The development of art, fashion and design is susceptible to considerable changes in the course of time. The emergence of new styles and movements is practically inevitable and this trend accompanies art, fashion and design throughout epochs. On the other hand, it is necessary to remember about the existence of symbols which persist through different epoch and remain relevant always, acquiring certain implicit meaning. In such a way, the development of art, fashion and design is affected by two controversial trends: the trend to changes and the trend to preservation symbols which seem to be eternal. In such a situation, it is very important to understand the basic trends in the development of art, fashion and design in order to understand the significance of changes and new movements as well as their impact on traditional symbols and aesthetic value of art, fashion and design.
At first glance, the devotedness of people to traditional values and symbols may be revealed in quite unexpected areas. For instance, the national cuisine, which naturally can be viewed as a form of art, can reveal the fact that certain dishes and products are associated uniquely with specific cultures to the extent that they almost become national symbols, indistinguishable from the national image. In this respect, it is possible to refer to articles “Steak and Chips” and “Wine and Milk” by R. Barthes, in which the author reveals the symbolic, almost sacred significance of certain dishes and products for the French. To put it more precisely, the author views such products as wine, milk, chips and steak not as ordinary products, but rather as symbols, which are deep-rooted in the French national cuisine and French culture. In fact, Barthes stands on the ground that these products can define the national character and the life of the French is practically unimaginable without steak and chips, for instance, which virtually constitute an essential part of their individuality to the extent that Barthes views them as being “into the blood of man” . Moreover, the author argues that ordinary products, such as wine, are very important for the sociability of an individual, which makes him a part of the community, namely a part of the French people that can be traced through the very technique of drinking wine: “knowing how to drink is a national technique which serves to qualify the Frenchman” . In such a way, wine becomes a product closely associated with France and indistinguishable from the national character.
At the same time, such a view on the impact of ordinary things on culture and individual’s cultural identity can be found in works of other specialists. For instance, Davis, in his article “Blue Jeans” reveals the symbolism of jeans for American culture and American cultural identity. In fact, he argues that blue jeans became a symbol of America and whenever people think of blue jeans they naturally associate them with Americans and those men who actually conquered the Wild West. At any rate, jeans were “first fashioned in the mid-nineteenth century American West by Morris Levis Strauss . At the same time, Davis goes further than Barthes in his research of implicit meaning and symbolism of blue jeans. He does not simply state that blue jeans have some aesthetic value as a sample of traditional American fashion which became recognizable worldwide and is renowned in many countries of the world. In fact, Davis lays emphasis on the fact that blue jeans could have brought in different shades of meaning in regard to those who wear them at different epoch without losing their cultural significance and symbolism. What is meant here is the fact that originally blue jeans had strong “associations with working men, hard physical labor” , but in the course of time by the late 20th century they became casual wear, which did not reflect the social position of an individual, but was rather a kind of national clothes associated with traditional American clothes.
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Barnard, M. 1996. “Fashion, Clothing and Meaning.” In Fashion as Communication. London: Routledge, p. 69-95.
Barthes, R. 1972. “Wine and Milk.” In Mythologies, p.58-61.