McCarty 1 Morgan McCarty Dr. John Murphy English 123-05 May 30, 2012 Fashion and The Concept of Work: An Exploration It is fact. The world progresses through the efforts of its inhabitants. This concept establishes work as an element of value. It is a value that measures and defines an individual's worth in a contemporary economy. The abilities to perform a certain job requires a specific skill set or character type. This establishes the ideal that “you are what you do.” In today's society, the value of work is compared between two types of labor: The efforts brought on by mental cognition, and work characterized by the utilization of physical craft. There is debate questioning the worth of one type of labor above the other, though the answer develops within the idiosyncrasies of a society. In regard to today's society, specifically that of the western tradition, jobs that entail a specific knowledge basis are put under a higher regard than that of skilled manual labor. Is this the path to better way of life, or just a comfortable one? In my own explorative journey through this topic, I hope to gain insight and enlightenment into my own career decisions and struggles between the benefits of craft and my curious attraction to cognitive work. In order to do this I must begin with an explanation of my unconventional upbringing. I am the middle child of a family of six children. If there is any common trait among middle children, it is their constant feeling of neglect, especially in a family of eight. This has lead me to be a person of selfdependence. My parents both followed medical paths, my mom being a labor and delivery nurse, and my father being a graduate of Princeton and having a successful career as an Oncologist. You would
McCarty 2 expect a child of these means to follow in the same path of academia, but I have always been the child destined to follow a path of creative means. On numerous accounts my mother would jokingly remark “Morgan, well, she has a rich inner life.” Growing up, many creative outlets have been attempted: Violin lessons, piano lessons, ballet and contemporary dance, and even basket weaving. Finally, in high school, I discovered a new creative release: Fashion. The fashion world is a worldwide collaboration of numerous participants trying to create a sense of the new, the now, the 'it.' It serves to translate what is yet to come, be a mirror for the presentday, and a redefinition of times once lived The dynamic and fast paced industry is heralded by one distinct group: the designer. In the most basic sense, the designers job is to conceptualize and create new and cutting-edge fashion. Whether for a specific client, or the mass fashion lovers of the world, designers must utilize multiple combinations of materials, colors, patterns, and styles to create an aesthetically pleasing and functional collection to present every season. It begins with a concept, like any other art form, derived from anywhere the designer finds inspiration. After a process of researching, sketching, patterning, constructing, and overall lack of sleep, the concept makes its way down a runway on a body of a discouragingly thin, but leggy model. In beginnings of a laborer’s society, happiness and success in the work field lay within the motives of survival. In the ideals of self reliance, happiness and success is obtained through investing ourselves in work that gives us a truer perspective on reality. With that being said, fashion is not part of the world of “reality.” Fashion is fantasy. In this fantasy world, there are fantasy people and fantasy price tags. It's about aspiration. It is about the dream, the illusion of beauty and the construction of image in a fictitious world. If, in order to be happy and successful with one's work, a true perspective of reality is required, then how does an industry that is based on creating fantasy achieve this? It is through the redefinition of reality that the fashion world gains its...
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