Do you have any recommendations for books about clothing history? (I’ll accept recs for pretty much anything about historical clothing, textiles etc, but something that has info about garment construction would be stellar!)
Even though Legend of Korra seems to be taking a 1920’s/general “Jazz era” setting, it also seems to be setting itself up with parallels to the chinese cultural revolution. The Equalist movement is pretty transparently adopting some communist rhetoric, and the chinese communist parallels make much more sense with the understanding of Bending being a spiritual manifestation and cultural tradition, especially with the Avatar in the Dalai Lama type position.
Taking bending traditions as a parallel for religion makes a much more interesting area of gray discussion than the interpretation of the equalists as being civil rights activists. (Though religious expression is also ostensibly a civil right, it is also a chosen discipline and a debatable central tenet to many cultures) The “bending has been the cause of all wars” argument is especially resonant in this case, if we’re taking bending as a parallel to religious tradition in our world. The use of bending as a method of intimidation and oppression by governments and organized crime syndicates alike also gives it an uncomfortable parallel. (The caveat to this parallel is that Amon also claims the support of a deity to instigate his revolution.)
I’m not very good at modern east asian history so if someone out there knows a bit more about this subject’s parallels in real-world history (especially with regards to the maoist revolution), please chime in.
I find it hard to articulate the sheer excitement I get from historical clothing. I say this as a casual novice who mostly just lurks and stares at collections, skimming descriptions and being psyched out of my mind when I recognize patterns, eras, designs. In the overwhelming wealth of history and culture behind, the intertwining stories that influence the costumes, it’s exhiliarating to do so much as point out the shape of a bodice, recognize a silhouette and assign an era to it, to identify techniques and materials and have words for all of these now-obsolete garments. It’s like making order out of chaos. I know it was never chaos to start with, but that’s how it was in my mind years ago; all of the styles of dressing that came before my time were once clumped very lazily into scattered chunks: The Retro, The “Olden Days” (17-1800s), the nebulous middle-ages, the ancient world (consisting only of egypt and greece and some fuzzy generic culture I had filed away as ‘biblical’)
As much as I try to assign an exact origin and motive for this excitement, I still can’t exactly place why I look at some blogs, websites, books and am filled with this uncontainable urge to SQUEE. To point at the beautiful pictures and shout “LOOK AT THIS!” to anyone. It’s not just the fantasy of decorating myself with these beautiful things. It’s the thrill of making sense of these beautiful trends and creations, reading the stories and sensing patterns. Yes, there is an ‘order out of chaos’ element. The changing of silhouettes is not merely a pointless occurrence on a timeline; it’s deeply tied into the political and social changes of the times. The colors of fabrics aren’t just pretty to look at, they’re incidental with revolutionary technologies- the use of new dyes and techniques. The way demand for certain fashions, certain fashion resources, influence economies, foster cultural exchange, start wars, stoke revolutions.
God, I love this. I am so pumped to know more. I am so intimidated and yet out-of-my-mind excited by the seemingly limitless information available! Why wouldn’t anyone love this?