14 October 2009

A Translation of Identity

I have always been intrigued by the construction of visual identity within fashion. The visual identity of a brand is arguably the first contact that we, as consumers, have with a label. Visual identity is used as a means of easily conveying the complexities of what a brand stands for, from the design concept to the lifestyle it chooses to relate.

Yet is not within the industry for a designer to truly build any one visual identity. Indeed there are the inevitable and welcomed changes and developments of individual artistic creativity as the seasons pass. General style, in some form or another, is however possibly one of the few constants for both designer or label. Indeed the very fact that one can say that a piece looks "very McQueen" or "Yohji-esque", for example, stands in testament to this.

The seasonally-enforced artistic development of the fashion designer means that visual identities across the fashion landscape are ever changing. Within the world of clothing brands however, those removed from the cycle of fashions displayed within the context of the catwalk show, the creation of an easily recognisable and coherent visual identity becomes highly important. In order to gain favour with the increasingly fickle tastes and short-lived memories of the consumer, the creation of a constant, albeit with contemporary stylistic developments, becomes necessary.

FUDGE Magazine
November 2009
Photography by Ishida Syohei
Styling by Taniguchi Shinyta

What I find so interesting about this Bedwin editorial in the November 2009 issue of FUDGE Magazine is the presentation of the brand's visual identity through the piece entitled 'Traveling of Stranger'. As a Japanese brand, Bedwin's aesthetic and style is oddly most easily classified as being American. Indeed I have always been intrigued by the fact that the Japanese appear in my uninvolved eyes (meaning that I am as a fashion observer neither from Japan or America), to do traditional American style better than the Americans. I suppose that living outside of the US, the Japanese vision appeals to me for it is a highly idealised translation of the traditional style.

I have always believed that removing a fashion from its context and trying to apply it directly into another context quickly risks the danger of being misconstrued as costume. Here however this is clearly not the case. For it is the adaptation and translation of the style which allows it to remain relevant and contextually appropriate. The styling of the shoot alludes to the context of the inspiration, and yet the garments stand in their own right as being appropriately (I hesitate to use that word) fashion and not costume.

Depicting the idealised notion of the 'quintessentially American' road-trip, this editorial manages to portray a very romantic and almost nostalgic image. It is Bedwin's adaptation of the Japanese adaptation of what was already an idealised adaption of the traditional American style. This complex construction of identity and image for me is therefore highly fascinating, not purely from the perspective of brand identity, but also in terms of the international relationship within fashion. I have always been in awe of how style and inspiration within fashion can so quickly and seamlessly cross international and social barriers. It is not necessarily a democratisation, but more the creation of another type of audience to appreciate another type of interpretation of a style.

Besides, the clothing is beautiful to boot!

My sincerest apologies to you all for the delay in replying to comments and emails, as well as the rather sporadic postings as of late. To be honest I am still adjusting to the routine of being back at University, although I am trying hard to quickly find that welcome balance. Please do bear with me.

Kthnxbaiiii!


Currently playing: The Last Waltz - OldBoy OST

xxxx

41 comments:

  1. I like the last one best,

    because of the orange of the dust and the blue of the sky and the lostness of the man.

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  2. i noticed something, did you cut your hair? :)
    sweet!

    xx

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  3. Men should wear red more. I've decided since reading this.

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  4. and in the last one his T-shirt says SING ME WHEN I'M LONLEY

    which I think is sort of wonderful and sad

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  5. Huh. I suppose an outside culture could capture the elements of American style/culture from a more idealized - or even pure - standpoint. And I have to agree that these Bedwin looks are pretty durned American ... though the styling and photo settings certainly contribute to that.

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  6. Haha thanks! My day has been very good. I got a interview tomorrow so I hope I'll get the job! I want it so much!

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  7. Hey there. These are all amazing. Not sure which is my favorite though. I hope you are doing well. Take care. Cheers!

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  8. a foreign designer was dead on capturing the american spirit!

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  9. Amazing photos!
    Have a great evening, my dear!


    X♥X♥

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  10. Thank you, yes adjusting to our new place. All the colors are changing, it's quite different from Miami. How is your day going? I hope well. =)

    I love this editorial: images 2, 3 and 5 mostly!


    x

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  11. I would never have guessed this is a japanese brand, GOSH. Great post dear. Hope you're having a wonderful day!

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  12. I would never have guessed this is a japanese brand, GOSH. Great post dear. Hope you're having a wonderful day!

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  13. such a great editorial, thank you so much for inspiring me this evening!

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  14. I just love the third photo, his style is something that I would wear. THe editorial is beautiful, I love men's fashion and wish there was more of it! And his hair is what mine inspires to be.

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  15. that editorial is really greate!
    kisses

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  16. the styling and photography is in perfect sync!
    love xx
    Marian

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  17. Love the jacket in that second picture, and the outfits in the two last shots. In a black and white mood maybe?

    Being from America I still agree with you. The Japanese have captured more of what American fashion should be than we have been able to do lately.

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  18. I love the whimsical quality of it!

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  19. Beautifully written, and I like the idea of a complex construction of identity, hope University isn't being too much of a pain, I know the feeling =.]

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  20. "In order to gain favour with the increasingly fickle tastes and short-lived memories of the consumer, the creation of a constant, albeit with contemporary stylistic developments, becomes necessary." This is so true and very well said. Unfortunately many brands try going the other direction and attempt to be everything to everyone and jump onto every trend, often this results in failure and huge financial downfalls due to a lack of identity and therefore a lack of customer loyalty.

    My opinion, as an American who originally lived in the mid-west, is the first photo in the spread could not look less American to me. You would never see such a look or vibe on a cross country road trip, unless you were driving from Soho to the East Village.

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  21. I love the picture where he is laying in bed with his head turned. Too cute. The clothes are fabulous too doll. :) Hope you have a great day. :)

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  22. I really love love the one taken laying in bed !!!

    Really loving his hat and his pose ! Adorable <3

    Have an awesome day ahead and in school tooooo :)

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  23. It seems like I'm the only one that doesn't like rain hihi.. my friends like it, I can't stand it.. ^^
    Cool pictures !!

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  24. some people have the presences of making it fashionable..of course..while some of us..well, just get funny looks. Like wearing that tie-dyed hospital gown as a jacket.

    Thanks for the note..too.

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  25. aww... university ay?.. congratulations again!! :o)
    these r really hot shots!!

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  26. oh man i wish i had a boyfriend! i'll dress him up haha I'm really into all these pictures =]
    have a great day!

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  27. fudge mag? i never heard of it, must check it!

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  28. What a great post, and I love your writing style.

    On the actual topic, I have to say the whole concept of branding and crossing international barriers with fashion is all very interesting. I can see how this collection can instantly be labelled "American" by the red checkered trucker shirt and the sports jacket for starters. And I have to say I like how what is classically "American" can be spotted on the runways and streets in somewhere like Japan. Yay for fashion!

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  29. Very interesting post. As you know, concepts of branding, image and visual identity also fascinate me. Our perceptions of different cultures' fashions, how they evolve and permeates with times, globalisation and the proximity and availability of looks and fashion representations are questions that need to be explored. I like the idea that a magazine or a brand creates a complete spirit through the styling and photography choices of an editorial. However, we see so many that it's a good surprise when one makes you stop for its beauty, for the clothes, or even better, to think. And you just expressed your thoughts about this one in such a perfect way. While I am certainly interested in the styling here, I wouldn't have been so inspired with this one, so it's refreshing to read your thoughts and clever insight. :) x

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  30. lovely post, you're so good with words :).

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  31. Speaking of visual branding... every time I pass the Ritu Kumar stores in India, I am so intrigued by the delicate paisley patterns on the store's exteriors. I love the way people go, "that's a Ritu's", or "when did you get that Tahiliani Sari"...

    I agree that inspiration removed from context finds a rare balance in the editorial your have shared. That the clothes are absolutely gorgeous is, of course, a big help too.

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  32. such a rich color. red. awesome post.

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  33. Hey, thanks for the sweet comment you left on my blog :)

    ANOTHER interesting post, you always have me glued to the screen! You're so insightful.

    ♥ Hannah

    ((LONDON--ROSE.BLOGSPOT.COM))

    xx

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  34. Thanks for your kind comments.

    I finally have a sneak peak of my fashion Reality TV series posted to my site. Come check it out!

    http://sergriva.blogspot.com/2009/10/dream-vs-reality-tv.html

    -serg

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  35. Hm, I personally wouldn't have said "American" about this spread, but I can see what you're saying now. Overall I really like it. And the Japanese. :)

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  36. Such an amazing spread. That second shot is killing me. WOWZA!

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  37. Love that red peacoat in that first photo!looks amazing!i never thought i could wear a bright red peacoat but this looks so cool im considering it!

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