The New Generation of Fashion

By Valeria Ramirez

The new and latest trend of 2017 is taking and profiting on culture’s traditional clothing that many companies and fashion designers are being praised for as their “new” and “innovative” ideas. Many of these ideas are taken from Mexico’s indigenous tribes and Native Americans just for the sake of fashion. In what world is it okay to use one’s culture and profiting it from it for a high amount of money? Recently I saw Toms was selling a pair of huaraches for the low price of $129. You can get the exact pair in Mexico, which are handmade by the person selling them, for around 80 pesos, in dollars that are roughly $4.

So, Toms is making 30 times the amount for the original. My problem with this is that when buying the original your helping the family and appreciating the work that the seller is putting out. While Toms is mass producing a product that can be easily made for a profit. This type of style of sandal is a traditional staple in Mexican culture that has ties with the indigenous culture of Mexico. Toms is not the only company that is guilty of this capitalistic fraud, other stores such as Urban Outfitters and Victoria’s Secret have been using Native American culture to make a profit. These corporations tailor to an audience where they prefer a more “indie” type of style.

Continue reading “The New Generation of Fashion”

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Fashionista: White T-Shirts and Combat Boots

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This is a picture of me wearing one of my masculine mixed with feminine outfits.

By Lauren Orr

I have never liked being told how to dress. Growing up with conservative parents, my parents always told me what I could and couldn’t wear as soon as I hit puberty. When I was little, no one really cared how I dressed, but as soon as I “blossomed,” the way I dressed mattered to everyone. My teachers, my friends, my parents, random people on the street. All of a sudden I wasn’t really dressing for myself anymore, but for everyone in the world around me. Instead of just wearing what I wanted and what I felt good in, I wore what my parents allowed me to wear and what everyone else expected me to wear.

Growing up, and now as well, I was always close to my older brother who is less than a year older than me. Because of that, and the way my home life was, I think I developed a lot of “manly” mannerisms. I’ve never been much of a girly girl in my life, despite the fact that I liked playing with Barbies and make-up; I’ve always been more interested in what the boys liked to do. I generally have closer friendships with men than I do woman (until I started living in my sorority) because I just seemed to get along better with them and enjoyed doing “boy” things. This tendency that I have to lean more towards the masculine side of my personality trickled into my fashion sense as well. While I read Vogue and Allure and tons of fashion magazines, and keep up with a majority of fashion trends, I still look at men’s fashion with a higher level of appreciation. Continue reading “Fashionista: White T-Shirts and Combat Boots”

Genre Fiction and Costume Design: The Sexualization of Women in SciFi

Amber Atalaya Evans Pinel

          I recently saw a documentary titled Miss Representation. The purpose of this documentary was to give viewers a reality check on the representation of women in media, and what it’s doing to our society. Media plays a huge role in how our society views women, including how women view themselves. In most genres, there is extremely low representation of women as main characters in films, TV shows, etc. This is one of the reasons I love science fiction and fantasy as genres. Modern genre fiction TV shows and movies are getting better at balancing the female/male ratio in main and supporting characters. But after watching Miss Representation, I started to realize the ratio of characters wasn’t the only thing I should be concerned about in my media. In nearly every piece of media we encounter women who are sexualized, and the costumes for characters in science fiction and fantasy are not exempt from this trend. 

Interestingly enough, the sexualization of women in media is so common that I often overlook it, especially in my favorite TV shows and movies. I have always been a fan of Xena: Warrior Princess. However, I think it’s pretty obvious (most of) her costumes are meant to portray her in a rather sexualized manner. If her armor was any kind of realistic, she would not have that much skin showing; it’s simply impractical, and rather dangerous. I suppose the only argument for the costume is that Xena is such an unbeatable warrior, it doesn’t matter how much skin is open for attack. But I somehow doubt that’s the reasoning behind the costume designer and director’s choice for a skimpy leather skirt and large metal breastplate.

I nearly always get excited about a movie or TV show with a female lead—Underworld and Catwoman, to name a couple of my childhood favorites. But it wasn’t until I started taking a theater costume design class and looking more closely at my favorite media that I realized the huge flaw in nearly all of my favorite female main-characters. Almost every one of them is not only conventionally beautiful, but the costumes are designed to show their bodies off. As Miss Representation put it, a lot of “tough” female leads are simply fighting Barbie dolls. Halle Berry in Catwoman is  unfortunately a perfect example of this. 

From a costume design standpoint, every aspect of this costume is meant to draw the eye to key places. The front accentuates Halle’s torso, including her breasts and stomach, and the back purposefully draws attention to the muscles in the shoulders, back, and the curve of the buttocks. Is this ripped leather thing with all its bells and whistles any kind of advantage in a fight? Of course not. Unless she’s trying to seduce her victims (which, arguably, she does do several times in the course of the movie) the outfit only leaves her more vulnerable. I’d believe a spandex onesie over this contraption—I can’t even imagine how she moves her legs in those tight leather pants.

I think it’s obvious that genre fiction is not exempt from the same traps most of the media is. But it’s also worth mentioning that in a lot of science fiction television shows, it appears that sex appeal is not one of  the goals of female characters. Warehouse 13’s Myka Bering is played by the beautiful actress Joanne Kelly. However, I can’t remember a single moment in the show where she was put into a costume that was overly revealing. That’s also applicable to Kara Thrace in Battlestar Galactica (2003 reboot) and Samantha Carter in Stargate SG1. Granted, Battlestar Galactica and Stargate SG1 are military science fiction shows. However, Aeryn Sun in Farscape is of a military background and her costumes often (but not always) show off Claudia Black’s body.

It’s easy to overlook these costume choices in favor of appreciation for the strong character inside them. But what genre fiction is seriously lacking is representation for women who don’t look like Halle Berry or Claudia Black. Males who are not conventionally (or Hollywood) attractive still get to play the heroes in many movies and TV shows. It’s quite a bit rarer to see a woman with an average body type play a hero. More often female heroes are thin and sexualized on top of their abilities as a heroic character.

As a consumer of genre fiction I’d like to see more strong female characters in believable costumes. I’m tired of the “fighting Barbie dolls,” I want a hero who looks and dresses like an average person of their age and profession.