Why do we buy clothes?

On the surface, the answer to this question is straightforward. We buy clothes because society has made it a necessity. Our culture has sent a message that covering your body is a must. You won’t find acceptance if you go parading around in nothing but your skin. So at a very basic level clothes serve as a need, but for many (especially those of us with an interest in fashion) clothing helps satisfy a want.

Before getting into why we view clothing as a want more than a need I should distinguish between clothing and fashion. Clothing functions as a basic need. It covers our bodies, and provides protection from the natural elements. Fashion is about making a statement. Fashion is a form of expression. It is an art. Therefore, when I’m talking about a want for clothing I’m really referring to fashion clothing. Thisis clothing that goes beyond serving a basic need. It is clothing that makes a statement. Fashion is what transforms clothing from a need into a want.

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Music and Fashion: Harmony or Noise?

I was originally inspired to write about the co-existence of music and fashion when I came across the brand Maison Kitsuné. As both a fashion house and music label, Maison Kitsuné brings a vibrant chic to both their clothing and music. Being a fan of Two Doors Cinema Club, a band under Maison Kitsuné, I quickly grew fond of the fashion label as well. Since music and fashion are both forms of expression, it seems intuitive that they should be complimentary. Upon further exploration, it appears that the interaction between music and fashion is very common but may not always be symbiotic.

Hip-hop is probably where I see the most activity between music and fashion. Many rappers recently love to drop designer names in their lyrics. A good example of this is A$AP Rocky’s “Fashion Killa” where almost every line of the lyrics includes a designer name. Alright, but who cares? In all honesty, we really shouldn’t care about these famous people flaunting their superficial class. However, I do find it jarring when groups like Migos start yelling Versace, one of the most prestigious fashion labels, non-stop on a track and call it a song. It reduces the powerful and iconic Medusa into a sort of joke. Don’t get me wrong, I love that it breaks down classism but it is a little distasteful.

While there are those who use fashion to influence their music, some like to use their musical influence to break into fashion. Kanye West, for instance, believes that being a genius in music qualifies him as a designer as well. As a fan of Kanye, I was really excited to see what he could bring in his collaboration with the French label APC last year. It was appalling that a part of the collection was a plain white t-shirt with a price tag of $150. Meanwhile, Kanye is criticizing people who are “spending everythang on Alexander Wang” in his appropriately titled track, “New Slaves”. Kanye and Jean Touitou, creative director of APC, heard all the criticism and reduced the plain white t-shirt to a MUCH more affordable $90 in their second collaboration coming soon. All jokes aside, Kanye has already proven to be an influential figure in fashion with his Air Yeezy’s so don’t talk to him about style or he’ll embarrass you. Music and fashion are becoming a melting pot of opinions and cultural influences. On a high level, it becomes difficult to identify who influences what so take the time to explore deeper into music and fashion to have a more holistic understanding of pop culture.

 

–Jacky Li