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Assignment Hadiqa

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Hadiqa Shahzadi
3rd Year B3
Philosophy of Clothing
The Study of the Fundamental Nature of Knowledge, Reality, And Existence,
Especially When Considered as an Academic Discipline.
A Theory or Attitude That Acts as A Guiding Principle for Behavior.
Clothing (also known as clothes, apparel and attire) is a collective term for items worn on the
body. Clothing is typically made of fabrics or textiles but over time has
included garments made from animal skin or other thin sheets of materials put together.
Philosophy of Clothing:
A way of expressing an inner truth or belief about an idea, oneself or the world
through the medium of clothing.
Why have clothes for a long time been neglected and dismissed by philosophers?
After all, there are numerous human activities involving clothes that are
fundamental both for our everyday personal existence and for the reproduction of
the entire social life: Consider for example covering our bodies to protect them
from the cold and from indiscreet gazes, getting dress with the aim of conveying
certain messages, producing, distributing, exchanging and advertising fabrics and
garments, etc. This should however not appear as too much of a puzzle: Philosophy
has in fact for a long time not bothered to conceptually inquire into the nature of
daily routines, worldly and frivolous practices and material, apparently futile
things. Such an attitude is rooted in pernicious dualisms, as for instance matter vs.
mind, appearance vs. reality, surface vs. depth, manual vs. intellectual labor, etc.
On this tradition, the idea of “truth” has been mainly conceived of as something to
be “unveiled” and “disclosed”: The stripping of metaphorical veils and clothes
seems thus to be a necessary condition for reaching the highest goals of the
philosophical enterprises. The aim of this course is to problematize and revise such
a disregard for the topic of clothes and fashion, and for the material world of
relations – between persons, between things, and between persons and things – that
clothes and fashion contribute to weave. As Shahidha Bari (2016) poignantly
points out, our experiences of selfhood, and our interactions with others in diverse
social domains, “are contoured and adumbrated by many things, including
clothes”: “the prejudices by which we disregard the concern for appearances or
relegate dress to the domain of vanity, are an obstacle to a significant kind of
understanding”. A theoretical exploration of clothes and fashion rises a wide range
of complex issues, that stretches from social ontology (what is the function of
those things that mediate between ourselves, our bodies, and the ‘external’ world?)
to ethics (Is it possible to love and care for clothes? Is it morally acceptable? What
moral wrongs does the system of fashion bring about?), from liberal political
philosophy (Is the fashion system based on injustices and structures of
exploitation? How is power exercised within this system?) to radical critical
theories (How do social norms, that are produced and reproduced by the fashion
system, discriminate and harm certain categories of people? How are gender, race,
class, religion etc. entrenched within this system?) In the course, we are going to
address these and other questions by reading, interpreting and discussing classic
and contemporary philosophical and sociological texts, but also by conceptually
analyzing cultural products – especially blog posts and commercials – that could
help us enriching, but also challenging, our philosophical points of view.
Philosophy of Fashion:
Due to overly commercialized marketing and constant fast-fashion changes, it may
seem thought behind fashion is limited or forgotten, but that isn’t necessarily the
case.Many high-end and established designers are very into the “philosophy of
fashion.” Just like true art, there is always an idea or an impetus that compels and
moves the designer to create, thus giving them their reason to create. For some
designers, this reason might be very basic or even emotional. For others, there
may be some heavy-duty thought behind it. Regardless, it all comes down to a
Just as there are many various modes of philosophical thought, so too the
philosophy of fashion can vary. However, in its essence, the philosophy of fashion
boils down to this: A way of expressing an inner truth or belief about an idea,
oneself or the world through the medium of clothing.
For me, I believe
that all aspects of a garment can speak to a person’s philosophy; from the colors
chosen, the textures, the drape and flow, the cut and style, and so many other
details can subliminally or very overtly point to something deep within that wishes
to be expressed. This is why clothing has such importance or significance. When I
look at a person, especially in places that are conducive to people studying like
airports and coffee shops, if you look closely, you can trace back whether a person
put any thought and care into what they put on, or if they are meticulous in their
presentation. Are their clothes wrinkled, or well ironed? Are they disheveled? Are
their clothes loud colors, or quiet hues? So much detail is there, so much story and
I love it when clients come to me and approach clothing from this philosophical
background, because then the choices that we come to for their garments are
intentional, they have a veiled meaning and a significance that gives them a feeling
of validation knowing that the garment that we are making for them will express a
truth about themselves.
There are so many fascinating tangents we can cover on this topic, but for now
mull this over, and think about what you wear and how it reflects (or doesn’t
reflect) the person that you are, and what that tells the world about you.