Monday, November 20, 2006

Watch and learn

This is a ring I bought from Sportsgirl in early October for $4. That's about what it's worth, frankly. My apologies that the photo is a touch blurry - I took it with my left hand.

I bought this ring because while I was in Newcastle for This Is Not Art, I saw a panellist wearing a similar ring and I thought it looked cool. It's this confluence of observation, evaluation and desire that I want to unravel here, because it seems like one of the key processes by which 'street' trends spread. I'm emphasising the 'street' for several reasons:

  • Because cultural studies has traditionally represented 'the street' as a physical site for the display of subcultural political authenticity; an authenticity that is inevitably diluted by ideological incorporation of these subcultures by mainstream media
  • Because the 'bubble-up' fashion system refers to 'the street' as a stylistic site of unorthodox ideas or acts of bricolage to be resold to mainstream markets (with so-called 'cool hunters' and 'street teams' as the frontline troops)
  • Because an entire market of 'streetwear' (documented by an entire accompanying media genre) follows traditional product design, distribution and marketing methods, yet trades on a generalised (ie, not invoking specific subcultural motifs, or encompassing a diversity of motifs) idea of 'streetness'
In a paper I'm researching right now, I plan to outline the ways in which the phenomenon I'm calling hipsterism intersects with and evades these three paradigms.

1 comment:

Jenni said...

Hi Mel,
My name is Jenni Ellard, I work for the Project Group and I am doing a story related to your story in SMH regarding 'street' for Toyota's Drivers' World magazine - a feature story, unrelated to Toyota products, etc.

I am interested to chat you you about your theories / observations on the street and what a part it plays in our lives and how it is interpreted in various ways - i will concentrate on fashion and fashion icons to illustrate my point.

That is, that the street is a liminal space, it influences our decisions and provides a forum for expression which in turn influences high fashion, ie 'bubbling up'.

I hope to be able to delve into this a bit further with you. I'm trying to hold of you through smh, but if you could call me on 02 8908 8888, that would be perfect.

FYI, my deadline is first week of Jan 07.

Warm regards,

Jenni Ellard