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Historical Accuracy, Costumes, and the Oscars

In this day and age, historical accuracy is more important than ever. At least, to some people. When "Little Women" won the Oscar for Best Costume Design in 2019, a few people were unimpressed, given the inaccuracies of the costume design compared to what people would have worn at the time.
This article would look at various films in Oscar history that won or were nominated for Best Costume Design with some modifications made to period clothing that raised a few eyebrows. These could be to send a powerful message (see Emma Watson’s corset-less dresses in "Beauty and the Beast") or to make a fashion statement (Elizabeth Taylor’s wardrobe in "Cleopatra"). The films can implement changes for the better or for worse, so long as they are slightly different from the outfits they’re based off.
Some sources that the author might want to look at are Bernadette Banner and Karolina Zebrowska, YouTubers who not only know their fashion history, but also try out fashion items, critique films, and debunk myths. Of course, other sources besides YouTube can be used.

  • Another source to consider is the TV series, Outlander, which prizes itself on historically accurate costume (there are many resources about this online and YouTube with interviews from cast members who comment on how their costume impacted their abilities) – telltaletalovic 3 years ago

Is Fashion an Art Form?

The simplest definition of ‘art’ is "the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form." Given this definition, could fashion be labelled an art form? We dismiss clothing as an everyday aspect of life, but it may actually be inherently artistic.
An article on this topic could look at designers, both big and small. Look at the creative process and discuss how clothing is designed. Think of what needs to be considered, colour, shape, material. These are also considered in other art forms, like sculptures or paintings.
The article could also look to how people choose to dress. Is this, in and of itself, a kind of art? Is it a type of artistic expression?
Painters or photographers create websites and Instagram pages to show off their creations. People in fashion also do the same. This is a niche you could explore when highlighting parallels between fashion and other art forms.
The fast fashion industry is often criticised for ripping off other brands or designers. This might suggest a personal aspect to the creation of fashion. Just like you would not copy someone else’s painting for profit, should designers not be copying other people’s fashion designs?
Finally, as with art, in the fashion industry there is a hierarchy of what is considered ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Like art, fashion is constantly subjectively judged. This is another parallel which can be explored.
Ultimately an article on this topic should draw a conclusion, is fashion an art form or is it not? It should provide evidence throughout to support which conclusion is drawn. There are a plethora of angles this topic could explore.

  • As a source for whoever writes this topic, the book "Beauty: A Short Introduction" by Roger Scruton is an amazing source for defining beauty and looking at the different forms of art in a philosophical/historical context to encourage questions like these. – Abie Dee 4 years ago
  • I find this topic interesting. I think it can be, especially if you connect it with other art forms, like cinema. Look at Edith Head's work, or Adrian's with the film stars of the 1930s and 1940s. Givenchy with Audrey Hepburn in the 1950s. I would also like to hear more about the journey made from the sketch to the finished product, worn by someone. I also think that fast fashion is something terrible for our lives and our planet and should not be considered art, even in copy form. – danivilu 4 years ago

Is shelter-in-place helping to define "dress for yourself"

During these uncertain times, it seems that the things we do for ourselves– without any exterior motivations– are becoming clearer. The phrase "dress for yourself" has gained a lot of momentum amongst those who actively appreciate fashion as well as those who do not give it much thought. Without the complicating factors of social validation (whether that is conformity or aiming to stand out), this article will analyze whether or not quarantine is allowing people to truly dress for themselves.

  • Hm, I think it would be interesting to analyze how fashion is/will be impacted by quarantine. There are many on social media who rely on taking pictures in their backyard to be okay, while others have given up entirely and stay in pajamas. In the sense of fashion, which is ever-changing, what would quarantine mean for style and what do you make of these effects on the public? – Scharina 4 years ago
  • I think this could be an interesting topic if it considered how quarantine will impact fashion afterwords. I only say this because many of us are not really dressing at all(pajamas). – BriLeigh 4 years ago
  • I don't think it's quite as simple as "not going out" leading to a lack of concern about peer pressure and social norms. The conventional wisdom, as I understand it, is that people should strive to maintain as many aspects of their "normal" routine as possible to maintain a sense of purpose and fulfillment--and this includes dress. One angle to explore, then, would be whether the clothes that people choose to wear at this time reflect their degree of coping. – Debs 4 years ago
  • Pyjamas=Prison Chic – Amyus 4 years ago
  • I recently completed a uni course on the body in society and think this topic would benefit from some research into social science theories of aesthetic embodiment and Cartesian dualism. I personally rely on clothing to express myself and during quarantine have both seen how little it actually matters what I wear, and how important it is to me to construct the perfect outfit for my mood, errand, environment, etc. I was also wondering about the cosmetics industry. If people aren't going out, are they buying less makeup or wearing less makeup? Are they realising the ways makeup oppresses them in their daily life? I find makeup ads so funny now because they act as if "the right foundation can help a woman tackle the world", but now that we're working from home, what use does it have? What use did it ever have? – Tylah Jackowski 4 years ago

The power of fashion in social progress

While the fashion industry has been historically known for promoting unhealthy beauty standards and gender norms, it is shifting towards a more diverse representation which breaks down gender norms. The article would analyze the shifts in fashion media and trends overtime and how it pertains to gender norms, body image and more. Additionally, it will detail the areas in which the industry still lacks.

  • Interesting topic! I think narrowing down this broad idea to a country would be helpful. There are many discussions that can stem from beauty standards, body image and fashion, (such as a shift from thinness and starvation to plastic surgery for wider hips/backside). Gender norms within itself can be a topic of its own as it changes throughout time (specially the last few decades). This topic could be root to many ideas! – Scharina 4 years ago
  • This is a really interesting topic since fashion has been a core element of art and design since time immemorial, however I think this is too broad a topic to take on in one essay, as I wrote a history of fashion myself and it’s just too complex not to focus on a certain time period. Your material will be richer and more detailed, and if you enjoy the research then by all means start a series, fashion art is amazing – chloedubisch 4 years ago