The Written Garment: Fashion and Fiction
Communication in life happens through various means and methods that convey different meaning to different people. Communication it is asserted can be either verbal or non-verbal. Language is the medium through which various ideas and messages are conveyed in the process of communication. In the field of arts and architecture, communication happens in a different way that in most cases does not convey a message or idea directly as with the other cases in most situations. In many occasions, it requires an in depth analysis that has been termed by others as the ‘‘third eye’’ that can enable one grasp the correct message as it ought to be. The field of art, in general, uses a different language that is silent but of great ideas that can speak more than the written or spoken using the normal language. Language has contributed greatly in the formation of culture, and many people from different parts of the world have their own unique culture that is expressed partly through language amongst other means of communication. The field of arts is broad that touches on many unique issues each displaying a different language and conveying varied messages. However, this paper explores the language of clothes and bodily adornments using examples drawn from the culture of film and media industries.
The language of clothes has played a great part for actors, presenters, exhibitors, and business men among many other professionals in conveying messages that have and influence and impact to the main issue being addressed, and, therefore, has determined whether one realizes the intended goals and objectives (Mcneil, Karaminas & Cole 2009). Hence, language is critical that facilitates realization of intended ambition and purpose, especially language of clothes. For instance, many interviews for jobs that have a lot of communication and public appearance such as media presentations and news anchoring, the turnout and presentation in terms of appearance and clothing in many cases contribute greatly to determine a successful candidate. Many scholars in communication and related fields have argued that clothing and appearance contribute greatly to the success of such individuals not only during the interviews stages, but also during their career times.
In the film industry and acting careers, many directors and producers in such fields have a department and section that is in charge of clothing and dressing the actors so that the intended message can be laid through the language of clothes. The role that one has or plays in such productions determines the clothing that one wears. This is because they understand the language of clothing in sending intended messages and how it can shape ones career.
Historically, many communities across the world have been identified through their clothing and body adornments. For many it has shaped and determined their cultures and identity through clothing and body adornments such as tattoos, piercing, painting and branding (Sheridan 2010). It is also noted that many cultures had different types of clothes, which were worn in commemorating an important event, and that conveyed different messages to the community and the rest of the world. For instance, many ancient cultures and people had clothing worn during war times, peace times and even when expecting or conducting a certain event such as circumcision. Therefore, such clothes displayed and conveyed different messages in clothing language. This action is also experienced in the contemporary times, where certain clothes are worn to commemorate certain events and times to mark either present events or past events.
Through clothing language, one can be able to tell the religion and believes of an individual or group. Some religious groups have a set way of dressing and clothing, and this has enabled people easily identify them. It is possible to distinguish for instance a Buddhist from a Muslim or a Christian only by looking at their clothing and dress code, and the different sects that exist between the mentioned religious groups. Different professions can also be spotted through the clothing that is related to them as it noted in Kortsch (2009) article titled Dress culture in late Victorian women's fiction literacy, textiles, and activism. It is easier for one to note nursing professionals, pilots, captains among other only by having a look of clothing that one is wearing. Therefore in this case, clothing language can tell what one does as a profession.
Body adornments have complemented the clothing language in many of the occasions. From having tattoos, ear and nose piercing, branding, and painting among others historically to the present times carry various and different meanings. Tattoos for instance convey different meanings and messages, and it has been observed in many groups both legal and illegal such as gangs have used tattoos to convey messages and subscription to a group. In some occasions, law enforcement agencies have relied on certain tattoos amongst other body marks to track people for instance in certain gangs. Gangs have also used such adornments to determine their rival groups, and hence the issue has worked to the advantage and at the same time to the disadvantage of groups.
Language of clothes and body adornments in film
Different films are produced to tell a certain story or event that conveys different themes and messages. Depending on the theme or intended message that has to be brought out in the film, clothing for the actors and players in many occasions will help bring out the idea and message for the film to be successful and respected. In a situation where the film depicts different social classes in the society, clothing for those who act as the wealthy and rich has to accompany and reflect the same message. In this context, therefore, in many situations those acting and playing such a role in a film will turn out in costly attires that in many cases are worn by the rich and wealthy in society. By so doing, fashion reinforces the ideology, message and believes that directors and producers of such films would want displayed (Scott, 2004). This it is noted helps injecting the motive and vision of such films that make it a success in the industry. In the event that the theme and message in a film was to display poverty and suffering, those actors and players who are given such roles in many occasions are dressed in a manner that will try and reinforce the message that the film directors intends to display. In this case, such actors in many instances would dress in clothes that would complement the message that they intend to show. Clothing can send a message to viewers in films without any word written or spoken. This is done through language of the clothes.
Body adornments have also reinforced themes and messages in films. Depending on the intention and message to be displayed, many film actors and players have been compelled to make certain body marks temporarily or even, in some cases, permanent marks to display and reinforce the intended message that can make the film ranked well (Hobson 2010). Depending on the theme to be displayed in a film, it would determine the body marking that is made by actors. In situations where a message of a bad guy or dangerous person is to be displayed, the body markings can convey such a message in many films. Markings of creatures that can send the message of a dangerous person and the place, where such markings are made, will help the viewer read more and understand the film better. Therefore, language of clothing and body adornments can help make a film successful or not. Clothing language and body reinforces messages and themes in films that in the end contribute greatly to a film being ranked as successful or not. However, it is cautioned out that in choosing clothing and body adornment for actors in films, a lot of caution and care should be observed, and expert’s advice is recommended. In a case where clothing and body adornments do not support and reinforce the intended messages and themes, it might turn out the potential and opportunities that a film could have experienced in terms of success. A good and interesting film with potential to succeed in the industry depicting an interesting story might fail to do so and realize the full potential, especially if wrong clothing and body adornments are used in such films. Depending on the theme and message to be conveyed to tell a story as it is intended in a film, right attire and clothing that reinforces intended messages through language of clothes and adornment has to be embraced.
Language of clothes and body adornment in media
Media profession in general has been impacted to a great extent by the subject of clothing language. Media industry has transformed lives in many ways through communication to the masses by the messages that they convey through their medium. However, it is imperative to note that such success has not come easy especially in passing messages that in many cases is done through verbal and non-verbal communication. Media personnel especially those in the television sectors are affected more by clothing language than others. Because they are watched by millions of viewers and reaching many more through their forums, their messages are determined in one way or the other by their clothing among other non- verbal communication measures (Demello 2007). News anchors and presenters in executing their job in many instances turn out well dressed, and this, in many situations, is an indication of professionalism that reinforces the seriousness of the messages that they deliver to their client. It enables them to have an audience believe and trust in the information and messages that they deliver to their viewers. In incidence where such media personalities would turn up in clothing that would not show the element of professionalism, the messages that they would try to convene to their viewers would not get the intended results because the viewers would not take them seriously. Therefore, clothing language in the media profession has a high impact not only in the current times, but also in the future. On the other hand, body adornment in media industry has been limited because it has little to offer and support the messages that are passed through such forums.
Many have argued that presenters, who have many body adornments such as tattoos and piercing among others would divert the viewer’s attention from concentrating on the intended message and ideology. Media industry is noted to be among the most competitive in many parts of the world, and they have taken the issues of clothing language seriously with a lot of emphasis that has shaped their industry. Mcneil, Karaminas and Cole (2009) in their piece Fashion in fiction: text and clothing in literature, film, and television noted that, in the contemporary times where many media industries have had a target to meet the demands of such groups, we have witnessed a change and shift in the way dressing and presentations are done. For instance in addressing people such as youths and teens from modern towns and cities who are big followers of modern life, presenters have turned out in attires that conform to what they subscribe to and modern lives that are influenced mostly by celebrities. In such a case, such clothing and attire by such presenters send the viewer’s message that reinstates their confidence and union with their presenters. In such a situation, the clothing tells and depicts language that is understood by the intended viewers making the goals and objectives of the initial intentions realized.
Clothing language and adornment of the body as it is stated in the above presentations has proved to work in different environments in relaying and conveying a certain message. This has to be done with a lot of caution and care that has to be done tactically in order to realize intended goals. Whether in artistic features, films and media it has to be used and applied with great concerns so as to convey the intended communication. Many features of arts and architecture have displayed and communicated messages in a non- verbal way that can be digested through a careful interpretation of the language and information being displayed (Kortsch 2009).
In conclusion, clothing language and body adornment has managed people to have an interpretation and understanding of scenarios and issues in varied contexts. From the ancient times to the present, clothing language and body adornment has helped to send and receive messages that carry meanings as well as reinforcing other messages and communication. From revealing and determining people’s professions to identification of people and their cultures, that occurs in many forms in different contexts that include films, fiction and media industry too. Directors and producers of films choose clothing and body adornments carefully, and that helps them send and reinforce the intended messages and themes that can contribute to the film being successful or otherwise. This is done with a lot of care and caution bearing in mind that wrong messages may be displayed if not done correctly. Media industry has also been shaped a lot by clothing language that has proved to be very effective if used strategically. In using the said technique and style, caution and care has to be taken as stated earlier for realization of a successful result. It would be interesting to note the meaning and interpretation that other people have given to body adornment and clothing language at large in relation to art and architecture. Publications about other people interpretations need to be shared to expand the knowledge and facilitate understanding and different interpretations.
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