make, teach, play - think slow
FIELD TRIP #5
Fashion Institute of Technology
Seventh Avenue at 27 Street
Fashion & Politics July 7 through November 7, 2009
As I walked into the FIT fashion and politics exhibit with three fierce fellow classmates, I knew I was in for something new. Immediately upon walking into the exhibit i felt the passion and subtext under the designs of these fashionable works of art. The patriotic colors swept through the room as well as visions of historical yesteryear.
One article that really spoke to me was the “Man’s Tour Jacket”. It was commissioned by American soldiers in Vietnam. It includes a map of Vietnam and the cities in which the soldier was stationed at during their time over seas. It also included the soldier’s years of service and a phrase stating, “when i die i will go to heaven because i spent my time in hell”. It expresses a common frustration shared by many servicemen. The jackets are also very rare because many soldiers disposed of them after they returned home.
I really enjoyed this article of clothing the most because it touched me in a way due to the fact that my father spent time overseas in Iraq when i was twelve years old. If he had a fierce stylish jacket that he received while over there and then brought it back, i would want to claim that, so i would have something to cherish and remind me that he helped serve for our country during the war in Iraq.
I also really liked the paper dresses with the Nixon and Humphrey ads on them. What an amazing marketing idea during the time era of 1968. I bet it was one of the first marketing campaigns that dealt with combining popular and stylish dresses that were in high demand and combining promotional tools to create political advocacy as well as pop art.
All in all, a really enjoyable excursion.
Fashion and Politics seem to go together like ice cream and sprinkles. Fashion, or the way a politician presents him or herself to the public, plays a major role on the campaign trail, as well as in the White House. A striking piece from the exhibit was the “walking billboard” dress for the Nixon/Humphrey campaign in 1968. The silhouette of the dresses are very simple, yet form fitting and dons the words “Nixon’ on one dress and the face of Presidential nominee Hubert Humphrey on another dress. Each dress is colored in signature “american” garb, red, white, and blue. These two pieces were striking because for the time; the concept of these designs were innovative. No other politicians thought of making clothing that was beyond a t-shirt specifically, for the campaign. Another strong piece from the exhibit was the “monokini’ designed by Rudi Gernreich. This design was specifically for the sexual revolution of the 1960’s and 1970’s. It is freeing for the woman wearing it. Gernrieich is now seen as a social commentator because of this strong design. He was looking for a way to release women from the bonds of traditional clothing. This piece is strong, and the viewer can tell the time period this piece was designed in. Gernreich’s other piece, “japanese schoolgirl” was also popular during the sexual revolution. This was one of the first designs to introduce the concept of “a naughty schoolgirl” and challenged the moral codes society set up.
The concept of Fashion and Politics I found to be a very interesting pair. I had never really though about coinciding the two together but the more I thought about it the more I saw how they went hand in hand. The main focus of the exhibit was to show how politics has been expressed through fashion and how pieces were used to express ones opinion on culture of that specific time. It was interesting to see how political fashion has changed over time yet still relate back to a general message. First I really enjoyed seeing Catherine Maladrino’s flag dress that she developed after 9/11. She is one of my favorite designers that I have been following over the years and I remember seeing the dress on celebrities that were trying to show their patriotism. The Nixon and Ike dresses I found to be a little strange but it shows how drastically people were to go to support their political beliefs during a time when people wanted change. Each piece held a social commentary along with it. The one I found to be the most prevalent was the topless bathing suit by Rudi Gernreich. While it was developed in the 60’s long after the initial womens right movement it was during a time when people were experiencing another movement of ways in which there should be gender equality. This particular piece really held a message of gender equality because it showed how rebellious people during this time would go to prove a point.
The Fashion Institute of Technology is one New York’s most unique sites. Within it is both a school and a museum of sorts. New York is one of the cities that is on the forefront of the worldwide fashion scene, and it is certainly America’s answer to cities like Milan and Paris. So of course a place like the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City must be quite impressive. The exhibit, Fashion and Politics explores the history of fashion’s response to politics. The articles of clothing ranged from items like paper dresses advertising certain political candidates to items like shoes and skirts made with American flag patterns. The exhibition was enormous and featured over 100 items. It was very interesting to see the way that fashion designers approached politics as artists. While a lot of the items in the collection had only been worn once or twice and sometimes not at all, the real point of the articles was to simply express something. A lot of the clothing was meant to be more like a painting, something to be shown off to express the way the designer felt about certain things. I have to say that my favorite thing in the exhibit was the famous “IKE’’ dress that was made during Dwight Eisenhower’s presidential campaign. The simple fact that this dress even exists is very interesting. The fact that this would be a legitimate way of advertising a presidential campaign is simply hilarious. All and all it was a great experience.
I really enjoyed the content that was on display at the F.I.T museum. I liked how it was setup: starting out with the american flag and red, white, and blue, theme clothing and then moved on to showcase important fashions of different eras in chronological order.
I was fascinated at the setup and selection of the pieces that were chosen for each individual time period. Each era or decade had its own textile, cloth, or scarf behind the mannequins, that was representative of the events and context of that time. I though it was interesting how the cloth behind the 1950’s and 1960’s clothing both had the theme of space. It showed that the cold war and the space race was a very prevalent issue for America that spanned over two decades. The white table cloth or textile behind the John Galliano camouflage print gown was really interesting as well. At first glance it seems that the white cloth is boring and dull and just creates a real contrast compared to the hideous greens and browns of the dress, but when you look closely the white cloth has a chaotic scene printed on it.
I compared this trip to our last trip that focused on fashion as well, but through a different medium. What was really different from the ICP exhibit on fashion, from this FIT one— obviously aside from the fact that mostly everything at the ICP was expressed through photographs or video— was that the clothing showcased at ICP represented different mainly different classes. The dresses and outfits at FIT seemed representative of the upper and middle class that can typically afford to buy trendy designer statement making clothing. The ICP definitely did not focus much on political self-expression.
All in all i really enjoyed the FIT museum exhibit.
The moment I read that this exhibit was called Fashion and Politics I thought of the “Vote or Die” shirts during the 2004 election and the Obama shirts from this years election. When I saw the Obama shirts in the exhibit I was excited that I made a fashion and politics connection before I went to the museum. At first it seems that there wouldn’t a very big connection with the political world and the fashion world, but after seeing the exhibit I realized just how much they have to do with each other. Fashion is a great way of expression and politics is one of the most expressed and talked about subjects, especially in times of war or during elections. One of my favorite pieces in the exhibit, other than ALL of the shoes, was the IKE dress because not only was it a cute dress but it got the point across that they supported Eisenhower in the election. Feminist have very strong points of view and some of the clothing during the feminist movement like the Pantsuits and the topless bathing suit get their idea’s of gender equality across very clearly. This exhibit really opened my eyes to how much politics and cultural events effects the fashion world. I’m surprised this exhibit didn’t have anything on Michelle Obama, because her fashion choices are constantly being talked about. I thought it was one of the most interesting exhibits we’ve gone to in a while and would definitely recommend it to city visitors.
This exhibit was pretty cool albeit small. The Red, White, and Blue-themed attire at the entrance of the gallery was atrocious due to how obnoxiously literal I found it to be but I was still able to appreciate its significance. Even that Catherine Malandrino wrap dress was not great despite being worn by the legendary Merryl Streep at a movie premiere in Paris. (She’s brilliant but not exactly a fashion icon.)
Moving on to the rest of the exhibit… The pair of antique 19th (?) century bicycle boots in the glass display were excellent and if replicated exactly and mass produced by any shoe label/designer, from Payless to Prada, would probably fly off shelves all over Manhattan. I can’t remember exactly (because I went last Wednesday but unfortunately did not get around to posting until now) but I think the same room which housed those boots had some pretty cool jump suits that are totally current as well. The majority of what is considered a la mode today consists of pieces that are updates of past decades of American and European designs.
Some say that success is not just about what you know, but who you know. American Vogue Editor-In-Chief Anna Wintour, widely thought of as the most powerful person in fashion, is currently endorsing a young designer who goes by the name of Thakoon, which is also the name of his label. With someone like Wintour backing him, he is guaranteed to rise to the top, in due time. A dress by the designer was featured in the exhibit, which I felt represented this idea of the ‘American Dream.’
A dress by Jason Wu, who designed the famous white gown that First Lady Michelle Obama wore to the Inaugural Ball (Photo Link: http://designerdirection.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/michelle_obama_dress_jason_wu.jpg) was also featured in the collection. I also believe he is contracted by Mrs. President to design all of her formal attire so it is clear why Wu is relevant to this exhibit of Fashion & Politics.
What I really did like about the exhibit, however, was the fact that there was something from nearly every facet of American fashion throughout history—Street, Counterculture, Couture, etc. Some of the things of course made me wonder what some designers were thinking. That, however, was not the case with Vivienne Tam’s collection featuring the face of Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong printed all over suits and dresses. It was pretty clear that her intention was to ridicule this overly publicized image from the history of politics of her native country.
The clothing featured in this exhibit, of course, is a collection of comments about American culture. But what’s really fascinating is that each piece tells a story about what things were like and why things exist they way they do now.
I had never been to the fashion institute of technology before this field trip. I was extremely excited because I had never been to a museum that focused too much on fashion. When I read that this exhibit was called Fashion and Politics I expected to see a bunch of worn out, historical suites that had been worn by famous politicians.
But once I entered the exhibit I knew that this was not going to be a boring visit. When I first saw all of the red white and blue clothing I was intrigued. Usually when I see any type of clothing that has the patriotic theme, I immediately think “tacky”. But all of these clothes were so interesting and seemed to historical, I could only picture the types of people that wore these clothes in the past.
My favorite part of the exhibit was the Nixon and Eisenhower dresses, although they were a little too much for me, they reminded me of the Obama shirts that everyone is wearing now. I thought it was really interesting politics had such a strong influence on fashion in the past just like it influences fashion in the present. Anyone who was anyone had an Obama shirt during the election and I was really excited to see that so much of what people wore during the 50’s and 60’s was a statement.
I enjoyed the over-all layout of the exhibit as well. I thought that it was smart of the museum to set up the exhibit in chronological order because there was so much to look at, without this organization, I know as a visitor I would have been extremely over whelmed and confused by all the different types of fashion that was involved in this exhibit. All in all this was my favorite exhibit so far because I enjoyed observing how fashion did actually take chances in the past as well.
I have been down to FIT many times and gone past the museum but I have never gone through it and actually looked at the exhibits. I have to say it is not my favorite of the museums in NYC. The Fashion and Politics exhibit seemed very interesting but as I began going through it I was less than thrilled. The patriotic red white and blue fashion seemed to literal to me. The American Flag costume printed on cotton from 1889 just did not spark my interest. I understand the importance of all of this from the heritage of our country it does not seem relevant to me today. Continuing through the exhibit i began to appreciate more of what was there from the presidential clothing, it seemed interesting to think of how much of an influence the clothes they wear have an influence on the public. It made me think of my dad and how he got aggravated in the most recent presidential campaign when Mccain would not wear a tie. Another thought that was sparked as I went through the exhibit is how much what President Obama and his wife were wearing at his inauguration. Clothing makes a large influence on politics and the people that participate in it.
I really did enjoy the white cotton with red “IKE” print dress from 1956. This is something that i found patriotic but in a tasteful way.
Thursday night, Davin, Karlie, Garret and me headed downtown to experience a fashion time warp. Fashion and Politics are two things I happen to enjoy, although I do not normally group them together. The exhibit at FIT opened my eyes to the relevance of clothing as a means of historical and political documentation. As I looked through the exhibit it was apparent to me which time period each article of clothing belonged to. For instance when I saw the denim jumpsuit and the red bandana, it immediately registered in my mind that was the time of Rosie the Riveter. The second thing that registered in mind was what the outfit represented which was World War Two, and many viewed it as a “Feminist Icon.” The exhibit demonstrated how fashion was used not only to represent history but also to display political activism. For instance the topless bathing suit was a “form of social commentary.”(Jennifer Farley and Melissa Marra.) In addition to those more popular pieces there were other wonderful works. For instance, a nineteen nineties Moshchino dress that put emphasis on recycling. Another example would be a Nior camouflage dress titled, The Army of Love, with juxtaposing fabrics such as a pink bow on the back. Through these pieces we learned the importance of the time periods they came from. I enjoyed the exhibit, although I wish the space was better lit and more welcoming to give the art the justice it deserved.
As a first time goer of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, I did not really know what to expect. However, as I entered the building and approached the exhibit titled, “Fashion and Politics” I was instantly intrigued. “By exploring fashion’s past, we can better understand its present and future,” said Dr. Valerie Steele. I thought this statement rang true throughout this entire exhibit. The clothing is arranged in ascending generations from the 1800s to 2009. As I walked down the hall, I felt like I was on a restricted shopping outing. Many of the trends from past generations are in vogue today, especially in New York. I thought to myself, ‘Why is that? Why are past fashions coming back into fashion today?’
Fashion reminds us of the strides we’ve made and how far we’ve come culturally. A dramatic example is the flashy 1960s Harry Gordon Poster dress, representing the Cape Kennedy Space Center. A poignant cultural memory that can be revisited simply by glancing at the dress. Another example is the denim jumpsuit from the 1940s, representing the feminist movement. It is no wonder why we want to wear clothing that represents those influential generations. Michelle Obama was the perfect example of fashion in politics. As I was looking over the 2009 styles, including the awesome bright yellow Obama dress, I overheard two women talking about Michelle Obama. “She is so classic,” said one woman, and he friend responded, “like Jackie Kennedy.” Michelle wants to represent an influential era - the political turning point that was John F. Kennedy. While I support the idea of representing these influential and important eras, I think our generation needs to find its own style. We need to create a style that is different enough from past generations so it will remind us of our generation specifically. I thought this was an important exhibit, and I really enjoyed going. I never would have thought about the similar patterns of fashion and politics otherwise.
Fashion reminds us of the strides we’ve made and how far we’ve come culturally. A dramatic example is the flashy 1960s Harry Gordon Poster dress, representing the Cape Kennedy Space Center. A poignant cultural memory that can be revisited simply by glancing at the dress. Another example is the denim jumpsuit from the 1940s, representing the feminist movement. It is no wonder why we want to wear clothing that represents those influential generations. Michelle Obama was the perfect example of fashion in politics. As I was looking over the 2009 styles, including the awesome bright yellow Obama dress, I overheard two women talking about Michelle Obama. “She is so classic,” said one woman, and her friend responded, “like Jackie Kennedy.” Michelle wants to represent an influential era - the political turning point that was John F. Kennedy. While I support the idea of representing these influential and important eras, I think our generation needs to find its own style. We need to create a style that is different enough from past generations so it will remind us of our generation specifically. I thought this was an important exhibit, and I really enjoyed going. I never would have thought about the similar patterns of fashion and politics otherwise.
The exhibit at FIT Fashion and Politics was a fascinating and relevant exhibit. This exhibit is relevant to today’s society because President Obama’s election and his stylish wife Michelle Obama strengthened the age old bond between fashion and politics. Although fashion and politics have always been interlined, fashionistas have a observed that fashion hasn’t been so prevalent in the White House since the days of Jackie O. I really enjoyed the section of the exhibit that focused on Michelle Obama’s fashion. Having been a fan of Jason Wu since before his career exploded courtesy of Michelle Obama’s endorsement, I was happy to see a fuschia dress of his included in the exhibit. It was displayed right next to a kimono style Thakoon dress that I wanted to steal from the exhibit. I was pleased to see the cover of the March issue of Vogue featuring Michelle Obama framed on the wall of the exhibit. I subscribe to Vogue and read each monthly issue like it is the Bible. I actually saved the March issue of Vogue because I felt that it was such an important turning point for our nation. It not only represented the first African American first lady in America, but it also indicated a new connection between politics and fashion. Hillary Clinton turned down an offer to appear on the cover of Vogue because she feared it would make her look to feminine and negatively effect her campaign. By appearing on the cover of Vogue Michelle Obama showed that fashion and politics are linked. “Michelle Obama defies the constricting traditions of the modern first lady” read a caption at the exhibit. Michelle Obama’s Vogue cover was also famous because the singer Beyonce was featured on the April cover of Vogue magazine. This was the first time in the magazine’s history that two African American women appeared on the cover consecutively.
After visiting the Museum at the FIT, I came to understand the correlation between politics and fashion. Fashion has served as a “mirror of history.” While seeing clothing from the different decades, it is apparent that there is some sort of a visual impression of the social and cultural changes going on. I was intrigued by the IKE Dress at the beginning. It essentially serves the same purpose as the popular Obama T-shirts designed by Shepard Fairey, which is also included in this exhibit. After seeing this, I got a clearer idea of what else was in store for the exhibit. Out of the whole exhibit, my favorite garments were from the 1950’s to the present. In the 1950’s, people dealt with nuclear anxiety, economic expansion as well as the rise of American pop culture. The clothing reminded me of “Rebel Without a Cause.” By the 1960s, the strong economy led to an international youth culture.
The denim jumpsuit from 1942-45 illustrated women’s labor and how essential it was to the war effort during WWII.
I really enjoyed this exhibit since I’ve always wanted to go. I definitely want to go to the future exhibits as well. The garments in “Fashion and Politics” serve as pieces of history, each telling its own story about the attitudes of the people dealing with the changes in society. Decades from now, people will look at the dresses worn by Michelle Obama and perceive the same feelings and ideas we experience seeing clothing from the late 19th century and on.
I forgot to mention that I came back for the 2009 pieces several times. I think Thakoon and Jason Wu’s dresses were a couple of the many memorable garments in the exhibit.
Coming from someone who does not care himself fashionable, this exhibit was pretty interesting. My biggest concern is matching and having really nice nike dunks, which is sort of different from the pieces i saw at the exhibit. At first fashion and Politics did not seem like two things i’d consider cohesive to one another but this is exhibit opened my eyes and made me realize fashion is art. Clothing is just like a painting, it expresses different moods, different time periods and different meanings. My favorite piece was the one that blended Mexico’s modern and traditional clothing by Mexican designer Carla Fernandez. It looked like an outfit straight out of star trek but with indigenous weaving that channeled their cultural ancestors. I read that designers in the twentieth Century used fashion to draw attention to topics and shine a light on real issues like AIDS, gay rights and environmentalism, which is still happening today with the (RED) line supporting AIDS and all the recycled/organic stuff that is so popular. WIth my new found thinking of fashion as something more than what people wear and others obsess over, i’m interested to see what’s next and what fashion will represent my generation in an exhibit like this years from now!
Same as everyone else I really enjoyed visiting the FIT, and I agree that it was definitely a different experience. The location of the museum and the fact that it is open to the public make it hard for tourists to resist visiting it. The day I was there it was not very crowded, but the few people who were there seemed to enjoy it, just by hearing their comments.
I liked the fact that the exhibit had a variety of clothing from different eras since the 19th century, and from different origins such as France, England and the United States. I did not know much about fashion and politics until I visited the FIT exhibit. Of course I was aware about the Obama T-shirt because even people in Greece were wearing it during his campaign; it is amazing how fashion had an important role for the last presidential election. It was nice to see recent but also older pieces of clothing that emerged during important historical and political periods. I agree that Michele Obama is the perfect example for fashion and politics; it is true that many times she would remind us of Jackie Kennedy, and this was because of the way she would dress, but a lot of times because of her hairstyle as well. It is true that fashion plays an important role in our society; accordingly, it affects most of us, but also affects our attitudes.
Women are usually more interested about fashion than men are and the exhibition in a way pointed that out.
After lunch with my sister at Planet Hollywood I decided to take my big sis around my town. As a college student I have no money so I decided to take her to the fashion intuition of technology. Since it was free and a lot to see we had a great time. From the exhibits I notice that fashion touches everyone at least once in their lives. I really enjoyed the 18th century gallery. I have always considered the 18th century as a romantic ear and the clothing only reminded me that there was another time that came before me. My sister is not into fashion so she really didn’t enjoy the trip. The main exhibit the American fashion was very interesting. Seeing the American flag clothing made me proud to be an American. I thought that the fashion museum would open my mind to the fashion world since I don’t care for it. A professor was there with a few of her students and I told her that I really appreciated it but I’m not into fashion. She said that I cared even through I don’t notices. I care form the way I were my hair down to what I have in my closets. In all my sister had a lot of fun and my sister and I learned something about American history.
I wasn’t quite sure what the exhibit; “Fashion and Politics” would quite be about. I figured it would be a bunch of Propaganda expressed on clothing. Some of it was with the outfits that were colored in the American flag and the t-shirts that said “A friend would not let another friend vote (particular political party)” Some of the outfits I was surprised to see how old they were, and some of the dresses I would totally wear. I liked how the exhibit was set up chronologically, because I felt like I was walking through a time machine. I imagine that’s why politics and fashion go hand in hand so well. One can obtain so much information about a specific era based on what people wore and who was in power. I enjoyed the 1960’s clothing the most, only because I loved the fashion from the time period. The rest was pretty cool and some of it I felt were just costumes that no one really wore. It was a small exhibit that had a lot of insight in to the world of fashion and how politics had an effect. The one weird looking item was the woman’s bonnet that was colored red, white, and blue. I don’t know why but it looked to fake and plastic. I remember thinking “Did someone really put that on their head?” I thought bonnets were made with cotton, this looked like plastic.
I never really thought about how fashion and politics go together until after visited the Fashion Institute of Technology. Fashion is a big part of politics because even with campaigns and speeches, people are always dressed in ways to show their patriotism. When looking at political campaigns, t-shirts are always sold and bought by the masses to show who they are supporting. After looking at the clothes and seeing how they showed American patriotism, I thought about other countries and how people would wear colors to represent their political parties, such as China, where people used to wear red to show their support of Communism and in Pakistan where people would wear green to show their support of the Islamist Parties. The “Man’s Tour Jacket” stood out to me because several of my relatives served in the army in Sri Lanka. Unfortunately, they don’t have jackets to show the year they served in the army and writing. My Uncle still has his military captain uniform but it’s not the same thing as having a jacket that represents his year in the army that would also be shared with his fellow battalion members. They receive medals or awards, which are great, but a piece of clothing that they can wear proudly when they go out or even frame just seems more personal.
I thought the Fashion Institute of Technology was a really interesting field trip choice. The exhibition was unique and opened my eyes to draw a parallel between war, politics, and fashion, something I probably wouldn’t have done unless it had been thrown at me by someone else. The only thing I really understood as having any militarily basis in fashion were military style coats and that was about it.
The world of politics and communication have always been interconnected, and the way a politician or a candidate of any kind represents his or herself to his/her constituents can make or break an election. What FIT seemed to remind me of in addition to this was the fact that fashion can be as much of a communication tool and an equally integral part of the campaign process as anything else.
Fashion and Politics always seem to be intertwined in some way, but before now I guess I never really thought about how much they were involved with each other. Looking back into history makes me realize they have been involved with each other since the beginning of time. The exhibit itself only covered mostly the past 100 years, but looking back clothing has been a part of the political world since it was invented. What you wore defined who you were in society, and that still applies in some instances today. This exhibit made me realize how fashion can define a person, and can be used to convey a message, in more ways then one. Some of the clothing that was shown were uniforms for military uniforms, these showed someone’s accomplishments in their service to their country. Other outfits shown were presidential campaign outfits, like the “IKE” dress, which spoke volumes about someone’s presidential choice and how far they were going to let it be known.
My favorite outfit was the “Trash Bag” dress. It was a creative way of addressing eco friendly fashion. The dress itself was beautiful, and make completely out of black trash bags, which I thought was an adventurous form of expression. It reminded me of many dresses I’ve seen before that were made out of materials not thought of as fashionable. I saw a dress made entirely out of tires at The Met, a dress made out of Lord and Taylor bags, a sweater made out of dog hair, a dress made out of Tea bags, and much more. This style of fashion made with materials other than fabric speaks of peoples’ resourcefulness, and how fashion can be made out of what some see as trash.
(c) 2009 Morgan Schwartz - Some Rights Reserved.