Discussion: Western Clothing

Why is Western-style clothing the most pervasive style worldwide? Discuss.

“Are they dressing like us because they want to be like us? Because after all this is about much more than just clothes. It’s about a whole popular culture that extends through music and movies and that culture carries with it a subtle message.” — Niall Ferguson

Book Excerpt: Turning Western

What are the killer apps?

  1. There are many reasons. One is the Western colonial conquest described on this site. The look of the rulers carried their mystique and power. Today Western goods and fashion are even more closely coupled with desire through advertising aka the promise of sex.

  2. I guess beyond the conqueror syndrome can be added the idea of change and creativity which grew from all that competitive spirit and disconnection from religion. The fashion industry grew out of western creativity, competitiveness and capitalist spirit.

  3. Perhaps it is simply a by-product of industrialization. Western clothing is inexpensive to make, the cloth is not hand-woven requiring hours of manual labor, easy to care for…has universal appeal for very practical reasons.

  4. It seems that consumerism could truly be a “killer” app as it may lead to environmental destruction.

  5. Notice how Fergie explains the rise of King Cotton in the US without using the word “slavery?”

  6. It is because their women have the most say in consumer descisions/ethics. Womens fashion enables the sexual flirtation of the promiss of ensuing sexual intamacy, while laws maintain that the stoic virtue of not granting that intimate privelage to just anyone is completely their descision. Flirtation is an empowering pratice that both creates a comodity of sexual currency and establishes a consumerist “morality” in terms of what it will pay to agrandize themselves, meanwhile sending market signals of what is valuable. It turns out that sexiness is. This practice also has the physcological side affect of a dramatic conquest where a weak twigy tween (paris) can determine what consumer goods the hard working people of China will create, not to mention rush of experiencing the hypercapitalist/agro atmosphere stirred up by a provacatively dressed young female.

  7. Niall…I was around in 1968 and guess what? It WAS music and clothing that helped take down communism…and it was the average person who wouldn’t take it anymore that broke down the Wall…The governments didn’t do it…
    By the way, progressives in 1968 were supporting Martin L King and the Poor People’s Crusade, civil rights, Medicare, Social Security, Equal justice under Law.
    We supported our brothers and sisters in Prague and Gdansk in their quest for freedom…
    We were not looking for “free love”…it came to us naturally…

    • So call Johnnie-and others-half right is half wrong. Actually, you were silent The biggest leftist protests of all time in Europe were over Pershing missle deployment by Reagan. It was still the right move-out spend the bastards call them for what they were an “evil empire.” Yet,you were shocked and appalled by his words at the time. I bet you were weating a Che t-shirt because it was cool or supported others who did at least. Never mind he was a thug who personally stood 200 people against the wall and had them shot. Did you know that 30 people were arrested most recently in Cuba for having a single word on a plastic wristband-Cambio-”Change.” Left-right dictorship always looks and sounds the same-the left has no shame-”our side right or wrong.” Are there protests against closing Guantamo bay for terrorists now? Of course not! Silence because ‘our guy’ is in the white house. You protested in favor of left wing dictarships or were silent and protested against only the right-wing ones. You were totally against Reagan and would not give him credit for the time of day or the Pope who did much to bring the communists regime who enslaved a billion people along with blue jeans, the video tape player-the fax machine-and yes, radio free europe which Reagan greatly enhanced-private money erected a statute to Reagan in Poland-you’d probably protest a statue to him in the U.S.

  8. There was something deeper going on than just the clothing (and other stuff). Both the “Eastern” and “Western” blocs had their propaganda. In the West, we called it “advertising”, but the father of modern advertising and public relations, Edward Bernays, didn’t pretend that it was anything other than propaganda. The big difference between the propaganda that the peoples on each side saw and heard was that in the Soviet bloc, the propaganda was all overbearing, shrill slogans, while in the Western bloc, the propaganda was about real products that performed approximately the way they were depicted. Lies vs. truth. Not only was the truth of Western propaganda something that people in the Soviet bloc could verify for themselves by examining Western goods, they could also make a statement of defiance against the lies of Soviet-style propaganda by acquiring and sporting these goods themselves. That is what I believe was really going on then.

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