The mafoofan and Thom Browne philosophies are not too unlike.

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by bluemagic, Feb 9, 2009.

  1. dopey

    dopey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Our disconnect stems from your tendency to define all things in terms of reference to other things, so that all things are patchwork reflections of an imagined past. I understand this is a postmodern way of thinking, and postmodernists surmise that all people really think this way, whether they know it or not. But it is far from a conclusive argument.

    The fact that something is referential says nothing about whether it has any 'good' or 'true' value itself. Even if the referenced things are bad, false, or poorly remembered, the current thing that is referencing them may still present an undiscovered absolute truth of some sort. I find that postmodern thinkers consistently make the error of assuming that because they have disproved a particular absolute truth, they have disproved the possibility of any absolute truth.

    So, the reason Thom Brown gets so much flack on this forum is not necessarily because we just don't see the light, that all things, including our own clothing choices, are merely referential. It might just be that some of us expect more of a rational justification for the things he's doing.


    Or you could say that some people choose not to dress like an essay.
     
  2. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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    Update: I might be voting at any minute. Stay tuned.


    - B
     
  3. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    Or you could say that some people choose not to dress like an essay.

    I often find that you say things I agree with in fewer words than I would have used. But in this case, I am just confused.
     
  4. dopey

    dopey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I often find that you say things I agree with in fewer words than I would have used. But in this case, I am just confused.

    If Thom Browne has something to say about, e.g., Fascism or the-man-in-the-gray-flannel-suit, let him say it. That doesn't mean I have an interest in wearing his opinion.
     
  5. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    If Thom Browne has something to say about, e.g., Fascism or the-man-in-the-gray-flannel-suit, let him say it. That doesn't mean I have an interest in wearing his opinion.

    I see; clever. But I'm going a step further and arguing that Thom Browne's 'essay' is a bad one. He hasn't made the case for his changes to existing norms, or even demonstrated that the existing norms need changing at all.
     
  6. gomestar

    gomestar Super Yelper

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    I see; clever. But I'm going a step further and arguing that Thom Browne's 'essay' is a bad one. He hasn't made the case for his changes to existing norms, or even demonstrated that the existing norms need changing at all.

    I'm not going to provide full evidence or anything, but some selected quotes that helps to explain some of his look:

    His jacket - this is what he thought jackets were like from the 50's and 60's, where he takes most of his style cues. When he did further research, he saw that the likes of JFK didn't have shorter jackets or sleeves as he had originally thought - but he still wanted to do this look.

    The short pants come from an interesting source - TB has stated that the majority of men out there wear pants that are way too long, the bunch up unnecessarily at the heels. His pants came from the idea of doing the opposite of that - doing them a little too short than what's technically "correct".

    Again, I'm not defending anything, this is just some stuff I've read in interviews with him that help explain where his ideas came from.
     
  7. Fuuma

    Fuuma Franchouillard Modasse

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    Our disconnect stems from your tendency to define all things in terms of reference to other things, so that all things are patchwork reflections of an imagined past. I understand this is a postmodern way of thinking, and postmodernists surmise that all people really think this way, whether they know it or not. But it is far from a conclusive argument.

    The fact that something is referential says nothing about whether it has any 'good' or 'true' value itself. Even if the referenced things are bad, false, or poorly remembered, the current thing that is referencing them may still present an undiscovered absolute truth of some sort. I find that postmodern thinkers consistently make the error of assuming that because they have disproved a particular absolute truth, they have disproved the possibility of any absolute truth.

    So, the reason Thom Brown gets so much flack on this forum is not necessarily because we just don't see the light, that all things, including our own clothing choices, are merely referential. It might just be that some of us expect more of a rational justification for the things he's doing.


    TB gets flack on this forum because most dress conservatively (well a mythical conception of how people used to dress and should dress) and he presents short and tight suits. It's about the visual more than what is implied by the visual although that enters the picture when you guys stop to think about it.

    I can't understand the stuff you wrote as I don't see how it applies to the post you quoted. There is no rational justification for wearing insect generated material tied around your neck a certain way beyond; we socialized and it came to be that status was demonstrated that way.

    As for the absolute truth thing, take it to Derrida, this is beyond the scope of this discussion.
     
  8. Fuuma

    Fuuma Franchouillard Modasse

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    I see; clever. But I'm going a step further and arguing that Thom Browne's 'essay' is a bad one. He hasn't made the case for his changes to existing norms, or even demonstrated that the existing norms need changing at all.

    Why not see it the same way you can approach modern art? Not in the sense that TB produces art but in the sense that when you remove or alter an element you bring attention to it's importance and signification, engaging the viewer in a dialogue that is often (always?) absent from earlier forms of art.

    In this case he shortens the pants and tighten the suit to show you how everyone else wears their stuff too big and too long. Voila, modern art approach!
     
  9. dopey

    dopey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Why not see it the same way you can approach modern art? Not in the sense that TB produces art but in the sense that when you remove or alter an element you bring attention to it's importance and signification, engaging the viewer in a dialogue that is often (always?) absent from earlier forms of art.

    In this case he shortens the pants and tighten the suit to show you how everyone else wears their stuff too big and too long. Voila, modern art approach!


    Yay!!! Essays you can wear.
     
  10. gdl203

    gdl203 Affiliate Vendor Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    Yay!!! Essays you can wear.
    And I thought that essays were best accessorized in the form of lapel buttons
     
  11. dopey

    dopey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    And I thought that essays were best accessorized in the form of lapel buttons
    Who wants to accessorize with lapel buttons? I want my clothes to engage in a dialogue. A dialogue with other pants:
    • "You look stupid."
    • "Oh yeah, well you know how I look stupid because I am too short? Well you look stupid in the opposite way. How do you like them apples?"
     
  12. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    TB gets flack on this forum because most dress conservatively (well a mythical conception of how people used to dress and should dress) and he presents short and tight suits. It's about the visual more than what is implied by the visual although that enters the picture when you guys stop to think about it.

    'Conservative' is a convenient shorthand descriptor, but I wouldn't take it too far. There is a difference between dressing to mimic the past and choosing to wear clothes that have not completely broken from past norms because such norms retain value. I dress the way I do because I don't think we have figured out a 'better' way to dress. New materials tend to fall short in significant ways, mass production means it is harder to get a good fit, and the cost of designer clothes equals or exceeds what I pay for tailored clothing.

    Thom Browne's message is garbled because he is simultaneously trying to reference the past, and market a "short and tight" suit. I don't think the suit format, which he has adopted, was ever intended to accomodate so much shortness and tightness, particularly on a mass production scale. It is not surprising that it looks jarring to so many people. If he wanted to make shorter, tighter clothes, why make suits at all? If he wanted to reflect the past, why not do it more accurately? His two purposes compromise each other.

    I can't understand the stuff you wrote as I don't see how it applies to the post you quoted. There is no rational justification for wearing insect generated material tied around your neck a certain way beyond; we socialized and it came to be that status was demonstrated that way.

    This is exactly the kind of assumption I was questioning. It is true, we wear ties largely because we are used to them and know what they mean in our place and time. But that doesn't mean it isn't rational to wear them. There's no good reason why we say "Hello" instead of "Blargh!" to greet people, but we don't bother to change that because it is much less costly to say what we want using existing language. So, assume that all a tie does is say: "I'm professional and take my work seriously." Isn't that good enough of a reason to wear one? If that's what you want to say, why would you waste time and effort finding a different way to say it?

    In short, the cost of wearing a tie is very small, while the benefits are significant and difficult to duplicate. That is very different from the problem of inserting expensive Greek columns in buildings that obstruct light and waste space. In architecture, adhering to old norms kept us from achieving better, more efficient results. In clothing, we are talking about changing languages or shifting from one norm to another without improvement.
     
  13. Fuuma

    Fuuma Franchouillard Modasse

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    Yay!!! Essays you can wear.

    Please, sure you don't have to be interested in the ideas behind architecture of furniture design but they're still there, as stupid or smart as you might think they are. Beyond that everyone around you reads the signs your clothes send and colour their perception of Dopey using that info.
     
  14. Fuuma

    Fuuma Franchouillard Modasse

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    'Conservative' is a convenient shorthand descriptor, but I wouldn't take it too far. There is a difference between dressing to mimic the past and choosing to wear clothes that have not completely broken from past norms because such norms retain value. I dress the way I do because I don't think we have figured out a 'better' way to dress. New materials tend to fall short in significant ways, mass production means it is harder to get a good fit, and the cost of designer clothes equals or exceeds what I pay for tailored clothing.

    Thom Browne's message is garbled because he is simultaneously trying to reference the past, and market a "short and tight" suit. I don't think the suit format, which he has adopted, was ever intended to accomodate so much shortness and tightness, particularly on a mass production scale. It is not surprising that it looks jarring to so many people. If he wanted to make shorter, tighter clothes, why make suits at all? If he wanted to reflect the past, why not do it more accurately? His two purposes compromise each other.



    This is exactly the kind of assumption I was questioning. It is true, we wear ties largely because we are used to them and know what they mean in our place and time. But that doesn't mean it isn't rational to wear them. There's no good reason why we say "Hello" instead of "Blargh!" to greet people, but we don't bother to change that because it is much less costly to say what we want using existing language. So, assume that all a tie does is say: "I'm professional and take my work seriously." Isn't that good enough of a reason to wear one? If that's what you want to say, why would you waste time and effort finding a different way to say it?

    In short, the cost of wearing a tie is very small, while the benefits are significant and difficult to duplicate. That is very different from the problem of inserting expensive Greek columns in buildings that obstruct light and waste space. In architecture, adhering to old norms kept us from achieving better, more efficient results. In clothing, we are talking about changing languages or shifting from one norm to another without improvement.


    Modern art hardly improves, it just reflects on art. Some sort of glorified intellectual circle jerk if you will. Of course not everyone wants to send the message they're a professional lawyer at all times and much of today's clothing choices are influenced, one way or another, by the mythification of the individual rebel in western and specifically American culture. If it wasn't for those countercultural jerkoffs we'll probably still have a wardrobe consisting of 5 grey suits and 10 white shirts with two pairs of shoes, nothing drives standardized industrial production of well categorized looks like the need of the market for an always renewed individuation.
     
  15. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt The Liberator Dubiously Honored

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    I feel like I have learned a lot from this thread. I just have no idea what I have learned.
     

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