More Hebdige

by devinking

About the mods again:

“More subtly, the conventional insignia of the business world – the suit, collar and tie, short hair, etc. – were stripped of their original connotations – efficiency, ambition, compliance with authority – and transformed into ’empty’ fetishes, objects to be desired, fondled and valued in their own right.”

At first I assumed that the new sartorial male might be trying to refill those empty signifiers with their original meaning–“my grandfather was working class and had a pocket square, I will also have a pocket square.” This seems to make sense in one way–without job stability, youth culture creates a suit that reinvigorates clothes and identity with old conservative ideals. Except so much of that side of the design (and butcher, and clothing) world is filled with the rhetoric of importance of those objects and clothes existing for their own sake. There’s no reason to have this pocket square, except that it’s beautiful. The fashion seems to suggest the conservative dandy–and where the dandy used to hope for a return of romantic antiquity, the shepherd, or the poet, or the king, the conservative dandy hopes for a return of the working class as a means, not to freedom through subcultural and group identity, but to bondage through the possibility of working as one individual among many, other, beautiful objects.