Had the fig leaf never fallen, providing a canopy for the Earth below, humans would still live naked, and the body would be all there was to show. Unadorned and barbaric, burdened by the capricious whims of nature.
Here we would find the ‘Authenticity’ (a primitive sense of human nature) that the shortsighted fashion critics of our time yearn for so dearly, though I doubt their intent entirely. Individuality has become a Post-Modern marketing ploy. As it seems, everything has become a Post-Modern marketing ploy. Yet more people would instead enjoy beauty’s blissful intoxication than contemplate its subtly damaging effects. Culture is the original sin.
On the other hand, Fashion, as a mechanism for Culture, has the potential to operate as a vehicle for social change. As the aphorism goes, Aesthetics are the playgrounds for all things Social and Political. Or in other words, Beauty has an objective beyond mere infatuation (or at least it should).
The fig leaf is a metaphor that represents this intrinsic struggle between humans and nature. It lends itself fittingly to the state of fashion today, as ecological concerns permeate through the ethos of just about every brand. My mind ceaselessly drifts to a time when Nature truly overwhelmed us, conquered by her unapologetic force – The Sublime, a romantic sentiment that resonates through us today more than ever before Although, ‘Fashion,’ with a capital F, is said to have been birthed in the 18th Century. I propose that Fashion, the phenomena of an externalized identity, began much before this as the story of humans’ inherent embarrassment. In the Garden of Eden, we see the urge for fashion in its embryonic phase, revealing itself as a psychological impulse to conceal our primitive nakedness.
Under these circumstances, Nature is the original ‘Fashion Designer’; instinct and soul would clothe the body. Whereas in the Post-Modern perception of Fashion, humans are caged to the hyperreal zeitgeist, fanatically idolizing a fleeting sense of beauty; We officially exist in the Economy of Attention, yet few acknowledge their participation. As it seems today, the idea of a Fashion Designer is distasteful; I almost don’t even like to say I am one myself.
Though we may be far from Eden, it feels relevant to reminisce. The distancing between here and there, considering all that has been gained or lost in between. My purpose in deconstructing an origin to not only Fashion as an industry but also the urge for Fashion in itself is to give people a sense of agency. Material capitalism has extorted a vulnerability in the masses, giving supreme power to the already hubristic conglomerates claiming to be style purveyors. We’ve gone on for too long, being subservient sheep to those brands who insipidly dress top celebrities and spend boatloads of marketing dollars. Censorship and freedom of speech are being seriously discussed.
For me, it’s about stories, the memories which can be woven into a fabric.