During the Fashion and Psychoanalysis International Conference in London this weekend, one of the speakers, The Freud Museum's Emilia Raczkowska, touched on an important issue: the academic community's hostility towards fashion. She identified three reasons for this opposition: feminist, intellectual and moral.
The feminist reason is grounded in the notion that dressing up is something women do to appear attractive to men, not for their selves, nor as a creative outlet despite the many women, who gain pleasure, joy, and a sense of identity from fashion.
The intellectuals, on the other hand, apparently deem themselves too intelligent to care about fashion. Fashion, among this group of educated minds, is silly and frivolous. Everything important, to them, is going on outside of physical perception. The interconnectedness between aesthetic and cerebral matters, seems to be lost here.
The third reason Raczkowska cited was moral. The fashion industry, much like many other industries, has many areas needing improvement - from sustainability to treatment of its workers. And yet, these concerns are prevalent in other industries - in everything from oil to film, as we've just been rudely made conscious of with the Harvey Weinstein case. Then there's the go-to: how can we focus on fashion when there are so many alarming issues in the world? Beauty, creativity and imagination as an antidote to fear around uncertainty, once again, isn't grasped by those who tout this argument.
But there is a fourth reason. Denial - which happens to be a defense mechanism. Ironic, considering the Freudian undercurrent. It’s simply easier to devalue something we might not get than to acknowledge that we might want it. It's safer to reject a group first if you perceive them likely to reject you. "People who concern themselves with fashion are shallow/stupid/vapid" etc is much easier on the ego than "I don't understand fashion", "I don't know how to dress flattering or what looks good on me", "I don't feel confident in stylish clothes, because I am unhappy with my figure."
What do you think? Why are some people so against fashion? Tell us in the comments.