Electric Dress

“To come closer to the ideal ‘self’, for instance to become a cheerful, bright and kind person, or to be a good wife and mother of the family, or a company employee who is responsible on the job and in society, one would try to internalize expressions and gestures and to fashion a manner of speech which approximates the ideal image. However, such an ideal image is in fact a construction that has already been determined in any specific society or community and when the un-individuated self wishes to become a unique ‘self’ one cannot help seeking generalized attributes which both define and contradict individuality. The existence of identity thus starts with situating oneself within a system of common meanings.

This indicates that neither a ‘self’ independent of the community system, nor the naked ‘self’ absolutely exists. Yet, on the other hand, ‘self’ is not merely the sum of its attributes. ‘Self cannot substitute for any of the attributes found for instance in a cheerful, bright person, wife, mother, or responsible employee. According to Washida, the ‘self’ that will be transformed through certain attributes is not in itself an attribute, but will become ‘myself’ through transformation. That is, ‘becoming ‘myself’ means not a covering of a naked ‘self’ that remains in one place with its various attributes, but the process of such transformations or transitions. Washida considers that ‘clothes’ play a decisive role in producing the ‘self’ via such conversion, something like a ‘revolving door’ for transformation and transition because conversion of this order always begins with the visible surface for example, expression, gesture or fashion. Clothes can be a key, to the process of situating oneself within society, and “within the frame of the system” because clothes can easily alter the external appearance of a person and, as I stated earlier, clothes exist as makes which communicate the category to which one belongs in society. Thus, we can say that clothes are not covering for the body or the exterior of the self, but a surface undivided from the body and directly related to the invention of the ‘self’. We may say then that the relationship between ‘myself’ and my clothes is not that of the interior to exterior, but an intersection, an entanglement existing on a visible surface where the ‘self’ is created.”

– From ‘Searching for a Boundary’ by Mizuho Kato (who is quoting Kiyokazu Washida, A Fashion Maze). (This is actually about Atsuko Tanaka‘s Electric Dress, but this quote is so good that even out of context it’s still very poignant. You should also seriously check out Atsuko Tanaka. Especially when you’re interested in art, exploring identity and all-around awesomeness.)

In this current time of Tumblr reign it is so easy to just read something, reblog it fast and add a sentence of agreement while quickly forgetting it five minutes later, not questioning the text you just read or feeling averse to exploring your own ideas around it and give them shape (because, you think, others are more eloquent in those matters). I am very guilty of that, and I feel that it has put the mechanics of my mind on a standstill, it has made me unwittingly averse to thinking. It is a shame because it makes for less of a diverse range of ideas put out there. I believe, whether good or bad, ideas are always worth vocalising. But still, with this quote, all I can say is ‘yessss totes’. This is exactly why I love ~Thinking about Fashion~. It’s interesting to view one’s own and other’s identity, especially the display of their identity, with this theory in mind. I wish I could say something apt about this, but there is nothing to add to this quote and all it makes me want to do is read more of this.

I know a vast amount of people don’t care about what I have to say, and that is what makes the fashion blogosphere so discouraging as of late. By the uprise of more sleek fashion blogs, and downfall of personal style logs it’s clear that I am not the only one feeling this way. It used to be a place to share ideas, aesthetics and a sense of community, but there is a rise of a voracious need to consume consume consume quickly quickly quick. Without thinking, communicating. It makes my mind feel scattered and dull. I originally shared this quote on Tumblr, but I need a firmer place to catalogue and explore these ideas. And I guess this is it.


  • Not meaning to sound like one of those individuals who reign on tumblr, I`ll comment – yes indeed, I agree with that quote. Also I can say that I value your input in to the mental stimulation this blog brings, not just the visual – in the form of your amazing outfits.


    • Just to clarify, I didn’t mean to say people on tumblr are lazy etc., I meant to say Tumblr makes it so easy to be lazy. But yes, isn’t this quote the greatest?
      Thanks! Also, didn’t mean to fish for compliments, just meant to mention the decline in more personal fashion blogs because all personal style photos go up on tumblr easier these days, which is cool! But it feels so fleeting to me and that’s a shame… for me or for the blogosphere in general? I don’t know yet!

  • This was just what I needed to come across this morning. I’ve been following your blog for a long time, but (like the majority of internet readers, it seems) I’ve been content to simply read and appreciate on my own or nod in agreement and move along without either really sitting with my own thoughts or reaching out to a writer. So, um, hi! I’m reaching out.
    I’d never heard of Atsuko Tanaka, but that quote is absolutely killer. I’ve been looking for words to talk about how I think that fashion not only communicates my “self” to those around me, but how, in putting together outfits or decorating myself, I’m actively building my self and figuring out what that is…
    Whoa, this is getting long-winded. Sorry! Basically, I appreciate your little corner of the blogworld and think this post in particular was pretty rad.

    • Yay hi! It’s okay too simply agree of course, but if you feel the need to put something out there nothing should stop you!

  • I have to honestly say that your blog is one of my absolute favourites, because of the way you transcend the flashy and aesthetic and make fashion and personal style about something more personal and experimental and… conscious. One of my New Years resolutions is to be more like you as a blogger, to post more personal style posts and more of my thoughts on the blogosphere without mindlessly following its conventions. So thanks for this post, I found it enlightening (as usual).

    • Aw thank you, I love to see any and all personal style posts so yay. Every blog can have their own thing though, it’s just that sometimes critical thinking is a little too far away from the fashion blogosphere for my liking!

  • I actually agree with everything you said in this post, our society stimulates fast and over-consumption.
    Nowadays fashion blogs are all about massive hauls and having outfits that fit into the latest fashion. It’s not about matching great outfits (with the clothes you have) that express who you are anymore, now is about buying more and more clothes.

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