3rd Global Conference
Thursday 22nd September – Sunday 25th September 2011
Mansfield College, Oxford, United Kingdom
What is Special in the Collections? Fashion Brands and Semiotic Saturation
Milano, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italy
When we look through the pages of fashion magazines we can admire sophisticated ads that are thought to trasmit to us the unique and exclusive mood of the represented brand. If we look again through those pages we can recognize clusters of brands that communicate to us through quite similar visual codes. Similar visual codes sometimes are used by brands that are positioned at really different levels of the fashion pyramid, at the top (luxury brands) as well as at the bottom level (mass market). We are facing something that could be called semiotic saturation, according to the process Simmel identified at the beginning of the XXth century as typical in the diffusion of fashion among social classes. What makes different the present occurence of the phenomenon is that it doesn’t imply in principle the abandoning of the saturated images by the luxury brands. On the contrary it contributes to the stabilization of the mainstream fashion visual mood of a certain period. The result seems however to be the lost of uniqueness and exclusiveness of communicated images of brands.
A first exploratory research program,carried out with a convenient (60 people) sample of respondents balanced as far as regarding gender and age, showed that people feel disoriented when asked to recognize the brands associated with blind submitted images. More than a half of the intervieweed couldn’t accomplish the job. The paper presents and discusses the main findings of the research program and upholds the hypothesis that semiotic saturation represents the final stage of a culture of fashion that is mostly based on a pure commercial imagery.
Stylist as Mythmaker
Southampton Solent University, UK
In taking Roland Barthes’ semiological and etymology notion that ‘…myth is a type of speech’ as it’s central focus the discussion will position the role of the fashion stylist as contemporary mythmaker, insofar as suggesting that through gesture and mark-making techniques the stylist’s visual creations are purely performative. J L Austin’s notion of the performative utterance will be used to further support this suggestion.
William Bascom’s article ‘The Forms of Folklore: Prose Narratives’ suggests that myths are believed tales, usually sacred, set in the distant past or other worlds or parts of the world, and with extra-human, inhuman, or heroic characters. With this in mind, the paper’s aim is to further investigate and to question the recent exposure and recognition of the role of the stylist, with particular emphasis on exploring the language expounded through acts of adornment.
For the main, the discussion will not seek to expand upon traditional notions of Greek mythology, rather, outline as suggested by Paul Ricoeur that contemporary myth allows a ‘disclosure of unprecedented worlds, an opening onto other possible worlds which transcend the established limits of our actual world’. Here, Hans Christian Anderson’s ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ will be used as a tool to explore creative elitism, where through modes of representation, the mythic nature of the stylist’s work upholds, as Laurence Coup suggests in ‘Myth’, a ‘promise of another mode of existence entirely, a possible way of being just beyond the present time and place’.
Finally and in using Coup’s suggested five stages of myth creation, this paper will seek to identify three key modes through which the mythmaking stylist exists: within the paradigmatic nature of occasion, the hierarchical nature of perfection and possibility of social, cultural and cosmic liberation.
This paper presents an exploration of the interactive possibilities for engaging students in their fashion studies encouraging them to go beyond the Google culture of information skimming.
The future digital savvy learner (digital native) is expected to have a heightened visual spatial intelligence and respond to rapid changing signals. These students are likely to be easily distracted a phenomenon described by Linda Stone i as ‘continuous partial attention’ which is the desire of an individual to be attentive to the continuous stream of information, however they act as a ‘live node’ in networks, connecting, engaging with and transmitting information. This behavioural and cultural shift requires a radical rethink of how we present information and stimulate engagement.
We have considered the future learning environment where it is expected students will have their own digital device (eg:iPhone/iPads/Slate and 3D devices) with them at all times and this will be linking them to information that complements their studies.
The study looks at comparisons between tutor expectations and student learning experience within the fashion study field. It will investigate ways to engage the fashion student to move beyond the ‘attentional’ gate of surface learning considering such methods as embed spaces for thinking and reflecting, contributing information, socialising and learning. The study tracks the research process of fashion students and investigates teaching methods to guide them in their navigation through infinite unedited fashion related information.