girl: "Uh, guys...how do you feel about being 30?"
me: "Fine...I guess. Can't say that I've spent too much time thinking about it...why?"
girl: "Because, well, I really can't picture myself being older than 25, and I don't know that I want to, either."
me: [Pause] "...Well, honestly, I feel like I'm always doing something or other that's unnecessarily stupid, and I'm assuming that when I'm 30, I'll have it more together. So, in other words, half the time I'd rather be 30 than 20."
girl: [Pause.] [Still pausing..] "You're an old soul."
Not too much has changed, other than my wishing that I felt a little more together about life in general. They're saying that 30 is the new 20 these days, so maybe this on-going quarter life crisis* is perfectly normal. I'm not going to worry about it, though. Most things in life are relative, including one's status at 30.
Ok! Enough about age. Back to the point of this entry - which was that it's my birthday, and since birthdays are the only day allowed to us each year where it's both permissible and completely acceptable to be self-indulgent, I am going to talk about one of my favorite topics: fashion's anthropological implications. (Nerd alert.)
I had this life-changing professor in school who opened up my eyes both to how amazing and relevant fashion history can be. One of her sayings which has always stayed with me was that "we are all products of our era". Initially, this was not something that students at an art and design school wanted to hear. At that point, we were all still egotistical (and naïve) enough to believe that true originality was actually possible. Unoriginality was considered the unpardonable sin. To be honest, I'm not sure if that had more to do with our own insecurities, egos, or fear that we would be failed for plagiarism. But, let's consider two things that Picasso has been oft quoted for saying:
"Bad artists copy. Good artists steal."and,
"Art is the elimination of the unnecessary."
So - it's bad to copy, but ok to steal? And saying that art has to do with elimination implies that to be a good artist, one has to be a good curator. Aren't curators the ones who arrange and edit what art is shown in a specific space and/or setting, rather than the ones who actually create the artwork being arranged?
Here's what I think he and my professor were trying to say: it is impossible to be completely objective and to create anything free from the influences to which we are daily subjected. A good artist or designer is aware of this fact and not intimidated by it. Rather, he or she soaks it all in, accepting what is good and ignoring or rejecting what is bad. On a practical (and fashion-related) level, this is how people are able to predict trends. It's a matter of being aware of what's going on in the world socially, economically, politically, artistically, etc. We are all affected by our culture - whether we realize it or not - and since fashion is one of the most obvious forms of self expression, the way that we choose to dress will be influenced by our chosen response (albeit usually subconscious) to what's going on around us.
There are obvious examples in history of fashion reflecting the politics of the time**, but a more recent instance of pop culture's influence on design has been with Mad Men and our ensuing fascination with all things mid-century modern. Notice how almost all of J. Crew's pants are cropped or ankle length? And, how most modern, high-end furniture looks like something you saw at your grandparents' house once?
With all of this current hype about Gatsby*** and everyone's obsession with Downton Abbey (remember that the show has now entered the 20's), it's my assumption that it will affect fashion trends in this next year or two. It's not that we'll all be dressed like flappers come September, but rather that it might become popular to have short hair again, or that dresses put out for the next holiday season will be over-the-top with embellishment. Who knows. But I can guarantee you that artists and designers alike will have these type of things in the back of their heads as they are sketching. They might be designing a shirt and will think, I really liked something about the one Nick wore in that one scene when he, Gatsby, and Daisy were together at Gatsby's house. I should figure out what it was that stood out to me.
Speaking of which, I have much to say about the movie (amazing!), but I think I might have to dedicate an entire post to it.
*Wait! - Am I too old to be having a quarter life crisis?? 27 times 4 is...108. Crap.
**I started to list out historical examples, but then I realized that you can basically take any period where there's a major social/political revolution or world war going on, and look at how much the fashion (especially for women) changed during those eras.
***I even received an email this morning from PureWow entitled "Gatsby-ed out already?"