Where Do They Get These Trends?

by B.J. Delas Armas on 11/22/2007 07:31:00 AM 0 comments Print this post

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"most trends in their earliest form are distinctly . . . they'll never make it outside . . . they need to be altered and have their edges smoothed. They need to be repackaged for the rest of us.

People sometimes act as if you go to the epicenter of cool, the idea comes straight and unchanged from that place and spreads everywhere. It never happens that way. The earliest of the early adopters takes that idea and uses it in a form that the rest of us would never use, because we're not interested in the extreme embodiment of some new idea. We're interested in something that fits much more into our lifestyle." --- Dee Dee Gordon, coolhunter

If I wear my old baggy cargo pants flanked with its share of tatters and worned-outness, someone usually tells me that I'm a slob. A dumb, fashionless, slob.

If I wore some store-bought ripped jeans, I'm at the apex of a trend and somehow I morph into "respectable." If I chose this brand of cotton, somehow women would suddenly want to hop into my equally trendy black steel-framed 12-year old bunk bed and engage in acts meant for kid-making in the apartment that I live in with my parents.

Basically, the ripped cotton I normally wear is somehow not as good as the new ripped cotton they sell you for 32 dollars. Double 'U', Tee, Eff (I won't be surprised if I see this on a trendy T-shirt soon).


I'm amazed at how people buy these mass-produced ripped jeans. Is there something fascinating about the pattern of its rips? Looks about as random as the rips on my real worn out pants. Seems like the mass production makes these rips more palatable for lots of people. Mass production almost makes it a social norm. It gives it a credibility acceptable for "middle-class" consumption. I would imagine that ripped jeans isn't something that some young hoity toity fashion designer who grew up in the OC and went to FIDM thought up.

No, this probably came from poor working people or their kids. Baggy pants, T-shirts, you can bet that it probably came from a working class thing, but of course it wasn't acceptable for people en masse to digest at first. Usually it's some rebellious artist type who picks up on these trends and then adapts them in diametric opposition to what they perceived their life was or against another tide which they feel is strong.

And it doesn't stop at clothes. The cool artists pick up their music (see Jazz, and Hip-hop), pick up their neighborhoods (see Gentrification), and even the way they speak. They pick up everything that the lower class does. Then somehow their usage of something in the lower-class appropriates its mass usage and consumption.

I don't think these artists mean for all these changes to happen, but their presence and influence in a trend then opens the gate to palatability for people en masse. People en masse who pick up on the trends but not necessarily the origins of a trend or what the lower class is about. Those inherent connections to the lower-class are lost in the mass production of things.

Nowadays I see Anti-Bush or Anti-war slogans taking the forms in bumper stickers, T-shirts least from the view here at 34 degrees Latitude and 118 degrees Longitude in the Lake of Silver. The "Make Love Not War" slogan printed is a great way to avoid getting too involved in politics and is available at $15.99 for 16 year old girls everywhere. This was a slogan dating back to Vietnam and now some corporations seized on it and are making a killing on such rhetoric.

But perhaps if we are going to keep consuming for these types of causes, there is some hope. You could look at is a start.

The efforts to green just about everything from the grass you walk on to the food you eat might be a start. I say 'might' because I don't have a grasp on all the greening issues and history has shown that everything that has looked like such a great idea in the past became a bad idea a generation later (see the automobile vs. the horse and the bike and the creation of sprawl).

If advocating against war can achieve a semblance of mass popularity, perhaps someday action towards progressive social justice in the form of the re-humanization of immigrants, reverse deforestation, the engaging education, the re-organization of homelessness can be the same way.

I can't think of any other way I'd like to re-focus our energies, our consumption patterns.

As India Arie says, kindness is timeless and giving someone your love is the freshest thing you can do.

If were going to be continuing consuming something en masse, why not respect for the fellow human?

Piense que ese y tenga un feliz el dia de gracias.

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