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Module One

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Allison DeRose

on 13 September 2013

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Transcript of Module One

Module One
Human Evolution and Prehistoric Dress
The two most basic and simplistic reasons for dress dating back to the prehistoric times are NATURAL SELECTION and SEXUAL SELECTION. Natural Selection is based on improving ones chances of survival. Sexual Selection is based on enhancing ones desirability.
Motivations for Dress
Clothing is a form of non-verbal communication between human beings. There are many different motivations for dressing the way one does.
Body Art
BODY ART is anything applied to the body and is temporary. A very common example of body art is body painting. In some cultures, it is used to represent certain ideas during rituals or ceremonies.
Body Modification
Body modification is different from body art because it is surgical in nature and meant to be permenant. Types of modification are:
Surgical modification
The Stone Age
Boucher, François. 20,000 Years of Fashion: The History of Costume and Personal Adornment. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1967
This particular cave painting is of women wearing fur skirts during the Reindeer Period. In this part of the Paleolithic Era, homo sapiens were most likely dressing for survival. These women perhaps wore fur skirts for warmth during the cold days and nights. Also, they had to make clothing out of their limited resources so they therefore utilized nature. The men would hunt animals for food and then the women would create clothing out of their hides and furs.
The invention of crude but very useful stone tools was another key to survival. These hooks made c. 3000 BCE were probably used for fishing or hunting. They could have also been used in some way to make clothing. Toolmakers understood how to prepare a stone "core" so that a flake knocked from the surface had a smooth, sharp cutting edge extending far around it.
Bergen Museum. "Tools and Technology." American Museum of Natural History. http://amnh.org (accessed September 12, 2013).
Types of Clothing
There are five main types of dress:
DeRose, Allison. "Graduation." 2013. JPG file
DeRose, Allison. "Senior Ball." 2013. JPG file
In this picture, I am wearing a coat, hat, scarf, and gloves. As shown by the snow on the ground, this was taken in January and it was very cold outside. I was dressing for protection from the weather so my body would stay warm while I was walking around. By dressing warm, I was able to enjoy the beautiful winter day.
DeRose, Allison. "Turning Point Park." 2013. JPG file
Utility can be a very broad term. Simply, it encompasses anything that makes day to day life as easy as possible. Without that specific article, a task would be much more difficult to complete. My sunglasses in this picture fit under utility because they allow me to see outside without squinting. However, they are also protecting my eyes from the UV rays of the bright sun.
DeRose, Allison. "Niagara Falls." 2013. JPG file
Unknown. "Marilyn Monroe." 1950. JPG file.
One dresses seductively to attract the attention of others. This ties in with the basic reasoning for dress: SEXUAL SELECTION. It is essential to make oneself look desirable to a potential mate. Over time and cultures, the definition of what is seductive has differed, changed, and will constantly be changing. This low cut shirt would have been seen as extremely seductive following a time when women could show hardly any skin at all. Today, however, this dress would be seen as average. This greatly reflects the changing times and how much dress can evolve over a short period.
In this picture, the priest and bishop are wearing certain clothing that represents their standing within the church. The priest has on a simple white robe, while the bishop has a more elaborate one. The dove on the bishop's robe is a symbol for peace. It is a common theme within the church. This clothing is for religious reasons, but it also reveals a hierarchy. The bishop's gold details on his robe state that he is of a higher standing than the priest and represents the hierarchy in the church.
Josh Barrett. "Confirmation" 2012. JPG file
Personal expression (ego/vanity) is often looked at as a negative thing. It can be, but everyone dresses in the morning somewhat based on "what looks good on me?" In this picture, my friends were all dressed up for the senior ball. Not one of them looks the same as the next and everyone's dress reflects their personality. They picked out their dress based on what they liked, and got their hair and makeup done to go along with it. This event is an excuse to dress up and look pretty, but personal expression is a part of my everyday wardrobe. Clothing is one of many ways to outwardly express who you are.
Allison DeRose. "Senior Ball." 2013. JPG file.
Group Identification
One motivation for dress is to identify with a group of people. This could be because of a club, job, religious practice, and many more factors. This picture appears to be a religious group getting together to practice together. Identifying with a group is a very strong symbolic motivation for dressing. Another example of group identification is police officer dress. They all wear the same uniform so that they are easily identifiable to the public. Their dress also could be grouped under utility or protection.
These FBI agents are dressed for protection from elements other than the weather. They wear helmets and have on bulletproof vests to keep them safe while they are working.
Boucher, François. 20,000 Years of Fashion: The History of Costume and Personal Adornment. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1967
DeRose, Allison. "Triskele." 2013. JPG file.
My triskele necklace is a symbol of devotion. I got in when I visited France and we went to Mont St Michele. The surrounding town was very involved with Celtic tradition so this triskele was everywhere.
Kalman, Tibor, and Maira Kalman. (un)Fashion. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2000.
Status/ Hierarchy
In 1900, an intricate ball gown like this one would have shown the wearer's status in society. This particular dress was for the wealthy aristocrats who cold afford such luxury. Women wearing a dress like this one would have stood out from the crowd and immediately been recognized as of high status. A crown would have been motivated by ones position within the hierarchy of their society. Royalty wore elaborate headpieces to signify their authority and power.
Worth, Jean-Philippe . "House of Worth." The Metropolitan Museum of Art . http://metmuseum.org (accessed September 12, 2013).
For Spirit Week, my whole high school dressed in our school colors, black and gold. We had a sense of unity and group identity. Even though we didn't all look exactly the same, we shared a common theme.
DeRose, Allison. "Spirit Week." 2012. JPG file.
Arouse Emotion
Different modes of dress, such as Gothic like in this picture, arouse emotion in certain people. Everyone perceives what someone else is wearing in different ways. When someone stands out, they tend to attract attention and create some sort of emotional response from the viewer. Some may be seeking attention and therefore dress to arouse emotion from family or friends.
Unknown. "Vibeke Stene." 2013. JPG file.
In some countries, such as Japan, and in some religions, such as Muslim, wedding dresses must be modest and cover as much of the woman's skin as possible. In today's world, it is appropriate to wer strapess wedding dresses. Since this is the norm, modest wedding dresses re harder and harder to find.
Unknown. "Japan Wedding." 2013. JPG file.
Unknown. "Muslim Wedding Malaysia." 2013. JPG file
Unknown. "Amish Family." 2013. JPG file
In the Amish culture, women have to dress very modestly and wear bonnets to cover their hair. This is for religion and their lifestyle.
Wearing certain symbols to send a message to other people is a common motivation for dress. Whether it's a political shirt affiliated with a certain party or a necklace to identify with a religion, symbols are everywhere and they represent a variety of things.
Unknown. "Cross Necklace." 2013. JPG file
Unknown. "Republican Shirt." 2013. JPG file
Allison DeRose. "Blue Man Group." 2013. JPG file
In this picture, this member of The Blue Man Group has on body paint to identify with the rest of his group, and to show his status as a performer. This particular body paint is temporary and is part of his job as a member of The Blue Man Group.
Fabius, Carine. Mehndi: the art of henna body painting. New York: Three Rivers Press, 1998.
Anawalt, Patricia Rieff. The Worldwide History of Dress. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2007.
Kalman, Tibor, and Maira Kalman. (un)Fashion. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2000.
Lommel, Andreas. Les Masques. Paris: Braun, 1973.
Henna refers to the dye prepared from the plant and the art of temporary tattooing based on those dyes. Henna has been used for many years to dye skin, hair, and fingernails, as well as fabrics including silk, wool, and leather.
Headpieces or masks, such as these, are also considered a type of body art.
This picture shows facepaint that was applied for a ceremony or ritual. The colors could perhaps hold specific meanings. This is called COLOR SYMBOLISM.
Tattooing is an ancient body modification that has existed for many years. Tattoos, such as this one, are defined as a totem because they represent an animal. The person takes on the strength and majesty of the hawk and they seem to imitate or embody that animal. Totems could also be monsters or spirits and in the form of costumes.
Kaplan, Michael, and Marisa Kakoulas. Tattoo world. New York: Abrams, 2011.
This British corset was made around 1880. The purpose of a corset was to modify women's bodies so that over time they would have unnaturally tiny waists. This was seen as feminine and dainty and attractive.
Carlson's. "Corset." The Metropolitan Museum of Art . http://metmuseum.org (accessed September 13, 2013).
Piercing is a very common form of body modification. Some are as simple as ear piercings, but people are pushing the limits everyday. Body piercings are becoming more and more popular and really make a statement about personal expression.
DeRose, Allison. "Graduation." 2013. JPG file.
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