Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fashion observation experiment

Since reading the book Zero History by William Gibson I've been paying more attention to fashion. Previously I had totally ignored it. Now I realize that:

  • It's an important part of our culture.
  • It limits our means of self-expression severely - at certain times you can only buy certain types of clothes - or only certain colors. Especially if you don't have the money or time to get more specialized clothes.
  • It might be an interesting subject to observe and analyze - because you see it in huge amounts all around you.
Recently I've started observing fashion actively. I'm only a beginner without knowledge and without a frame of reference. So the easiest way to start was to observe outliers. Establish a subjective baseline by looking at the crowd and then record anything that is different.
Now this is my first result:

Boring baseline
Interesting outliers
  • Dark colors - black or dark blue
  • Artificial materials
  • Stuffing and isolation - balloon style
  • Informal - generic
  • Bright or light colors
  • Attention to detail - caps - shawls
  • Formal, classic or idiosyncratic
  • Too cold for this season

Further observation may yield more useful criteria. And may answer some obvious questions:

  • Relation between age, income, gender, race and fashion choice?
  • Relation beween what is worn actively and what is being sold in the shops right now?
  • Relation between temperature, humidity and wind speed and fashion choices?
  • Relation between part of the city and fashion preferences?
  • Relation between weekday and time of day and fashion preferences?
  • How to quantify  and analyze the data?
Interesting questions that I would never have thought about before reading Gibson's book.

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