"The Fashionable Mind" by Kennedy Fraser

Seminar 1 of The Politics of Fashion Fri 3 Apr 1998
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This series of discussions will look at the ways in which fashion, society and hence, politics converge. Politics, as such, rarely are addressed directly in writings about fashion. How are the changing mores of dress and manners reflective of the political climate? And how can politics influence our view of the fashionable world that dictates the way we live now?

The first two pieces assigned are reflective, in one way or another, of "The Eighties," the Age of Reagan, a period of dramatic social change. They are prescient in that they were both written with little actual knowledge of Reagan's ascent. However, they take their political clues through observing a certain fraction of society, namely that of fashion and music.

The second group of readings focuses on the individual in society and how he and/or she is reflected in the mirror of photography. How does the artist-photographer reflect's the individual interest in fashion which, by extension, is about conformity? How does the artist show the difference between style and fashion, style being "about" the individual?

Kennedy Fraser
Hilton Als, Riskin Scholar/Writer-in-Residence