Tagsubcultures

Evolution Of Fashion As A Signifier

Evolution of Men's Fashion

Numidas Prasarn wrote:

We have images of masculine attire through the ages as being playful at some points, and completely dour and boring at others, with it ultimately landing on the latter. English psychologist John Carl Flugel coined the term for this phenomenon as “The Great Masculine Renunciation”. He writes, “modern man’s clothing abounds in features which symbolize his devotion to the principles of duty, of renunciation, and of self control.”[2] Changes in political attitudes and values pinned masculinity into this mode of restraint starting with 17th century France. And not to beat a dead french horse, but the death of the aristocracy was just the first nail in the coffin. After the French Revolution, specific signs of nobility and class distinction were shunned and in some cases outright outlawed. Which isn’t to say that in their push for liberty and equality in the Napoleonic era class distinction and social hierarchy did NOT exist, only that showing specific signs of flamboyance or excess, characteristics of the bourgeoisie, was unacceptable. And so we reach a period of uniformity and reserve in masculine dress, as Flugel puts it “Man abandoned his claim to be considered beautiful. He henceforth aimed at being only useful.”

Interestingly Prasarn cites the emergence of the dandy as part of this trend away from “play” in men’s dress towards minimalism, though I’d always had the impression of the dandy as a rather fanciful figure:

On the flipside, in the English Regency, there are two major factors that contributed to this change – the Age of Enlightenment and the quintessential dandy, Beau Brummell. England at this point is engaged in constant war between Napoleon, its own efforts at expansion, and itself (Hey, America!) and the French Revolution along with the philosophical writings of the time jump start this trend of neoclassicism. For men, this means a “sleeker” silhouette, to highlight the male body and echo the idealized physique in greek sculpture. Suddenly elaborate trims and ornamentation is left out and the quality of tailoring and cut of cloth is emphasized in such a way that implied the fitness and virility of the wearer (important also in a growing military culture). Beau Brummell takes this silhouette and runs with it, becoming the poster boy for men’s fashion. He is so influential as a style icon that it is often credited to him that we see the modern suit form, the dark colors and precise tailoring, starched crisp collar and a well placed necktie all from his cue (which he took from the french idealization of working class aesthetics).

Full Story: Coilhouse: The Evolution of Fashion as a Signifier

Previously: Fashion Is A Feminist Issue

One Man Army: The Stormer Generation

OMAC Kirby

Ikipr outlines all the reasons he thinks Iain Spence’s prediction that the youth culture of the 00s would be dominated by so-called “Stormers” actually did come true.

It’s a good, long article defending Spence’s Sekhmet Hypothesis, which as we’ve seen here before Spence himself no longer subscribes.

Kook Science Resistance: Stormer Generation and the Aeon of Sekhmet

I recommend reading it, but I have a couple notes to make:

1) It wasn’t just the lack of Stormer culture that made Spence abandon the Sekhmet Hypothesis. It was the lack of correlating solar data.

2) I think what Ikipr is exhibiting here is… not apophenia – because the patterns more certainly are there. But there are other patterns as well. As Ikipr notes towards the end, Alex Grey’s work was tremendously popular during the 00s. There were whole psychedelic and magickal subcultures at play, from the psyhipsters seen in Arthur to the digital occultnik underground on sites like Disinfo, Irreality, Frequency 23 and Key 23/64 which eventually culminated in the meatspace EsoZone events.

Each of the movements Spence originally identified had aspects other than the ones that Spence highlighted (as Spence admitted in the comments here, and says he never said that movements like hippie and punk were mutually exclusive). The 60s counterculture wasn’t entirely peaceful. There were the Weathermen, the Black Panthers, the Hell’s Angels. The punk movement wasn’t just rage and destruction – there were animal rights and anti-war sentiments throughout. By night, ravers were about PLUR – but they experienced some nasty morning afters. And James St. James pointed out some of the darker corners of the party scene (and that’s to say nothing of the other subcultures of the 90s).

3) I’m surprised Ikipr didn’t mention Woodstock 99, though I guess the testosterone fueled violence there doesn’t quite fit with his Stormers, who are more cyber than physical.

I’m not sure what, if anything, my two notes above matter.

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