Some people were alarmed at the critical light we chose to cast on our fellow students in last week’s style column. First of all, I appreciate your reading the newspaper at all, and I appreciate your passionate response.However, we are not going to stop being critical. Critical thinking, critical analysis, and constructive criticism are three of the most important lessons learned, and as university students we are constantly being asked to hone our skills in and out of the classroom.
We exercise our critical thinking by examining issues with an informed eye. These eyes have read a lot of the Fashion and Style section in The New York Times, and a lot of Vogue, Elle, Lucky and others, and these eyes have watched a lot of fashion television. These eyes have a lot to see and say about style. Thus, I feel that our comments are nothing less than well-informed.
One could argue that caring about fashion is “girly” (i.e. anti-feminist) and somehow evidence of low intelligence; however, to make this argument would be to rely on harsh, untrue stereotypes, and in fact to ignore critical thinking altogether.
I believe fashion is and should be thought-provoking. It is an art form as highly contested as any other, with a lengthy history of distinct movements that have brought out the best and the worst in people. It is evidence of a commercial society, yet it is also evidence of the subversion of this society.
Fashion is also a curious art form because it is constantly practiced. It is an art form often taken for granted because it is essentially a necessity. Art and necessity, desire and need, passion and reason, meet within something as simple as a pair of jeans.
What we were really getting at with the Ugg boot commentary is that, by wearing Ugg boots all the time, people are simply following trends instead of making trends. We are asking people to see that, what they think of as personal style is in fact falling into an unfortunate commercialist herd mentality. Self-expression in art is most often about subversion, and we believe that buying a pair of boots can be a form of subversion.
Emily Passey, concerned fashion admirer