Originally Posted by LA Guy
I think that the issue here is that you are conflating "creative aspect" with "why we like what we like." Why we like what we like is, to the first order, a combination of our shared cultural history, our relationship to society and different societal values. For example, in the developing world, where labor is cheap and mechanization is expensive, manufactured goods are highly prized. As a modern society develops, labor becomes expensive, and mechanization relatively economical, and handmade goods become more desirable. This is pretty well documented.
I think that in order to discuss the creative aspect of clothing, we have to get people out of the prescriptive mindset, e.g. a suit has to have a skirt that covers your bottom, or else you look like a lady, lol. X,Y,Z factors flatter a man's physique., etc... And I think that that's easier said than done. But we can try.
This. While I think I get "the thin man's" overall point (critical thinking about subjective taste), ultimately I think it's impossible and will break down into exactly that kind of prescriptive mindset. In addition to what you write above, another reason is that it isn't possible to articulate WHY we like what we like, exactly, because we have neither complete information about it and also because we're influenced by so many factors automatically, over which we have no control. Thin man's argument seems dependent upon a kind of rationality and reflection about our own tastes that, ultimately, isn't possible, given various unconscious influences like priming, framing, bias, etc. (all those things that the behavioral economists have helped to show cloud all those perfectly rational agents!)
So, in the end, the discussion will largely devolve away from actual clothing and down to the social norms of the prescriptive type you outline above. If it is done "right," it will basically devolve down to "I like it because I like it and alternatives from that are ridiculous because they're stupid," or a rationally untenable argument.
People won't/can't think critically about their subjective tastes, because they aren't really in control of them. While on the one hand a man can say he likes RL because he likes "classic tailored menswear that is well manufactured," in truth (and given various behavioral experiments or brain scans) we might actually be able to make a more convincing case that latent sexual attraction to a coworker who happened to wear RL on Tuesdays caused the attraction to the brand. Likewise, it might be because his neighbor had a polo pony when he grew up. In short, the line between some sort of "aesthetic judgment" and a purely affective one is quite thin, and both can work together, "I like well tailored menswear because RL uses a polo pony that my neighbor had when i was young."This is exactly why criteria drawing those lines for the discussants is imperative, IMHO.
We CAN discuss a "creative aspect" according to some basic set of criteria, assuming requisite background knowledge, which is what we've tried to do (though may be difficult given that most on this site are "consumer" oriented and not critically oriented). Overall, perhaps having had a more set criteria from the start, as defined by the OP, would have helped him for the purposes of his article, though the organic way in which the discussion has developed has been interesting from an overall reading/writing/forum perspective.
Originally Posted by unbelragazzo
I've been in and out of paying attention to this thread, so forgive me if I'm repeating material that's already been covered, but the clothes-as-art idea is interesting to me. I enjoy the "creative aspect of clothing" and don't have a problem with viewing the creation of beautiful clothing and the collection of different items into an outfit as an art form.
But at the same time, there are really none of these "creative" major deviations from classic menswear that I find attractive. This looks ridiculous to me:
Gaultier pic (Click to show)
as do men in jackets that barely go past their belt.
But my artistic tastes in general are very classical. Free form poetry I don't like. Not much interest in abstract art, aside from a few Rothkos. I do like some combo jazz, but nothing too out there. No Sun Ra free jazz.
So my point is, you don't have to accept men in skirts to think of clothing as a creative and artistic enterprise.
Interestingly and unexpectedly, this sort of illustrates my (and, I think, Fok's) point. Without some basic lines being drawn or a willingness to suspend our own "consumer" perspective as a potential clothing buyer, the final decision will be whatever an individual personally finds "ridiculous," even accounting for what they feel is "art" or "creativity."