Mar 28 2010

The Conquest of Cool- Part II

Published by at 6:13 pm under Reflection Blog,Uncategorized

The sixties were a time of many revolutions, but one revolution that has evolved continually since the sixties is the male fashion revolution. In The Conquest of Cool: Business Culture, Counterculture, and the Rise of Hip Consumerism, Thomas Frank discusses how male fashion in the sixties mimicked the new ideals and how advertising helped to adjust men’s thinking on fashion. In class we watched a clip from Austin Powers which parodies sixties culture and was a clear display of the “Peacock Revolution.” This revolution was named such because peacocks that display color are males and in the sixties men were also filling their wardrobe with vibrant colors. This new fashion featured, “jackets with extremely wide lapels, extremely wide ties, extremely wide trouser cuffs, and bright colors and vivid patterns on everything”(192). This change in men’s fashion was a direct result of the Mod wave.
Mod burst into the scene as the pinnacle of individualism and Mod became, “the birth of the counterculture, the first visible evidence in America that the young were drifting away from the solutions of their fathers”(190). As counterculture was gaining popularity in the mass market advertisers realize by treating men’s fashion the same as women’s they could change the way men consume fashion. “The uniformity of men’s clothing was also an important element of the mass society critique and it’s countercultural corollary”(185). The garment industry seized this time to change how men viewed fashion and wanted men to seize the way styles filtered throughout society. The evolution was slow but by the end of the sixties casual menswear triumphed over the business suit. To best express this new wave of male casual wear our class brought up the blue jean pants. Blue jeans started out for the working class then anti-establishment youth brought allowed them to seep in to suburban male homes and from then on the blue jean has become a fashion staple in American society.
Another new ideal that came in to play in the sixties was the idea of “retro” and the purchasing of antique and vintage items. This further added to the individualism of the consumer because they could mix and match generations of fashion. This trend in regurgitating fashion trends can still be witnessed today as fads constantly emerge back in to new generations. Finally at the end of class we clips from the short film Logorama, this film was very interesting to just show now how immersed in ads we are now. Advertisers of the sixties were huge in laying the groundwork for how consumers would continue to absorb ads and buy in to fashion. Advertisers in the sixties learned that everyone wanted to rebel a little and they could do so by consuming if advertisers played on the counterculture.

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