Japan has continued to reflect upon western culture during the middle of the 19th century and right up until now. Since the 19th century, it has come to be known as ‘street fashion’. Street fashion is a term used to describe the style in which the wearer customises or more so modifies the outfit by adopting a mixture of current and traditional trends. Usually the outfits are radical and conceptual, challenging and uncompromising, fashion from Japan demands attention. It is highly recognised for its ability to defy conventions, embrace technology and signal new directions.
Even though the majority of the clothes designs are DIY jobs, there has been an increase in both local and foreign labels. With a lot of styles being so extreme and avant-garde that they are of strong resemblance to the the haute-couture seen on European catwalks.
One main dress style, or more so “street style”, in Japan is Lolita. With a huge variety of many different themes, It has become one of the more recognisable styles. Recently gaining interest worldwide, Lolita can be seen as one of the many different styles of dress that bring the “cute” to Japan.
There are many styles of Lolita, the main ones being Gothic, sweet, punk, classic and Kodona. The term Lolita may be off putting because of the connection to the novel “Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov. This changed the meaning of the name for most people in the Western world. It is generally assumed though that the name of the fashion comes from a distortion of the meaning while word-borrowing from English. In the case of the fashion the term “Lolita” only refers to the child-like nature of some of the clothes and is also used because of the beauty or cuteness of the name. Lolita Fashion is emphatically not about looking sexy and is instead about looking cute or elegant.
In addition to being a fashion style, it has been recognised to be a way of life, with some people enjoy living a “Lolita Lifestyle”. This is the case in which one sees Lolita as more of a philosophy of living beautifully rather than just dressing it. Someone living a Lolita Lifestyle may try and live like a princess, surrounding themselves with things of beauty, and taking part in a number of ‘proper’ feminine activities such as baking, embroidery, sewing and other old-fashioned “women’s” activities.
Instagram is the latest photo – sharing application, recently bought by social media network Facebook, allows participants to shoot, edit and share photos with users of the application through the personal world of each one of us. The application allows us to react and give feedback to fellow users in the form of ‘likes’ and comments.
Instagram led to a very interesting phenomenon that could possibly change the world of photography from one end to another. Almost suddenly people who seldom took pictures of their daily life encounters, began to photograph the world around them on a daily basis, increasing and discovering a love for photography. Some have gone even further and consequently decided to study photography
Is this phenomenon, which has brought the art and culture of photography to the forefront and to places and people who were not originally exposed to it, turning its initial audience into amateur photographers urgently and suddenly into millions of pseudo photographers. Its is constantly debated whether this is a positive or negative phenomenon.
Brad Mangin is one photographer (unlike the majority) jumping on the instagram band wagon. He is recognised to spend most of his time shooting peak baseball action with high end Canon DSLRs and 400mm f/2.8 lenses, yet he also sees Instagram as an effective way to show life around the ballpark and also the ‘behind the scenes’ moments.The problem with this wonderful dugout photo with the Gatorade coolers is that Instagram could, in theory, license that image to Gatorade without compensating Brad. Would they? Highly doubt it, but more and more companies are finding utility in using Instagram to create user interaction and build their content-based marketing strategies, so it does fall within the realm of possibility.
Instagram Photographs by Brad Mangin.
This isn’t only having an impact for businesses and promoting products to consumers overall. Its also impacting the fashion world. Photographer Nick Knight recently used Instagram to photograph model Cara Delevinge posing with a bunch of animals in a series that was “inspired by Internet memes, animal GIFs and Autumn/Winter 2012′s taste for grown-up, blown-up overdressing.” There is clearly a sense of parody here, so it seems more of a way to generate publicity than to take beautiful photos.
Instagram photographs by Nick Night.
Reference List –
The painted body is a combination of both fashion and art. As we know, art has been around since the beginning of time, this has been seen since the stone age, of which man lived in caves painting the walls with animals. Anthropologists have also suggested that man covered himself with paint whether it be for ritual, religious or spiritual purposes. Women from Yemen use intricate designs made from henna for marriage, ritual or religious purposes as decoration.
Another way of marking the skin was through scarification. Tattoos have also been found preserved on skin through mummification, dating from the 5th century in Siberia. Tattoos are formed from a similar process to scarification but by inserting dye under the skin. In New Zealand, Maori Tattoos were were often featured on the face with decorations in order to show rank or status within the tribe or community.
Also throughout history slaves were tattooed with their owners names on their forehead or arms. Much in the same way convicts and criminals (mainly in France) were branded with a symbol to show the crime they committed, (for example, V= thief, M = beggar). Military and sailors would somewhat gather a collection of tattoos acting as a souvenir of places visited and also a sign of occupation.
Tattoos are still still popular in today’s society, not necessarily for identification, but also for the novelty or remembrance or dedication to an occupation, person, or even wants and desires.
Face masks were also a form of decoration, in order to show identification, rank or status. Masks were and still are an essential feature of the traditional culture and art of the peoples of Africa. Picasso ‘Les Demoiselles D’Avigon’ was clearly influenced by primitive art particularly African masks. This painting used the African mask as a way of depersonalising and de-constructing the face through geometric forms. Picassos ladies of avigon (red light district) were prostitutes, the use of the mask might be seen as a form of savagery.
Fresco – La Parisienne (Crete 1500 BC) used rouge on lips and cheeks and black lining on eyes. This form of face masking was used to enhance and beautify the body. Make up is also used in theatre to represent a particular role or character in many different cultures which is still strongly evident in today’s society. This can also be seen in clowns, famous clowns had specific make up designs when a clown died this make up would be passed onto a younger clown. Make up still continues to be an important factor in western cultures to beautify and enhance oneself. Whereas indigenous cultures use it for the opposite reason, more for ritual and religious purposes.
Just like fashion, skin markings are important to demonstrate the superiority of culture and distinguishing oneself from animals. Also highlighting the differentiation from other people including position (within a tribe/society), social hierarchy, age gender and or rank.
The Art of the African Mask, Exhibition Cataloge, Bayly Art Museum, University of Virginia
Cave Paintings and Rock art –
Fresco – La Parisienne
Picasso African Art period
New Zealand – Maori Tattoos