Fashion and Identity

The way we see ourselves influences who we are.

Anuncio Publicitario. Eisenberg Originals. (1946) by Eisenberg & Sons, Inc.Museum of the Purpose of the Object

Fashion: A Necessity

The way we dress, and our clothing traditions, go beyond a primitive need to cover our bodies. A new need has emerged that has been met by fashion, along with the demands of consumerism, appearance, pleasure, and comfort.

Anuncio Publicitario. Paristyle Handbags Inc. (1946) by Paristyle Handbags Inc.Museum of the Purpose of the Object

The established importance of the individual or collective image based on how we dress also influences our personal identity in looking and feeling good. This goes hand in hand with beauty, and there is no doubt that each trend has marked out a different era.

Anuncio Publicitario. Jay Thorpe. (1946) by Jay Thorpe Inc.Museum of the Purpose of the Object

Fashion is a reflection of the social context in each era. It is evidence of the historical moment and time in which we are living.

Anuncio Publicitario. White Shoulders. (1946) by Evyan Perfumes Inc.Museum of the Purpose of the Object

Depending on how they are used, clothes can be combined and worn to reveal a part of our identity. It is fair to say that clothing and fashion are forms of communication that are exclusive to human beings. Through them, we convey our tastes and lifestyles, and acquire a sense of belonging to a group.

Anuncio Publicitario. (1946) by Clairol, Inc.Museum of the Purpose of the Object

From the Face...

The face is one of the most important elements of the human image today. Its social and cultural role in contemporary society is undeniable, since it is the main way in which we express ourselves.

Advertisement, Tabu Lipstick, Dana. (1946) by The House of DanaMuseum of the Purpose of the Object

A disfigured or scarred face can provoke rejection and concern. What’s more, the face is where the ageing process is most evident, which also prompts rejection in a society obsessed with youth and beauty.

Cartel publicitario. (1945/1955) by Cepillos América.Museum of the Purpose of the Object

For as long as we can remember, men and women have tried to improve their personal appearance by making use of everything that nature has to offer.

Estuche para maquillaje. (1930/1950) by Productor no identificado.Museum of the Purpose of the Object

Cosmetics, perfumed oils, dyes, face masks, hairpieces, and wigs have been commonplace throughout the ages.

Artmatic. Pestañas Postizas. (1970/1980) by Arthur Matney Co., INC.Museum of the Purpose of the Object

Today, we also have the option of more sophisticated treatments, such as Botox or risky plastic surgery.

Anuncio Publicitario. Elizabeth Arden Inc. (1927/1946) by Baron Adolph de MeyerMuseum of the Purpose of the Object

A facial expression gives us an impression of the individual, and we can judge someone’s personality based on their facial signals.

Anuncio Publicitario. Northmont Hosiery Corp. (1946) by Major Felten (ilustrador)Museum of the Purpose of the Object the Feet

The relationship between body and image, beauty and appearance, is more than just a concept or perception: it is the result of personal or collective symbolism; a human representation with which the body and beauty have been assigned a set of roles.

Medias. Kronenberg 100. (1926/1951) by Pinjas Zajdman - Fábrica de Medias KronenbergMuseum of the Purpose of the Object

Today, more often than not, we beautify ourselves in order to adhere to a dynamic between what we are and what we want to be, in an attempt to follow an aesthetic norm in fashion.

Zapatos de tacón. (1940/1960) by Paulette Queen S.A.Museum of the Purpose of the Object

We use a number of different methods and processes to do that, from cosmetic products and makeup to cosmetic surgery, wardrobe items, accessories, fashion trends, etc.

Medias. Christian Dior. (1947/1957) by Christian DiorMuseum of the Purpose of the Object

Our desire and consumerism have spawned a product for every part of the body; for every crease; for day or night; and for those flaws that are a constant reminder of our imperfection and cause us to live in discontent.

Dior's New Look Underwear of 1948Museum of the Purpose of the Object

These days, we classify and aspire to every part of the body differently. Social norms and constant bombardment from the media urge us to want a body that is different from our own.

Publicación. Revista Social No. 139. (1948) by Editorial MercurioMuseum of the Purpose of the Object

The Beauty Myth

Every era has had different paradigms of beauty, which are usually personified by public figures who have become objects of desire. The current image, both for men and women, has been defined by representations in the media.

Brassieres (1950/1959) by Exquisite Form.Museum of the Purpose of the Object

Today, we aspire to look like the people we see in magazines, in movies, or on the television.

Lady Clairol Whipped Creme Hair Lightener Commercial 1957Museum of the Purpose of the Object

Our body and our needs have been shaped according to what the images promoted by the media.

Cuadro Selector de Matices. Miss Clairol. (1956) by Clairol Inc.Museum of the Purpose of the Object

Scrutiny of the body relates not only to our health, but to feeling good: our happiness and personal fulfillment are increasingly linked to the degree to which our bodies meet contemporary standards of health and beauty.

Anuncio publicitario. Van Raalte. (1946) by The Van Raalte CompanyMuseum of the Purpose of the Object

The challenge we now face is to rethink this ideal, and assess how the standard has changed and been influenced by a consumer market that offers everything from the perfect lip color to the cream of eternal youth.

Credits: Story

Equipo del MODO
Antonio Soto, Arely Chong, Azael Lara, Carlos González, Edmundo Vargas, Javier Ávalos, Jonathan Torres, Mariana Huerta de la Sota, Mariana Pérez, Martín Cruz, Natalia Cheng, Paulina Newman, Piedad Romero, Rosario Luna, Zereh Gutiérrez.

Adaptado por Antonio Soto a partir de la exposición "Diálogo con el Espejo" curada por Ana Elena Mallet presentada en el MODO en 2014.

Museo del Objeto del Objeto © 2016

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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