Notable (and Not So Notable) Quotables

I haven’t had the time to write a proper blog post lately – spending my hours, as I’ve been, wrestling with an unruly Introduction chapter – but I did want to share these two quotes with you. The first, I love. The second, not so much.

The beloved quote comes from Jenna at Jezebel:

I guess I can now exclusively reveal that not only was I not among the bloggers asked to vote on the CFDA Awards, nobody at Jezebel even rated an invitation. But such is the epic struggle for meaning when you write for a little blog with an audience bigger than Vogue‘s.

I absolutely love the sass here. I love that Jezebel’s audience is bigger than Vogue’s (not surprising but still somehow surprising). And I love that Jenna is calling out the fashion stalwarts of the CFDA and of Vogue who didn’t invite anyone from Jezebel because – as I read it – they know Jezebel is a threat to the fashion establishment. And indeed, all smart, analytical, and feisty women are threats to the Establishment . . . and that’s the way we like it.

The other quote comes from Ce Ce Chin of the shoe label 80%20. When asked, “What trends are you ready to see retired?” Chin responds thusly:

I think it’s really chic to have no tattoos.

Chin also links tattoos and piercing to Ed Hardy shirts which only adds to my crankiness about this quote.

I’m not taking this personally. I’m really not. Yes, I have tattoos. Yes, I’ve publicly declared (on our Facebook wall**) my abhorrence for Ed Hardy shirts, hoodies, etc. (as well as Uggs, especially when worn in the summer but really all seasons). What I find irritating about this quote is Chin’s perspective (shared by far too many) that tattoos are a trend. And it is precisely this perspective that leads to the dreaded “trendy tattoo.”

I want to be clear – I don’t care if you have tattoos or not. Get them, don’t get them. Whatever. It’s Chin’s linking tattoos to Ed Hardy and her characterization of them as a trend (like Ed Hardy) that makes me cranky.

** Our Facebook wall is full of side conversations that are both informative and funny. If you haven’t joined our Facebook page, please do – also, we’d like to reach our goal of 1000 “likers”!




6 responses to “Notable (and Not So Notable) Quotables

  1. Ugh. That Chin quote is messed up. I would like to add that the original Don Ed Hardy, the actual tattoo artist, has spent a lifetime making brilliantly beautiful art and tattoos. Do I think the products that are licensed with his brand are any good? NO. But, if all that schlock will make him comfortable in retirement, I could not wish for a better future for an original maverick of the San Francisco tattoo culture.

  2. kips

    I’d rather read Jezebel than Vogue any day (and I do). But I must say, I’m often dismayed at what passes for fashion reporting in Jezebel. 90% of it consists of someone saying, in so many words, that she likes or does not like something, and there is little analysis of where fashion is coming from, what it means, how it can be better, what any standards may be. There’s little evidence of technical knowledge, little respect for what something objectively is, rather than what it subjectively is. If the writer doesn’t like something, little respect is spared for the designer or sometimes even the wearer. I don’t like Uggs, either, but there is no need to brand someone as a worthless moron just because she’s wearing them, then post 30 comments about it. Jezebel doesn’t take fashion seriously, so I’m surprised anyone there even noticed they weren’t invited to the CFDA Awards.

    That said, I think Vogue also trivializes fashion and has little of quality to say about it.

    • Kips, I’d totally read Jezebel over Vogue too! (In fact, I continue to read Jez whereas I’ve canceled my subscription to Vogue.) And I’d agree with you too that Jezebel doesn’t always provide hard-hitting analysis of fashion but to be fair, they’re a cultural and feminist blog with a fashion dimension not a fashion blog. Even so, I do think they’re more thoughtful about fashion than some of the other fashion bloggers invited to vote on the CFDA awards.

  3. Someone

    I’m going to sound a little contrary at first by saying that I do think tattoos are a “trend” – but that’s because I define “trend” differently from the way fashion tends to.

    Tattoos have become more popular than ever I think, so there can be said to be an upward trend for them – and it will end if/when people don’t want to do it so much anymore. Fashion, however, wants to control things and thus their “trends” get cancelled by fiat in favor of new “trends.”

    A lot of what fashion calls “trends” aren’t anything that occurs organically among the people (as do tattoos), they are thought up by a small group of fashion dictators who then tell us what’s in style so they can sell stuff (hint: it’s whatever they think we don’t own yet). In other words their use of the term “trend” is largely straight-up false, because it’s top-down, while the word implies that it’s a mass movement that nobody should want to be left out of for fear of being unfashionable.

    • It’s true that tattoos have entered the mainstream – apparently, white suburban moms are the fastest growing demographic (see Levy’s book, Tattoos in Modern Society)! But the type, number, and placement of tattoos, as Katy at points out, continues to differentiate the “good girl” from the “hardcore” girl from the “trashy” girl (in Katy’s words). In other words, racialized class differences among women continue to operate even as they participate, in uneven ways, in the trend of tattoos.

      I would also caution against characterizations of any cultural institution as absolutely dominant. Fashion histories, for example, are full of instances in which fashion trends (the mini-skirt, the anti-fashion movement of hippies, grunge, punk, sneaker chic, and pretty much all hip hop fashion) began from the bottom-up to be appropriated and commodified by fashion designers and retailers like Mary Quant, Yves Saint Laurent, Calvin Klein, and countless others. This isn’t to say that the fashion industry isn’t an institution of power – it absolutely is! But, power doesn’t always work in a straightforward way and it is always being resisted in sometimes subtle and sometimes more overt ways.