Tag Archive: opinion

  1. REVIEW: On the Neville Wisdom’s Fashion Show: Where’s the context? 

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    A designer styling models for a fashion show is, at its core, a presenter, just as anyone at Yale who shares a deck of slides during class. The only difference is that in a fashion show, the models wearing the designer’s pieces do most of the presenting. There is no speaker or script. 

    Last Saturday, I attended the Neville Wisdom’s Fashion Show on Broadway. The biggest question I was left with was to what extent can a fashion show accurately represent a designer’s ideas and intentions without any explicit explanation?

    Fashion is a visual art, and there may be no complete explanation to a show’s meaning or intention that can be communicated verbally. But how is it different from paintings in a museum that are, alternatively, provided with small descriptions?

    After the show, I heard a lot of people say that they thought it was great and that they really liked all the unique designs.

     “I thought the clothes were very innovative,” said Yeji Kim ’25, a volunteer at the event who made sure the set up and overall show went smoothly. “There was an outfit with a purple jacket and pants that I thought was very innovative, like with its patterns and zippers.” 

    I completely agree with Yeji. I enjoyed the show because the styles of clothing demonstrated a fresh, unique concept, and there was a great deal of anticipation for each model that walked out with a new outfit. But these aspects were the most I got out of the entire show. If anyone were to ask me what I have learned about the designers from sitting through this fashion show, I probably would not be able to answer. 

    After the show, I went to ask Dwayne Moore, one of the designers, about the theme of his collection. “There’s no theme,” he responded. “I thought I was too vague but then I was like, ‘Let me relax.’” 

    Looking back, his words were well reflected through his pieces on the runway. His collection, under the name Duss Wayne, displayed little emphasis on accessorization and consisted of pieces in mostly dark, neutral colors. 

    Moore also seemed to have a unique take on what he considered as “neutral.” When asked what he considers to be the most versatile type of shoes, he pointed to the shoes he was wearing and replied, “Chicago Jordan 1. I think red is a neutral color.” 

    This was certainly the first time I’ve heard anyone associate the color red with the word “neutral,” but the idea was represented in his collection on the runway. The hints of dark red, maroon and purple in his pieces complemented the outfits overall and carefully presented Moore’s unique style. I slowly realized that in Moore’s application, the fact that red didn’t necessarily stand out was enough to show that it might actually serve as a neutral color.

    The collections of Dwayne Moore and Neville Wisdom were both displayed on the runway, but no clear distinction was made to indicate what item belonged to which designer. To Wisdom, who was in charge of running the fashion show, and Moore, I asked, “Do you prefer buttons or zippers?” Wisdom seemed indifferent but pointed to Moore, saying that he would have a different answer.

    “Definitely zippers for sure,” Moore said. “I don’t even know if I have a reason. It may be just complete aesthetic or function, even.” He pointed out that his pieces did, in fact, have more zippers than buttons. From this point on, I was able to realize that the leather jacket with a silver zipper, the cropped sweater with a silver zipper and silver vest with a silver zipper were probably his works. After being able to distinguish between the pieces, I was finally able to get a better understanding of each designer’s personal style and preferences.

    It was only after my conversation with the designers that I realized that there was greater meaning behind the pieces displayed. I believe this is indicative of the fact that fashion shows lack the context that may offer greater value and insight to the audience. Of course, all art is different and this may not apply to all fashion shows, or be the case for everyone, especially those who might go to a show just for the sake of seeing the clothes or watching the models walk. 

    After Neville Wisdom’s show, I have come to understand that getting the full experience of a fashion show requires more direct conversations between the designer and viewer. It may be argued that indirect communication is the purpose of visual art, but if the objective is to understand the thought processes of the designers and the deeper meaning behind each fashion piece, would a fashion show – the way they are currently run — really do the best job?

    KRISTEN KIM is a sophomore in Branford College. She can be reached at kristen.kim.kyk4@yale.edu.

  2. Is the Op-Ed Fundamentally Sexist?

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    When the Women’s Media Center released this year’s Women in U.S. Media report, few were surprised to hear that the average newspaper columnist was in fact a 60-year-old dude. The publishers surveyed included the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, and had on staff some 105 male columnists, versus just 38 female ones.

    It’s not a shocking statistic. If women are more present in the media now than they were, say, 30 years ago, it’s been roundly shown by various studies that gender equity in journalism is still a far-off dream, and not one shared by all in the newsroom. Still, 105 guys versus 38 chicks? Really?

    Of all the causes for the imbalance, ingrained societal conservatism seems the most responsible, something visible even outside newspaper columns. As Slate has reported, male sources are quoted three times as frequently as female ones in front-page stories in the New York Times; when a voice of authority is sought, the gut reaction of the average hack (whether a she or a he) is to mic up a bloke. This tendency is reflected in the types of protagonists that dominate Hollywood movies. A study by the University of Southern California examined the 500 most popular movies released between 2007 and 2012, and found that of the 4,475 speaking characters on screen, only 28.4 percent were female. 2012 was in fact the worst year they analyzed, revealing the lowest percentage of on-screen females. So it’s a certified thing: Women just don’t get the airtime and pen-time that guys do. The situation is even worse for queer writers, writers of color and writers from low-income backgrounds. Clearly, gender bias permeates both popular and intellectual culture, even if, as I suspect is often the case, that bias is unintentional.

    When it comes to female representation in the media, it’s important to pick one’s battles. Concerned though I am about the skewed Hollywood gender dynamic, I’d be a terrible filmmaker and can’t act at all, so I will leave that issue for others to sort out. But I can write, and like to do so on a fairly regular basis for print and online media outlets. My new thing, manifestly, is op-eds. Previously, I’d specialized in food and culture journalism, but this year, with my first semester at Yale underway, I thought I’d try and head in a new direction.

    The trouble is, the op-ed is a difficult beast to master. Editors look for a staunchly uncompromising viewpoint — the clue is in the name, “Opinion”, singular. You’re meant to have a stance on something, preferably controversial, and defend that stance with your teeth gritted, enduring if need be the reams of antagonistic comments in the space below your piece.

    Unfortunately, there are relatively few things that I have fixed or overtly polemical views about. For instance, as a Brit, I have a volatile position on the UK’s policy regarding the Islamic State. Sometimes I think we should bomb them; at others I question the validity of the West’s decision to get involved at all. Another example: the current Hong Kong protests. One morning, I’ll gush, “I’m so with you on this one, you go guys.” On another, I’ll find myself musing, “But y’know, the Chinese government’s not going to offer you any concessions, so I’d just call it a day.”

    This being the case, I’m not naturally the world’s best op-ed composer. But this raises the question — is it just me who finds it a difficult journalistic form to fill? Or is the op-ed itself slightly, well, sexist? At this point, the waters get choppy. Clearly, there should be a space in newspapers for people to state their opinion (singular) and explain why they are sticking to it. Readers don’t necessarily want to read a piece written by someone unconvinced as to the best course of action. Now, the last thing I want to do is say that women think like X and men like Y, and that op-eds are for Y-thinkers. Absolutely not. I wholly accept that women can be brilliant opinion writers — take the Guardian’s Barbara Ellen, or the New York Times’ Vanessa Barbara. You can read an op-ed and not know that it’s been written by a woman; female journalists frequently show themselves to be entirely capable of using print to defend one particular viewpoint, however controversial.

    But I have noticed that amongst my peer group, my female friends tend to hold much more flexible opinions on current affairs than those held by many of my male friends. The reason for that difference is incredibly complex — but it seems possibly related to the fact that we less regularly look to women as sources of factual authority. It’s not that the op-ed itself is necessarily fundamentally sexist, but rather that it favors a certain confidence of thought, that some women, including me, have been less rigorously trained to adopt. The greater flexibility of some of my girlfriends’ views doesn’t mean that their analysis of what’s going on is lacking in insight — quite the opposite. Having a more fluid approach, one that eschews black-and-white binaries, is a healthy intellectual stance. But such openness and fluidity means that the op-ed, for a thinker of that sort, can be especially tricky. It seems that few editors want an op-ed wearing its indecision on its sleeve. They don’t want writers who admit from the get-go that either a) They are somewhere in between the two (or more) sides of a debate, or b) They haven’t even decided where they stand. Or at least that’s what I think I think.

  3. Open Letter to the Opinion “Societies Offend Me”

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    Dear Mr. Scott Stern,

    We haven’t met, you and I, but I think that you and I speak the same language of writing our opinions down for the Yale Daily News. My favorite thing about writing opinions is saying what one thinks, and it seems the same with you. A true part of any morning is to feel the breeze and morning drinks, while I sit and crack open a paper to read about our daily ideas that we share among these very pages! But to whom would these writings be for, if one didn’t speak his mind? Even if that means a disagreement among close friends as us.

    This opinion is why I felt moved to take to the pages once again, to share what I believe to be the important issues. It’s this: You, in a recent one, had one about all the differences of societies — where they come from, where they are, who sits in them and what they did to make you so mad at them. I understand you’re upset. Let’s face facts: It’s hard and challenging for some people of different ideas to cope with things that so many other people cope with at the same time. So, Mr. Scott, let me help you try to understand why one might think a different position of secret societies, because if you keep being so mad about them, you might never get into one!

    Let me disclose a bit myself: I’ve gotten many envelopes on my door from all the societies: Bins, Taps, Caps, Cans, Hat, Tomb, Bazillus, Snakes, Secret One and one or two I can’t even begin to name! Each one had the writing on it, to me, of my name, in the big pens you speak of. I, for one, was glad it had both my names because that means they truly knew it. You should not have thrown yours away, Mr. Scott — you need it!

    I felt so anxious when I looked at the envelopes. Indeed, as you say, they were stuck with a sticky seal. Should I open them? If I did, I would truly know that which was inside them. Would there be words there? If there were, then I would have to read them all to know just what it was that they said. We all know that words can be destroying, humiliating, pretentious and big. Would these words be those?

    I read it, regardless of my cares, and it was just a simple thing: to meet us at a time in a place with a thing. Is that really too much for one to do? Is that really the “dramatic” task you claim it to be? I myself am asked things of this sort all the time in daily life. Everything is at a place! Everything is at times. And often, you bring a thing. You always have to be there at a time, even if it’s just grandma’s birthday, or at a friend’s house. Are you truly saying that to ask us to be there at a minute like any other is a judgment?

    But here, Mr. Scott, is what we disagree about the most. When I give and receive an AutoBio, it will be a moment to enjoy, not to hate like you! I will be there with my closest pals and buddies, the ones who just want to know me for my personality! If it were everyone in the audience, like at Yale as you suggest, then what about he who gets nervous? He who runs and screams away? Or he, even, who pees? Are you forgetting him, Mr. Scott? Isn’t this just the scary thing that you claim to hate?

    You claim that a society might make us into the sort of friends you might not want. But who are you to say what are the sort of friends you want and what you don’t want? In my opinion, each of us could be a friend if we were in a big society together. And isn’t that what society truly is? If I had a friend, he would be in the society with me, not out of it like you who hates them. We and you are all in the Yale world, so big and special. This place, where we got in for a letter too, is already a society filled with all of us. Come on and be in it, the water is great! Even though you are swimming with all of us too, you might not even know it.