Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Politics Behind Shoulder Pads

The 1980s and early 1990’s saw a wave of shoulder pads in womenswear. And as the study of historic costume continues to prove, fashions mirror the zeitgeist of their times. So I can only think that the re-emergence of shoulder pads in 2010 fashions can’t help but make a political statement.

First, think about who wears shoulder pads and what their actual purpose is: Football players wear them to protect their shoulders during games. Any type of armor we see from the days of knights has a large shoulder component. So in all actuality, shoulder pads serve to protect. They emphasize the shoulders, or the part of the human body that bears heavy loads.

Reappearing on catwalks across the globe in 2010, the shoulder pad makes a political statement about protection. But from what? What’s weighing on us so heavily? Jobs are hard to find, money is tight. But also, the appearance of shoulder pads on the runway could be emphasizing strength and stability. But American designers are not utilizing this trend as much as European designers are. What are you thoughts? And more importantly, when is the last time you wore shoulder pads? How did wearing them make you feel?

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