Sunday, September 5, 2010

Institutionalized Fashion

Cindy Shuai
Post # 6
“Fashion as an Institutionalized System.” Fashion-ology.
Mikey Easey, Fashion Marketing
Photo Cred: Zeitgeber & Me

Lanvin x H&M Designer Collaboration 2010

According to Kawamura in "Fashion as an Institutional System," Paris has been able to retain it's dominance as an internationally known fashion capital, due to it's highly structured fashion system. Furthermore, she highlights the complicated process that France goes through to maintain it's power and image, which includes "members of the organization, fashion show schedules, fashion gatekeepers, government support, the nurturing of young designers" and much more. Interestingly, one of the strongest parts of the French fashion system is it's hierarchy. Since there is a division between "Haute Couture, Pret-a-Porter for women and Pret-a-Porter for men," it's fashion system can retain a sense of exclusivity which separates it from other fashion systems in well-known fashion cities like New York, London, Milan, etc.

I found this to be really fascinating because just a few days ago, Lanvin (one of the oldest French fashion houses) announced it's new collaboration with H&M. Instantly, I thought that this kind of goes against the French fashion system, because it takes away the exclusivity of one of their strongest fashion houses. However, Alber Elbaz (the creative director for Lanvin) stated that this partnership does not mean that Lanvin is becoming "public." Instead, he argues that Lanvin is making H&M more "luxurious." In some ways, I think that this is true - because Lanvin does not need this recognition, it is H&M that needs it. Lanvin's collaboration with H&M helps to strengthen the fast fashion retailer's reputation, makes it more appealing, and essentially legitimizes it. Furthermore, it is obvious that the quality of this collaboration will not be as good as actual Lanvin clothing, which helps the fashion house retain some of it's exclusivity.

Lastly, many designers have already worked with H&M in the past (such as Stella McCartney, Karl Lagerfeld, Rei Kawakubo for Commes des Garcons) on small collections.Which makes me wonder...what does this mean for the future of fashion and various fashion systems? Will Paris be able to hold on to it's reign?

Watch the video! Alber Elbaz is adorable.

30 Day Challenge Update - Wow, the challenge is almost over! I still haven't purchased anything new or unnecessary, which I'm pretty happy about. For the most part, I did not find the challenge to be that difficulty, but I think that has to do with living in Davis - where there isn't really anywhere to shop, besides GAP. I'm sure that if we were living in a major metropolitan, I would have had a super difficult time. Overall, I think that this was a really good and fun experiment, and I'm definitely going to practice it more in the future. But I guess... right now... I am glad that the challenge is about to be over, just in time for Lanvin X H&M, hahahaha.

Alison Wu
Blog #6
Inside Source:
"Fashion as an Institutionalized System." In Fashion-ology.
Outside Source:

Classy Ed Hardy

I don’t know much about tattooing, and unfortunately, sometimes, I judge people who have tattoos. We all have to admit that tattooing does have a certain stigma surrounding it, and it’s not without reason (see exhibit A). There are people who take tattooing too lightly, and suddenly, their bodies look like a five-year old took a crayon to them. Not to mention, tattoos are often synonymous with drunken mistakes. Throw in some Ed Hardy T-shirts, and you’ve got the makings of a horrifically bad L.A.-based reality show. Suffice to say, when I saw Paul Mullowney’s article I was unsure of how tattooing would fit into a fashion class. I’ve also seen too much of Ed Hardy designs on Jersey Shore-type individuals to have any good impressions about the brand. This article surprised me.

I’ve never really connected Ed Hardy and tattooing together. Mullowney states that Ed Hardy is considered to be the "Godfather of "Modern Tattooing’". In fact, Ed Hardy is credited with "carefully and lovingly looking after the spiritual and cultural growth of what is now a world-wide boom of Japanese-style tattooing." With a little extra research on Japanese tattooing (specifically irezumi), I found out about a kind of tattooing that takes way more time and commitment than it takes for a person to drink a few shots. In fact, irezumi “can take up to five years of once-a-week visits to complete and cost more than US$30,000 to complete” (Tao of Tattoos). This kind of tattooing is a respectable artform. So how did Ed Hardy, an avant-garde artist, become associated with an over-exposed and (sometimes) tacky brand of clothing? It’s the money and the marketing. Celebrities were one of the first to popularize Ed Hardy designs in 2008, and the public, as always, latched on with fervor. Clothing with Ed Hardy designs were affordable and can now be found everywhere. What was once reserved for the sensible artsy types is now readily available to people with questionable motives (see exhibit B). Now, I won’t be caught dead in an Ed Hardy T-shirt, and it’s a shame because his artwork is really beautiful.

Compact Challenge: Just one more week! Yay! I’m excited for a shopping trip but this past weekend, I did something distinctly anti-consumerist: I dug out my mom’s old clothes and fixed them to be a bit more “trendy”. I haven’t used my sewing machine in a long time, nine years to be exact, and I’ve never before used it to fix up old clothing. The other times I’ve looked through my mom’s closet, I’ve dismissed her clothes as being too Catholic-school-girl or having too big shoulder-pads, but its fun to make something new out of something old.

Sylvia Lee

Blog 6

Inside source: Paul Mullowney Ed. “Wood Skin Ink: The Japanese Aesthetic in Modern Tattooing” reader.

Outside sources:



Image sources:



The Westernized Japan

While reading Dorinne Kondo’s article “The Aesthetics and Politics of Japanese Identity in the Fashion Industry”, I found it interesting that the westernization of Japanese clothing began in thr 1860s starting with military soldiers then leading to the royal courts and finally to the public. According to Kondo, “Western dress was a symbol of social dignity and progressiveness”(468). Japan’s victory in the Russo-Japanese War made them more adaptive to European influences and western clothing was a good representation of public employment. Western clothing symbolizes progression because in a way it represents adaptation and openness to new ideas. Initially, there was a hesitation to fully accept western clothing as some prefer their traditional kimonos. However later on, outside the home the Japanese would wear western clothing while wearing kimonos indoors. This practice has become a general rule for generations.

According to an online website, western clothing has become so popular because it is much easier and convenient than the kimono. In addition, western clothing is more affordable as a typical kimono ranges from 10,000 to 1,000,000 yen. A survey indicates that 80% women would like to wear kimonos but many young women don’t know how or where to buy kimonos.

As for the Compact Challenge, I am proud to announce that this is the final week of the challenge and I still have yet to purchase something unnecessary. I think I can keep this up for a couple more weeks as it has become easier for me to resist the temptation of material goods.

Marcella Lee
Blog #6

[ Outside source: ]

[ Inside source: Kondo, Dorinne. “The Aesthetics and Politics of Japanese Identity in the Fashion Industry” Reader. ]

The Journey of Ed Hardy

Andy Le

Blog #6

Inside Source:

Paul Mullowney Ed. “Wood Skin Ink: The Japanese Aesthetic in Modern Tattooing” reader.

Outside Source:

This is the finale and ending of the compact challenge! I have successfully completed the compact challenge without purchasing new clothes. Although I am not shopping, I am still wasting money involuntarily through unexpected expenses such as the tumbler in my car breaking down, which locked my steering and made it impossible for me to start or move my car. Stranded at the corner of Anderson and West Covell at the local Shell gas station for four and a half hour in the blazing heat is not very fun. After getting my car towed to a repair shop in West Sac, I am glad the mechanic only charged me $150. Hopefully, my car will not pull stunts like this in the near future.

This week’s article inspired me to further investigate the infamous designer Don Ed hardy. I personally had no idea that his clothing line stemmed from the Japanese Edo period 1600 -1968. Before his tattooing days, he started out as an etcher. According to, etching is “to cut, bite, or corrode with an acid or the like; engrave withan acid or the like, as to form a design in furrows that when charged with ink will give an impression on paper.” Before reading this article, the concept of etching was very unfamiliar. In order to introduce this new concept to myself, I watched a video that was very interesting and showed the complexities of etching. It is remarkable and interesting that Hardy utilized his skills in etching and created additional careers for himself such as painting, tattooing, printmaking, and a clothing line that highlights his intricate images. While Japanese art is refined, cultured, simplistic, and subtle, Hardy spins his Asian influences to cater to nonconformist look such as the stereotypical bad boys, hotrods, and biker boys that no parents want their children to hang out with. Looking at his clothing website, one notices the intricate and colorful designs that are similarly depicted in Asian art. However, Hardy chooses to mix Asian inspired creations like the dragon with national American and rebellious images such as eagles and skulls to create a unique twist and fusion of the two cultures. His creative talent does not stop at clothing and art. In 2010, Hardy created a line of sex toys and condoms. While sex in Asian cultures is hardly ever talked about, Hardy’s new creation puts sex and pleasure on the forefront. This enticement and selling of sex in addition to his clothes and art for me, makes Don Ed Hardy’s brand reputable. His empire really demonstrates success and honesty through procreativity and acknowledgement of their Asian inspirations.

Damini's offer lenghae

There have been several shops that have popular Asian fashions. One of retail shops discussed by Claire Dwyer that offer Asian products is named Damini's. According to Claire Dwyer, Damini's is a company that "specialize(s) in suits and argue that their designs are mainly driven by trends in the Western fashion market rather than from the sub-continent" (Dwyer 66). Damini also chooses to specialize in lenghae. Lenghae is a "a three piece ladies garment. Comprising of a long skirt blouse and veil. The skirt component being the lengha, the blouse being the choli and the veil being the dupatta." ("The Indian Lengha"). The lenghae is a product that the Indian diaspora would be attracted to. When Damini choose to incorporate lenghae products for consumption, he not only offered it to Asians, but also to non-Asians. Damini aims for a "fusion between East and West" (Dwyer 67). By choosing to aim for both, the styles that are offered in the shops still contain aspects of what a lenghae is. Moreover, the lenghae has not only become a clothing for the Indian community to wear, but also became a commodity that non-Asians choose to possess.

Ahh! The compact challenge is almost to its end. It is actually hard to believe since I have stuck to the challenge for a while. I have been waiting for a while now to start my fall shopping. I find it hard to believe that I lasted over a month without buying new clothes or such. It will be relieving to go back to my regular shopping mode.

Alice Phun, Blog #6


Inside Source: Claire Dwyer. "Tracing Transnationalities Through Commodity Culture." Reader.

Outside Source:

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Yakuza Tattoos in Popular Media

Blog #6

While reading Mullowney's article, I found it interesting how Japanese tattoos were at first art of the common people from printing blocks and then evolved into a higher status of yakuza culture through tattoos. There is also deeper meaning behind these tattoos as Mullowney mentioned that it was a badge of the working class and it was about becoming the artwork. Now, these tattoos have become fashionable for the new generation of working class youths who want to "touch their Japanese-ness," for those who have their own interpretation of their heroes, and for those who just love the exoticism within this artwork (like American culture).

It's interesting how yakuza tattoos have become popular and appeared in popular media. I believe that it's due to Western influence that these images of Yakuza tattoos have shown up in popular media, such as movies, shows, and video games. I believe that these tattoos are popular among individuals of this generation because of the exoticism these tattoos express and the Western idea of being an individual for Scrase states that, "Unlike the yakuza world, which employs tattoo as a statement of collective identity, newer wearers appear to regard tattoos as statements of individual identity (Scrase 163). Yakuza tattoos appear to be very unique and have many symbolic meanings so it's possible that people today want to express that in their own individuality by getting yakuza-like tattoos. Influence from the popular media portraying these tattoos may also play a major role in these tattoos among today's inviduals.

There is a video game series called Yakuza that features some of the characters having tattoos.

[image source: ]

The movie, American Yakuza also features yakuza tattoos.

[image source: ]

Although Japanese yakuza tattoos are getting popular today, there is that possibility that the tattoo culture in the yakuza may slowly die out.

[Compact Challenge update]
I haven't bought anything since my last blog post... just food. haha.

- Hope (Hyeon) Nam

[inside source: Paul Mullowney Ed. “Wood Skin Ink: The Japanese Aesthetic in Modern Tattooing” reader. ]

[outside sources:
Scrase, Timothy J., Todd Holden, and Scott Baum. Globalization, Culture and Inequality in Asia. Rosanna, Melbourne: Trans Pacific, 2003. Print. ]