Deconstruction in Fashion

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Deconstruction was a revolutionary approach introduced by Frenchman Jacques Derrida in the study of literature. He applied his theory onto Western Metaphysics to expose its flawed nature and in an attempt to question the basic of the basic, the nuances (possibly unconscious to the author himself/herself) that contribute to the hemming and taking apart, the constructing and de-constructing within a text. J. Hillis Miller has described deconstruction this way: “Deconstruction is not a dismantling of the structure of a text, but a demonstration that it has already dismantled itself. Its apparently-solid ground is no rock, but thin air."

Martin Mcquillan contends that Deconstruction examines the way in which Western thought is structured. Jacques Derrida suggested that Western thought is structured in terms of binary oppositions, the separation of conceptual material such as Man/Woman; Black/White equally. However, these terms are not true opposites since one is always privileged over the other. An example he gives would be the concept of speech as more important than and as logically prior to writing. Another example exhibits the advantage of a masculine characteristic over feminine ones and how such binary oppositions are not the way things are but only how they are perceived in Western thought. The privileging of terms is called logo centrism. It divides the world into a binary system of oppositions and proceeds to change the weight and importance of on both sides of the world and ends up with a way of thinking which makes thoughts impossible without an appreciation of the ‘inherent’ superiority of one term over the other. WHITE WHITE

Deconstruction suggests that opposite concepts are constructions. Yes and no are words that represent opposing feelings but the words themselves are not opposites. Black and represent associations that change from culture to culture. For deconstruction to take place, the binary must be reversed, as showing that binary opposition at work is necessary. Deconstruction is a false opposition working, however, stopping it would restore the inequality and there would be no changes towards the unequal system in the first place. Therefore, it is necessary to remove the whole system of binary thinking and binary logic which is the only way the binary is said to be undone. Comme de Garcons, 2006 was a design that combined two opposing aesthetics giving both a presence but denying either totality. Both aesthetics are in play with one another.

One of the early applications of Deconstruction in the aesthetic fields began with the Deconstructivist Architecture exhibition at MoMA in 1988. Here, the law of architecture was practically turned on its head to reveal innovative never thought of buildings and structures. Alison McGill who studied how deconstruction has seeped into and is engulfing the fashion industry said that Deconstruction in fashion is somewhat like an auto-critique of the fashion system, revealing the draw and attraction of fashion such as the glamour, fantasy and exclusivity and technical aspects such as form, stitches and fabrication. Deconstruction, in a literal level, conotates the reversal of construction, thus the unfinished or destroyed look of garments. Deconstruction was first seen as a rebellion against fashion in the 80s and the acceptance and movement into the domain of fashion was deemed contradictory and deconstruction was seen as another superficial trend. The general definition of deconstruction as a practice of undoing construction would mean the liberation of garments from its function, which undoes the objective of fashion itself. McGill points out that Deconstruction questions the prescribed norms of fashion and called it the dressed down version if fashion or fashion in its...
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