Postmodern Fashion Resists Tradition

Postmodern Fashion

(Photo Credit: Postmodern Gentleman)

If one desires to stay in harmony with postmodern fashion, then he or she cannot be beholden to traditional matching strategies. In Postmodernism or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, Fredric Jameson (1991) posits that we reside in a historical epoch where fragmentation is celebrated in virtually every area of life. Fashion is not exempt from this celebration of fragmentation. One of the most vivid ways we see this fragmentation in fashion is in how people intentionally pair colors that have traditionally been considered inappropriate. For example, a man may have on a purple shirt, burnt orange jeans and brown shoes. While those colors may seem to compose a disjointed outfit, postmodern fashion finds value in challenging traditional color schemes and aesthetics.

Home décor is a serious dimension of postmodern fashion. Just as it’s common to see a resistance to traditional color schemes in the clothing postmodern people wear, we find this similar phenomenon in home décor. A homeowner can have a dominant color scheme of brown in his or her living room, but can have a stylish red chair in the corner of the room to disrupt the monotony of the central color scheme. People often refer to this as adding a “pop of color.” Postmodern fashion views this fragmented “pop of color” as a beautiful contribution to one’s living room or outfit.

Although the postmodern impulse opposes more conservative color schemes and fashion styles, one should not feel compelled to conform to these schemes and styles. One’s style of dress and home décor can still look appealing and creative without embracing many of the elements of postmodern fashion that can reflect a lack of maturity. Even though postmodern fashion strives to efface the traditional notion of “tacky,” you and your home can still be quite tacky—if you succumb to many of the pressures of postmodernism.

Being self-absorbed is a dominant characteristic of postmodernism, and one of the most crippling results of being self-absorbed is a failure to have a felicitous appreciation for history. While postmodern fashion gurus see themselves as creating “novel fashion,” they’re really not producing anything new at all. Jameson (1991) has asserted that what numerous postmodern artists, including fashion gurus, do is recycle styles, traditions, and art from the past in simplistic and random ways. You should, therefore, embrace only those elements of postmodern fashion that are useful and concatenate them with elements of the past to generate truly productive fashion styles and strategies.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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