|Posted by Suz King on November 7, 2009 at 12:40 PM|
The Radical Chic
“Poor people live to dress up; richpeople can afford to dress down”
As far back the 20th century (the post war period)young women began to wear the “second-hand dress” and transformed the conceptinto a fashionable trend. In the 60’s and 70’s period where there was worldwidepolitical protests and human rights revelations the bohemian women and youngadults of affluent families were trying to make a statement with their clothes.
The linkbetween a so called hippy and the counterculture did mean that retro chic or what’salso known as vintage became an alternative image who couldn’t afford expensiveclothes or the rich young adults who didn’t want the expensive clothes. Theretro look enabled the young people to partake on equivalent terms in thefashion system with their colourful motley vogue.
In the current 2009 recession where jobs are being lost andmoney is disappearing, the bohemian trend is returning not only for its fashionuniqueness but for its political statement in times of hardship where poorpeople are getting poorer (or staying poor at least) and rich people aregetting richer (or not getting poor).The human rights concept comes into playwhere bohemian radical chic’s must march for their future children, for rightsto better education and equality. For the human priority on poor people whowill always be underprivileged if society leaves them in the pitiable pit ofpoverty.
Strange politics do turn up on the runways, usually in theshape of some unusual or occasionally toxic symbolic gesture: a woman with herarms bound or else wearing a cloth Abu Ghraib hood or a Hannibal Lecter maskmade from plaited hair. These images seem to arise from the designer’s view ofhow they see the world as it is today. These may be seen as statement pieces,items of clothing that don’t literally speak but scream a political poetry atthe audiences.
Fashion icons such as Vivienne Westwood can influence usradical chics out there greatly and her work can give society the confidence tosearch precedent customs and look for an alternative modern impressionablecreative plan for tomorrow.
Her work, her research, her inspirations, herspeeches, her determination in fashion is all intertwined with music, societyand the political situation. On Easter Sunday 2008, she campaigned in person at thelargest Campaign forNuclear Disarmament protest in10 years, at the AtomicWeapons Establishment, Aldermaston in Berkshire, UK. Then also in September 2005, Westwoodengaged with the British civil rights group Liberty and launched limited collection of T-shirtsand baby wear bearing the slogan “I AMNOT A TERRORIST, please don't arrest me”. Westwood stated was supportingthe campaign and defending habeas corpus. "When I was a schoolgirl, my historyteacher, Mr. Scott, began to take classes in civic affairs. The first thing heexplained to us was the fundamental rule of law embodied in habeas corpus.The hatred of arbitrary arrest by the lettres de cachet of the Frenchmonarchy caused the storming of the Bastille. We can only take democracy forgranted if we insist on our liberty," she said. The sale of the £50 T-shirtsraised funds for the organisation.
All in all the radical chic is not only afashion item of clothing but a statement to society. The radical chic isopinionated about the world’s wrong doings, and the future of younggenerations. The fashion radical chic is creative in her image, mixing the newwith the old with alternative hair styles. The radical chicis an affordable look offering a chance to scurry in second hand shops, or totake part in clothes swapping with friends and dig out a sewing machine tocreative a unique look that is your own. In times of a recession such as theone we are in now, where budgets on fashion spending may be lower for most ofus; the radical chic image is most suiting to the corrupt times we live inwhere voices need to be loud, messages need to be clear and fashion should befor everyone rich or poor.