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Random fashion thoughts - Part II (A New Hope)

Discussion in 'Streetwear and Denim' started by LA Guy, May 15, 2015.

  1. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Well-Known Member

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    Yea, I don't see anything wrong with it. But even taking out historical figures, or famous pieces of art like Ernie Barnes' Sugar Shack on a t-shirt or whatever, if there was just some generic depiction of a black person or a Latino on a piece of clothing, why would that offend Gruff? I don't understand that.

    Like, if there was a t-shirt of just an anonymous black dude playing a saxophone, that's offensive?
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2016
  2. Gruff

    Gruff Well-Known Member

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    Because I personally feel that it's socially acceptable to wear that Native American depiction on things and nobody will bat an eye, but wearing depictions of other minorities in America would at least invite some questions, even depictions that aren't caricatures.

    I don't really know why that is beyond perhaps attitudes towards Native Americans that aren't shared towards other minorities. Goes back to the "savage" point you were making earlier, but I'd qualify it as "noble savage," that sort of romanticism about Native Americans that inspires a lot of Americans - conveniently now that they've been mostly exterminated, of course.
     
  3. jet

    jet Well-Known Member

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    I don't have the intellectual horsepower for this conversation.
     
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  4. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Well-Known Member

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    Yea, but that article's point is that all NA-inspired clothing is problematic because it's laden with those stereotypes. So even if you buy a jacket with a NA-inspired print, you're kind of buying it because of this idea of NA culture being pre-modern/ savage. There's no special class given depictions of that side-view image of an anonymous NA man in a headdress.

    I don't think anyone feels the way you do (or maybe there are some?) about respectful depictions of blacks or Latinos on clothing. Like, when I walk into some shop and see those '80s Pan African shirts of black women or whatever, why would that be offensive? Or a shirt with Che Guevera?
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2016
  5. g transistor

    g transistor Well-Known Member

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    I don't think that's what he meant, but rather the depiction of an idealized black person that's widely used as a piece of decoration or mascot wouldn't be taken so well in current cultural climate. The normalization of the "chief head" as a NA "decoration" is so widely accepted (e.g. look at the Washington Redskins), at least that's what I interpreted
     
    2 people like this.
  6. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Well-Known Member

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    I don't know what an idealized black person would mean in actual form. Some black dude playing music on a t-shirt?

    I get that certain depictions are offensive. But I don't get that depictions of ethnic minorities are always offensive, and should never be used in design.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2016
  7. Gruff

    Gruff Well-Known Member

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    I think my discomfort stems from that traditional Native American head profile that you see on a lot of things. It's a fairly common decoration w/r/t Western themed items and it's generic but recognizable enough to not be associated with any one particular Native American. It just makes me uncomfortable to see it, given the history.

    I'd probably feel the same way if it was a generic but common representation of another minority, actually. For example, I could wear a t-shirt with Bruce Lee on it and yeah, ok, I like Bruce Lee movies. But if it was a generic but common representation of a non-caricature of an Asian person's face, used for decoration, it'd give me pause.

    I don't know, I just find it at a minimum weird to see actual people used as decoration because of their ethnicity.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. g transistor

    g transistor Well-Known Member

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    That's my major qualm with the article, because I do think there's a difference, but we've discussed that.

    I think that Che is a little different, though his image has come to represent something similar to NA motifs (Guevara:rebellion::NA:pre-industrial natural spirituality), I don't think it's been idealized in the same way that Native Americans as a whole are viewed in American culture. Like I don't know many people who treat Cubans as militant rebels, but there are plenty of times where I've sat through some pretty egregiously ignorant stuff regarding Native Americans.
     
  9. Gruff

    Gruff Well-Known Member

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    Exactly this. G Trans articulated it better than I did.
     
  10. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Well-Known Member

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    Yea, that seems like it's more of a personal thing. I don't see anything wrong with having a respectful depiction of an Asian person on a piece of clothing. Rice hat, chinky eyed, no. But just some Asian person, sure.

    Don't understand the special class of Native American in headdress either, tbh. The only thing I can think of is that the side profile was famous in Buffalo Bill shows, but I think should be possible to have respectful depictions of a NA in a headdress, just as it's possible with any group.
     
  11. g transistor

    g transistor Well-Known Member

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    I agree with you. By idealized, I am referencing the idealized Native American that the chief symbol has come to represent: overtly masculine, stoic, etc.
     
  12. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member

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    To go a bit afield - I like Southwestern inspired clothing - but not so much because I romanticize Native American culture, but because I have a romantic image of the American West in decline - based on my modern experience with inland California and the immediately adjacent states. So where does that put me? Appropriator of the Appropriation?
     
  13. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Well-Known Member

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    Again, I don't think appropriation makes sense in those terms. It can't just be "sharing something that's outside your culture." Or "designing something with elements from outside your culture."

    I linked it earlier, but this is one of the better takes I've read on appropriation in fashion.

    http://time.com/2840461/pharrell-native-american-headdress/
     
  14. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member

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    I'd agree with @dieworkwear here. I mean, are we only allowed to decorate our clothes with pictures of white people? Or no persons at all? Though it's clearly a personal thing, it seems on the extreme side.
     
  15. Gruff

    Gruff Well-Known Member

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    G Trans' comment pulled it together for me. It's the idea of using an idealized representation of an ethnicity as a mascot that bothers me. Whether it's Native Americans or any other ethnicity.

    Especially when it's worn by non-members of that ethnicity. It just feels like it's the interpretation of the dominant majority (usually white) and a romanticized version of real people based on orientalism/colonialism. Just feels wrong.
     
    1 person likes this.
  16. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Well-Known Member

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    My coffee mug :foo:


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  17. g transistor

    g transistor Well-Known Member

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    @LA Guy

    No, that's not what I'm saying. For me, it's specifically how the chief headdess has gone on to become a logo/decoration and how it's detrimental to Native American identity. I think it's fine to portray people on clothing.

    Y'all ever watch King of the Hill? John Redcorn is basically a caricature of the Native American image in our culture. To me, the constant depiction and normalization of that strong, tall, and stoic environmental NA male on clothing is garbage, both design-wise and cultural wise.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  18. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member

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    That was a good read. Thanks.

    I think that many of these images, of whoever it is, an iconic figure or otherwise, are supposed to be symbolic, if not necessarily representative.

    A black guy in New Orleans landscape, playing the saxaphone, for example, is not a symbol neutral image. And yet, it would be difficult to argue reasonably that that would be offensive? What about a white dude scaling a mountain? What about a Chinese water color of a contemplative painting under a tree ( a common motif, btw)? I suppose that one might try to make an argument about whether the image was perpetuated by the subject or a colonial, but then we run into cases like... Chief Joseph:

    [​IMG]

    whose story is of struggle and loss AGAINST colonial powers? Can we use his image? What about the image if Sun Yat Sen, who prevailed in his Nationalist China?
     
  19. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member

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    So yes, I've watched King of the Hill, and I understand about John Redcorn.

    However, I think that it may be unwise to disavow an image simply because it happens to fit and archetype that you would deem a stereotype. After all, any person, reduced to an image, takes on symbolic value. That would disqualify just about any powerful image of a person from being used as decoration on clothing. I'm really not sure that that is a good way to go.
     
  20. happyriverz

    happyriverz Well-Known Member

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    So where do we fall on the line for something like this:

    [​IMG]

    By the way, the current 3.1 Philip Lim collection has a lot of pieces with the same imagery. As an Asian person, I don't find this particularly offensive, although I must say I do not understand what reference this is supposed to be making.
     

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