Saturday, August 6, 2011

Fashism

Before you comment on my misspelling of the political ideology "Fascism" let me assure you that this blog post is not dedicated to discussing that radical form of government. Instead, this post is about a new website I found called Fashism.com Interesting choice of a name, though, if you do consider the dictates and power of fashion and compare it to the ideas of Fascism.

Anyway! This site is interesting; it taps into the whole narcissistic side of people- which is a side I think we all have. The original intention of the site was also a good one but I am not sure, after my experience, that it reaches its goal. Which as stated on Fashism.com is "...not to punish you for dressing poorly, but to make you dress better." The problem is that you have to have a bunch of people who have good taste and who mean well for it to really work. Let me tell you about the site, the creator's intention, and then I will tell you about my experience with the site.

Fashism is a site where you can go to upload pictures of different outfits that you are thinking of wearing and ask other people's opinion about it. You post the picture and then title it with a question. For example: "What necklace should I wear with this?" or "Does this outfit look good for a concert?" or "Should I buy this dress?" You can even post two or three looks side by side and ask people to rate which one looks better. Kind of makes you feel like a celebrity, "Who wore it better?" After you have uploaded your picture and your question, other people who have a Fashism.com account can look at your photo, click on "Love it" or "Hate it" and then make a comment. The comments are supposed to be helpful. For example "I would wear a white belt with that instead of a brown one" or "Maybe tuck the shirt in" or "Lose the jacket and it would look much better." Next to the photo you have uploaded there is a black circle that shows the percentage of people who "loved it" and below the photo are all the comments or suggestions.

The creator of the site is Brooke Moreland, who said she had the idea for it "after walking out of the dressing room looking for her husband’s opinion and found an empty couch." She figured there must be some way to use the internet to solve this problem. The site even has guidelines for users. "Comment Guidelines: Please only constructive comments. You don’t have to like everything, but the goal here is to help people look their very best, not to make fun of poor sartorial choices. Again, no hateful or obscene speech will be tolerated. We reserve the right to revoke your site privileges if you engage in such behavior."


I have to say that when I found out about the site and started looking through it, I found it addictive. I skimmed the different looks that had been posted recently (the twelve most recent uploads are displayed at the top of the page) and glanced at some of the comments that were left. I decided that I would sign up for an account and have some fun with it. I found out as soon as I uploaded my first look how addictive this could be. I had to stop myself from constantly refreshing to see what my new rating was. I was also sort of testing out the site. The first picture I posted was a cute outfit (and I know it is) except that the mittens I was wearing were not. They weren't bad, but they weren't fashionable. I asked "Different mittens next year?" People were fairly helpful, except the first guy who said "You'll have to cause those need to be burned! Not a good look." He did not leave any sort of edifying comment. Everyone else suggested what I could do instead. That was the main reason I posted what I did because I wanted to check out how people responded.


Next I uploaded a picture of my face and asked them "What do you think of the makeup and hair?" I purposely picked a picture that I know has a good look. Before I relied on this site too heavily for fashion advice, I needed to finish this experiment. This picture had only a 47 percent rating of people loving it. However, the comments were disparate with the rating. My 47 percent rating had comments like this: "I think your make-up and hair are stunning! Your look has a very fresh, vintage feel to it. Make-up close to your natural skin tone is the way to go:D" and "I find it classic and beautiful. Perfect example of makeup that enhances beauty rather than beautiful makeup." and "Very cute! You look fresh and natural." The only suggestion was that I should perhaps put on a little more mascara. I found it odd that the rating and comments were so disparate. If they hated it so much, why didn't anyone help me out? That is what the site is supposed to be for.

In the end, for me, I don’t think it will help much when it comes to picking out my outfits, but I do find it a rather fascinating social experiment. For example, I have noticed that “Love it” percentages are higher when the person posts a picture of a model wearing an outfit rather than themselves. Of course, there could be variables. Is the model just inevitably going to make the outfit look better? Is it because someone in the fashion industry dressed the model up? Or is it just because we gravitate to the beauty of the person and picture and it skews the view of the outfit? Does it make us less truthful or more truthful? Do pictures of an ugly person get rated better than pictures of a pretty person? We are supposed to be looking at the clothes and how they suit that person. I think I will try a few more experiments and one of them will be to actually ask about an outfit I am trying to decide on. Maybe that will change my view. But I wonder how many people are actually trying to make a fashion choice and how many want affirmation that they are, indeed, a pretty person? Facebook is mainly your friends, Hot or Not is for people desperate for dates anyway (almost everyone is at least a “9”), maybe Fashism is confirmation that you are pretty or ugly or plain. Or maybe people just want fashion advice.


NOTE: One thing I must add, though, they do have a blog where special fashion experts will examine looks you post and comment on them via a live webcast. That's pretty cool and they supply comments that really help out. Haven't done it yet myself, but I intend to.

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