My interest into this ideology has stemmed from influences I’ve experienced from my own background; growing up in a middle class area of a working class town, with working class family morals and values has enabled me to grow up with an open mind and a desire to see past the ignorance and discrimination that social hierarchy’s cause. Attending middle class primary and secondary schools, at the expense of my parents hard working drive to give myself and my brother the best lives they could, also meant they had to sacrifice other aspects of the middle class lifestyle, therefore although we were in a nice area with fantastic opportunities, the upkeep of materialism that me and my sibling had to adhere to in order to gain the most respectability was unreachable, therefore a constant reminder of inadequacy was present. I would like to stress that I have overall become stronger and more positive/understanding of people through these experiences, which is why I have the interest to express it in this study, however the majority of my youth was spent feeling unconfident, unwanted and not good enough from a lot of my peers because of the conditioning they have received to accept the different platforms in society. I have had everything I have ever needed, which I deeply respect now, although getting to this stage of understanding has journeyed through stages of anger, frustration, upset that I have unreasonably and regrettably taken out of my parents and this is because of societies pressure to have, want and need purposeless items to fit a current trend.
Your style can offer a lot in terms of how you want to best present yourself; the initial visual aspects of a person will always make some sort of impression on the social environment you are partaking in, no matter how significant a role it plays, due to the particular persona and attitudes that are often connoted alongside certain ‘looks’. The ability to see more from fabric that just functionality has allowed the design world to gain another form of expressing creativity, to which many are thankful for, and the development of fashion through a timeline of eras explores a range of innovation which is continuing to ever grow.
Separate to social platforming, there has always been some sort of respectable levelling involved in dress sense, consisting of formal, casual and working attire that have become renowned in offering practicality in varied situations, however the development of this, alongside the evolution of new styles that take inspiration from cultures, over time has somewhat formed a distorted, ambiguous mindset on what is acceptable and what isn’t. For example, some extremities of glamorisation causes a line between bringing forward exciting, innovative and controversial designs, and what is merely exploitation, offensive and disrespectful.
This study will be looking at the glamorisation of working class culture; successfully conveying how rising trends can often exploit other communities and environments by offering further information in the repercussions that cultural appropriation can have behind closed doors, whether positive or negative. Common knowledge and previous research can confirm that trends in fashion and creativity are, whilst ever evolving, infamously regurgitating fabrics, patterns, shapes and forms, and it is rare for a design in fashion to not involve something that has already been in rotation. This notion os not entirely negative, however when applying cultural appropriation to the discourse, the ignorance of the designers, retailers and purchasers can potentially endorse additional negative repercussions to the communities or individuals they are glamorising; this study will explore this in depth finding clarity through rigorous primary and secondary research. The main focused chapters will consist of; subcultures and their involvement, the development of trends – particularly in youths, the ways in which brands have endorsed the glamorisation for profit and the acceptance of this, the promotional aspects offered by social media and the overall ignorance of the general public that allows the conditioning of exploitation through these issues being accepted or overlooked.
The Primary research consists of a carefully devised questionnaire, which will focus on modern day experiences and opinions regarding fashion and style, for example; rises in trends, branding opinion, the perception of style and it’s importance, how seriously ones aesthetic is taken, and how it may effect social situations (approachability). Taken hopefully from an eclectic collection of people, all from varied backgrounds to get a wider perspective on the subject matters, it will enable definition as to what issues are already common knowledge, confirm some of the points that are attempted to be addressed, and will uncover new theories that will be considered in widening and supporting the study further.
The methods that will be used to support this study will be carefully considered, as primary research is essential in answering a thesis of this subject area due to the fact it is a current, relevant issue that aims to connect socially with the thoughts and opinions of the UK’s general public to discover overall and specific attitudes regarding cultural exploitation. The aim of identifying why cultural appropriation applies to class discrimination and why it is overlooked is not only a taboo topic to explore, but one that prompts a strong sense of engagement with an audience to enable real opinions and facts to support theories, therefore becoming the main source of research within this study.
Overall, this study in particular, although specific in it focus, could make room for the allowance of other creative roles and aspects to feed into it, this is due to the common occurrence of cultural appropriation that applies regarding race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality etc on global scale, as a continuing contingency in most manners of speaking, for example media publications such as tv programmes and film, music genres, artistic movements and other creative pathways that trending factors may present themselves. In order to successfully collect data that strives to gather a substantial amount of support regarding this exact subject matter, a highly considered questionnaire was planned and devised with non biased, specific questions that would not only allow further engagement form the general public in terms of their personal opinion, but also allow a clarified, targeted result in varied forms, that is supported by honest, background information to determine a sense of identity in each (mostly) anonymous answer, leaving room for comparing views depending on age, location, class and occupation.
The notion of cultural appropriation and where it sits in the world currently can often cause major clashes in society and further offend individuals or entire communities, this study aims to avoid that at all costs, so whilst some questions devised within the questionnaire may provoke a more sensitive and thought out answer, this is merely for the benefit of knowledge which will later support further research, as opposed to emulating negative responses or attitudes with insulting tones.
All questions used require a personal and considered answer that will explore specific and potentially delicate subject areas, therefore because of this, a questionnaire was confirmed to be more useful as a method of collecting data to support this thesis as opposed to a more interactive form of collection such as a study groups, interviews or observational recordings that would not target clarified points as successfully. This has allowed the answers to be much more in depth, offering interest through scope and diversity, as the option to remain anonymous, protecting a sense of personal identity, alongside the freedom of time to consider all opinions, has resulted in an eclectic collection of reactions, stretching the study to consider varying sides of an argument, and ultimately working towards answering the intended question.
In order to successfully gather the answers required to support this study, the questions prepared were structured in a way that provoked particular responses depending on the intent of enquiry, for example, most of the straight forward questions that were targeted to gather more factual feedback, consisted of a fairly substantial list of answers to be selected from, with also the option to specify more clearly if necessary/desired. Not only does this allow the participant to potentially expand on their own ideas and establish inquisition through unpredicted options, but to also allow some room for control, guiding the contributor away from any possible confusion that the question may prompt. Further along, once most major intent of results has been exhibited by the style of structure the questions have to offer, the questionnaire then develops to allow more freedom in responses, encouraging the participator to engage in depth with the query on a personal level and invite them to contribute as much or little information they desire or see fit to disclose; this is important regarding a thesis of this subject because of the acknowledgement of potential offence it could convey if some answers were limited to biased, predicted options that could stir up negativity through a narrow-minded wordplay, as the topic is a relevant and sensitive issue.