Yesterday after my chinese final, some of my friends are graduating so I went with them to get their graduation gown. I was talking to them and they told me that they didn't get to keep their gowns. After graduation they had to return it. I found that the most shocking. The graduation gown holds so many memories, its basically your whole college experience. That reminded me of the documentary in class about Yohji Yamamoto. He talked about how clothes represented people, it was a form of identity. I wondered about it for a long time, because i wanted to be a fashion designer i wanted to make clothes like that. I was wondering for a while how to convey identity to a piece of clothing. Now that I saw the gowns, it really does show a persons identity. Its more than jsut an identity, its all the memories and experiences that a person has gone through. Just a simple gown shows all of that, so it was really surprising to me that the graduates had to return the gown.
Also, the robes are a form of conformity for the school. Since you can't really see what the graduates are wearing underneath, they all look the same. The only difference is the hairstyle and face of each person. It reminded of the Cuties in Japan article and the quote "The idea underlying cute was that young people who had passed through childhood and entered adult life have been forced to cover up their real selves and hide their emotions under a layer of artifice.” The graduation gown is a cover up of the students true self so that everyone can be the same. To me the purpose of everyone looking the same is so that no one person can hog all the spot light when its the whole class that should be congratulated. Just for a few hours all the students need to stop being individuals and be a group.
This video that I posted up is the extreme case of fashion identity, and it makes fun of it with the commentary.
PS. Congratulations to the graduating class!!
Yohji Yamamoto clip
Cuties in Japan by Sharon Kinsella