Fantastic and, for me, very timely post.
Next May I’ll be moderating a series of public conversations on identity and its performance in pop culture. The concept of acting-basic will definitely come up.
A host of fashion gurus, marketing mavens, and subcultural theorists have long championed spectacular stylistic distinction as a politically empowering and self-affirming force. These observers define style as an aesthetic and material expression of selfhood that confirms our uniqueness and displays our links to circles of like-minded people. This month, though, New York magazine’s Fiona Duncan was the latest observer mystified by the emergence of sameness: that is, instead of seeking out distinguishing style and visibly discernible brands, many consumers instead appear to be embracing the plain and non-descript, trooping off to secure the innocuous jeans, t-shirts, and sneakers hawked at the likes of Old Navy and Abercrombie and Fitch. Instead of looking to the red carpet for our fashion cues and monitoring the elite for material standards, at least some of us…
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