The hobo's guide to fashion

Fashion is an interesting word. To fashion something implies that you are consciously creating or crafting something out of a raw material. A sculptor fashions a horse from a block of marble, a clothes designer fashions a frock from a bolt of fabric. There is story about Michelangelo; he is asked how he is able to carve a horse from a block of marble. He replies without irony: "I just take away the parts that don't look like a horse".

The literal interpretation of fashion is much more instructive than the generally accepted interpretation of fashion as a cultural phenomenon - the fashion industry and its consumptive corollaries: trends or style.

I admit to being fascinated by the world of fashion as a noun. I may dress like a hobo but I can appreciate the aesthetics of finery and display. I also enjoy being presented with the curious blend of hype and news that kiwi media love to impress on us. Tonight's Artsville on TVONE is covering the fashion scene in Dunedin. The anti-fashion capitol of New Zealand. The main commentator in the piece is Stacey Gregg founder of the website Runway Reporter website (which she founded then folded into ACP who obviously has considerable gravitas is the weightless world of the rag trade: one designer expressed anxiety that showing at Fashion Week in Auckland was fraught for her because Ms Gregg might disdain her designs.

Fashion is another window on culture. It fuses the crafts of conceiving, crafting then promoting the work - a perfectly vertically integrated product. It demands total reinvention of itself; even when it feeds on itself by recycling ideas from time to time. It co-opts photography and publishing, textiles and technology and is a staple of the retailing industry. The world of fashion is endlessly fascinating to itself and to the rest of us who press our noses up against the looking glass.

Some interesting New Zealand Fashion Links:

Lucire Magazine

Simply You ( a project I was involved in developing)


  1. Thanks for the link, David. I hope you won’t mind if I quoted your comments from the Elle Gibson blog post I made in a sidebar. We’re running a story on modelling and age.


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