{"'Liebchen, this is the other half of the earth. In Germany you would be yellow and blue.' Mirror-metaphysics." - Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow}

Uniform Fashion

‘Thus concealment is ontologically prior to any form of revealment.’ Amen to that.

With my dreaded dissertation finally as good as behind me it’s time to move on. My new project is called ‘Uniform Fashion’, and it is a logical extension of the work I have done on militarization and philosophy (Heidegger, but also Benjamin, Baudrillard, Barthes etc.). The basic idea is that fashion has never been taken completely seriously as an academic subject, being neither art nor purely consumer object, even though fashion is in a way the exemplary angle to step into the realm of philosophy, to think about what it means to be a clothed, consuming, individual human being in the twenty first century. However, there is a growing interest in fashion, yet when it comes to finding tools for theoretical analysis that can assist in studying today’s fashion world one soon stumbles upon a serious lack. In a certain sense every philosophy (semiotics, structuralism, deleuzianism, feminist critiques, Marxist analysis etc.) can be used to explain fashion, since fashion addresses those issues that are most intricately linked with the subject: individuality, creativity, identity, fear, joy, the body, consumption, class etc. Fashion theorists such as Elisabeth Wilson and Caroline Evans have undertaken excellent pioneering work, and classic studies by theorists such as Roland Barthes and Jean Baudrillard prove that the field of fashion offers a worthwhile subject for philosophers to delve in, but I would like to propose fashion as the staring point of an autonomous theory of the subject. I argue that philosophy not only thinks the clothed subject, it takes for granted – or rather it doesn’t consider the fact - that this subject is clothed, covered in cloth. That means that thinking about the subject always starts after a covering up or concealment that has taken place prior to the conceptualization of the subject. This implies that the ontological ‘wesensgesteltheit’ of the human is a covered one. Nakedness seems more like an exceptional condition to be in, and being clothed the normal one (despite e.g. phenomenological theories about the body).

Fashion is a kind of ‘heteromonotony’, it is wanting to be the same as everybody else yet desiring to be different. That’s why this book I am working on is called ‘Uniform Fashion’. I will be looking into concepts such as ‘Gestell’ (‘frame’), camouflage & Reizschutz, commodification, uniformity, exception, ‘fragile militancy’ (about how the emaciated body of fashion wears itself). The basic idea is to develop a theory of the subject as uniform(ity) and fashion(ed).

‘The heat, the whisky, the noise, all those uniforms…’ If only, if only...

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