Essay on Dress and Fashion

Essay on Dress and Fashion

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Dress and fashion can be used not only to symbolize culture, religion or spirituality, but it can also be used as a tool of oppression as well as liberation. For many people, dress is an expression of personality, faith, choice and identity. It can also deeply affect one’s spiritual self and help connect the wearer to her inward self. Marco Pallis describes the significance and meaningfulness between dress and spiritual identity and how, according to him, clothing ranks among the most important but least analyzed sites of colonization. He is particularly interested analysing clothing as a component of spirituality. He writes that ‘of the many things a person puts to use in the pursuit of her earthly vocation there are none, perhaps, which are so intimately bound up with her whole personality as the clothes she wears (Pallis, p.9). The first thing that Pallis notes is how clothing greatly modifies the appearance of a person and even his/her facial
Ramzi Taleb
expressions and thoughts. The impression that clothing makes on the wearer is marked in that it affects how one feels, thinks, speaks and interacts with others. For Pallis, one’s choice of clothing, within the actual limits of the resources that are available to her, is indicative of three things. It demonstrates what she views as compatible with a normal human state and normal human dignity. It also shows how she likes herself to see and be seen and what type of attributes she prefers to exhibit. He also notes that the person’s choice of clothing will be affected by the view that she wants her neighbours to create of her. This social consideration and the previous aspect of self respect are very closely bound up and continually intersect (p.12). For Pallis, all of the pol...


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...d to believe that everything their parents taught them was wrong and their worldviews invalid. Another way that cultural inferiority was engrained in the children was through the dress code. Children had their braids cut and were provided with new, non-Aboriginal clothing. The school officials took before-and-after pictures, and these pictures were used as proof of their success in the cultural assimilation of the Aboriginals. We can see that the elimination of Indigenous clothing was seen as a clear affirmation of the success of colonization, which is in its essence, the eradication of one culture by another. Clothing played an important role in the ways in which Indigenous peoples were viewed, as traditional Indigenous clothing was a visual, symbolic marker of their spirituality and culture, the very thing the colonizers wanted to get rid of (Jaine, 1993, p.41).

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