its reflected in the new colorful and stylish designs. Fashion portrays the manner of thinking and flexibility in generating new ideas and may emphasize other aspects such as architectural, technological, historical, recreational, political, and economic standpoint through self expressions.
In addition, it contains a degree of escapism that sometimes individuals take advantage of, in a given setup. However, it is important to note that the mode of dressing carries a strong message that is so powerful that it depicts not only an individuals personal identity but also the cultural norms that a person is associated with (Bennett 2005).
The fashion industry is a free one where intellectual property is not necessarily emphasized since anyone can copy any other persons mode of dressing especially from public figures. If intellectual property rights would be imposed, it would distort the trends and creativity which composes the success of the industry. Nevertheless the copying of ideas especially by huge firms reduces competition and most importantly, suppresses the smaller upcoming small and medium enterprises.
Fashion in a way of self expression which comprises the diversity in therefore makes life more enjoyable. It reflects the societys norms such as social strata, profession and cultural values through the popular styles especially if it is repeated from one generation to another. Interestingly, what is out of fashion today may be fashionable in another generation, which is especially broadcasted through the media essential in marketing and merchandizing current trends (Davis, 1994).
Fashion and Gender
Gender is more socially established than it is biologically. It is a blend of social relations and communications that is exhibited in peoples daily lives. Fashion reflects the attitude embraced by a given society but sometimes also acts as an agent of change especially regarding gender stereotyping.
Gender codes that are said to be unacceptable include the fashion trends where the society expects that gender stereotypes should be clearly defined through modes of clothing. Therefore, fashion portrays the gender associations in a society. In the twentieth century for instance, men fashion was designed to emphasize the workplace (Craik 1994). By then, a womans place was in homemaking. Industrial revolution however, altered these gender roles where women were incorporated in the workforce.
This caused a masculinity shift especially portrayed in the fashion industry. Initially fashion depicted women as a substance of consumption and dependent to men while males were portrayed as a substance of production. However, this was modified since industrial revolution where emancipation put the women at the forefront as a producer and men as consumers thus, saw creation of gender hierarchies (The University Guide 2008).
The corporate world is marked by suits that try to portray men as bearers of wealth, power and influence. It is all weather and emphasizes on minimal body structure in which, a suit has become a universal language in the corporate world. As a result, the suit is taken to depict cohesiveness in the masculine aspect which but instead shows authority and masculine identity.
In comparison, the feminine suit in the corporate world has signified a shift in gender roles where women now demand authority. However, their depictions are not as precise as those of the males since they are designed to put emphasis on their curves which is not only attracts the societys attention on the current position of a woman but also demands conviction that she is able to incorporate their sexuality into the powerful status in the corporate world.
Nevertheless, Fashion has been taken to show the sexual preferences of individuals in the world. For instance, in the twentieth late century the gay community utilized fashion to depict their sexual orientation and unity.
To gain this attention, they chose to put one earring where they could identify themselves and help the society identify with them. In other instances, the earring was worn in a specific side for them to figure out whether a gay was playing a woman or a mans role. Unfortunately, the hip-hop culture has distorted the initial meaning of having an earring.
They have taken it as a fashion statement although it has compromised the initial meaning. Currently, a male putting on an earring is aimed at commanding a social status since these earnings are often diamonds to depict wealth. Therefore, sexual orientations are no longer identified through earrings because the society has to some degree embraced the gay community, which no longer has to stand out (The University Guide 2008).
Fashion journalism at times use clothing to depict masculine identity in given sectors. For instance, certain institutions shows male dominance by their dressing codes while other are standard. Some mens uniforms show masculinity and their compliance to order rather than their individuality. Besides, women sexuality is overemphasized in the contemporary fashion designs which portray women as sexual objects.
It is therefore right to conclude that fashion depicts the nature of interaction that exists between males and females where women are not able to stand on their own and have no power over vital aspects in life. Men on the other hand are depicted as having authority over situations in fashion images (Black 2004). Why would such depictions be taken lightly and even achieve persuasiveness on the consumers?
This might be due to the fact that the societal values are clear and therefore fashion just resonates within those values. For instance, the 1950s fashion emphasized consumerism which was so prevalent in the society since before then, the world war left impoverished individual who took fashion as a way of life for the elite (Miles 1998). Thus the 1950s reawakened the fashion industry where mass production was necessitated and fashion journalism picked up.
Women fashion was marketed through cinemas as well as photographs. In 1960s social transformations utilized fashion to explicitly idolize feminism (Negrin 2008). Since then, fashion has been more realistic as the globalization process through super models meant to signify interracial and classical beauty and technological advancement (Crane 2000).
In various societies, gender is plays an important role in determining the designs. Sometimes, trends are set with regard to the taste of the opposite sex. This is for instance indicated where feminine clothes are fashioned with the masculine taste in mind. Strong gender lines are depicted in fashion but currently, the fashion industry has tried to achieve gender neutrality in designing new trends. Sometimes, fashion has been applied in destructing gender stereotypes through cross dressing.
All the same, typical feminine clothing put emphasis on sexuality through highlighting their silhouette while typical masculine wear are designed to highlight wealth and power. This is contrasted with the nineteenth century fashion where gender and class strata were the core determinants (Leopold 1992).
Globalization, Nation and Ethnicity
Globalization has facilitated the creation of a global community and a universal language in the fashion industry. It is has made it easier to connect with each other through the use of technology such as the internet and developed transport. Therefore, ethnic difference has been condensed especially through the international media. The media is very significant in communicating the fashion trends especially through the eyes of public figures (Branston& Stafford 1999).
Ethnic dress is put on by individuals to make them distinct from others while Western modes of dressing, accessories, and cosmetic styles are emulated and are highly distinguished as being Western in other parts of the world such as Asia. Globalization has established a world fashion that characterized the current fashion trends facilitated through easier interactions (Eicher 1995).
The world has become a cosmopolitan region where the media such as the Cosmopolitan Magazine updates on the current trends by use of various universal languages. One such universal trend in fashion is the blue jean that is unisex and is widely embraced in many parts of the world. In other cases MTV for instance has enabled in the marketing of dressing code to the audience to appeal to the on their sense of style.
In the current times, ethnic ware and world fashion are intertwined since what facilitates the changing trends in fashion involves indigenous fashions, personal identity, and being conversant on such trends. Influence from close peoples also dictates this since there sometimes arises the need to identify with the group and therefore fit comfortably. Ethnic identity through fashion sometimes has a meaning and lay.
According to Eicher, ethnicity may be evaluated through First, in respect to a social structural level; second, as a pattern of social interaction; third, as a subjective experience of identity; forth, as expressed in relatively fixed patterns of behaviour and . These patterns of behavior and expressive emotional style include styles of dress and the meaning associated with them (1995, p. 296)
The world is characterized by shifting identities through adding or reducing body images. For instance, the suit is universally embraced in the corporate as well as political world but both genders express a global communication. Africans who interacted with the westerns colonialist for example, emulated their clothing styles although it was later challenged when prominent leaders such as Nkrumah put on indigenous attire at the UN (Eicher 1995).
Unfortunately, the ethnic dress is being eroded by the global trends in the fashion industry. In other instances, ethnic dress is kept for ritual and ceremonial purposes especially for females. World fashion is closely related to urbanization although not restricted to differentiating rural and urban residents since rural dwellers are also emulating the world fashion as portrayed in the media (Sturken & Cartwright 2001).