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  • Writer's pictureGwennan Jones

IRP Impact on the IFP Direction & Industry Context in Relation to Career Aspirations

Updated: Jul 2

As I am at the beginning of my IFP, I am yet to begin delving into the scope of this project fully. Using Kolb’s reflective cycle as a tool for reflection and observation - in my concrete personal experience, I found myself at a watch party among friends (3 women) for the 2024 Met Gala: The Garden of Time (University of Hull, 2024). For the time zone difference in the UK, it meant the group of us staying awake past midnight to catch a glimpse of the looks in real-time - despite the fact they would be posted the very next day on social media and on the Vogue website. The livestream played on the television, while the social media groupchat with those same women flooded with real-time, live footage of celebrities exiting their hotels for their cabs to the venue. We expressed our views and opinions of women's dress, disappointment at some, and debated the messages of dress and their relevance to the theme - which held the utmost of importance. 


In terms of reflective observation and following abstract conceptualism, this experience showed how excited audiences are to witness fashion history and see designers' recent creations / collaborations, which lead to my research on ‘Fashion as Entertainment: The Impact of Digitalisation on the Evolution of Fashion Events’, sending me down a rabbit hole of the historical themes of conspicuous consumption, sexist fashion portrayals and fashion’s desire for theatre, which showed how historically deep-rooted the ideals of female dress are in Western or popular culture, which is translated into fashion events such as the red carpet.


Conspicuous consumption relates to the ideology of dress on the red carpet being exercised as a tool to flaunt wealth and social standing, especially when attendees wear items only once on the red carpet. Additionally, novelty and impracticality of dress (particularly female dress) plays a part in establishing the superior pecuniary class. Fashion's desire for theatre clarifies the performance ritual is conducted for financial gain. 


Sexist fashion portrayals connote women as the submissive sex in all known societies, which can be traced back to barbarian society where women were viewed as trophies. The anticipation for womenswear over menswear in the traditional fashion system can be determined by the perception of a woman existing to be adorned, in order to heighten the male’s social standing through their economic dependence. For this reason, fashion (and subsequently feminine leisure activities like reading magazines) have been branded as a strictly frivolous female activity; which diminishes the craft of its cultural and political significance. 


Significant findings showed performance theatre in the exhibition of clothes creates cross-platform marketing to sell other novelty products to the bourgeoisie: including cosmetics and fragrances. After the use of Pandora dolls in the Royal Courts, women now play this part in dressing for media consumption on the red carpet as a form of entertainment - solidifying society's stars. The movement of women using fashion to explore social issues must be done thoughtfully in order to avoid contradictory claims. 


The digitalisation of media means timeliness is a key factor for keeping mass-audiences engaged across platforms, especially with the already temporary nature of fashion weeks. The saturated digital landscape can lead to audiences feeling overwhelmed; therefore, audiences look for a distillation of fashion moments in print to prolong their lifespan, as an item to cherish and a way to be involved in the brand universe. 


The IRP has influenced the direction of my IFP as the Met Gala hosted by Vogue magazine is the biggest night in fashion and the epitome of fashion as entertainment with audiences chiming in from around the globe, simply to watch the carpet. The rise of mass comfort-viewing from home is a direct result of the invention of television and social media. While the event itself remains a mystery other than what was disclosed to viewers in The First Monday in May at the 2015 Met Gala, China: Through The Looking Glass - the theatre of fashion is seen on the iconic steps leading up to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 


While the event may be reduced to a female form of entertainment, the Met Gala is a cultural mass-media event in the Western world for the exhibition of clothing. The event is the ultimate symbol of status and conspicuous consumption to establish the annual elites of entertainment. Costumes or ‘method dressing’ is a novelty tactic used year by year to ensure relevant creative looks are overturned as opposed to the recycling of black tie dress. Due to the historic economic dependence of women on men, and the use of womens adornments to signify a man’s wealth, the red carpet has since become a space to amplify female voices.


In an increasingly digitised world and the mass of content produced at the event, audiences can find a curated edition of the event through traditional physical media as an outlet or form of social repository to cherish, meaning customers can buy into the experience of the Met Gala without directly attending the event. There is a clear need for tangible items. The success of this proposal can be guaranteed in the current and future industry context, evidenced after looking at Barbie: The World Tour as a case study, covering Margot Robbie and her stylist Andrew Mukamal’s press tour looks for the Barbie movie where audiences were hyper involved in the ‘Barbiecore’ movement. The adaptation of the Barbie press tour into a coffee table book winning critical acclaim such as the New York Times bestseller shows the demand for physical coverage on the new wave of costume dressing, especially with an event as high-profile as the Met Gala. 


This IFP will act as a form of active experimentation, putting the theories of my research into practice. As a case study for the project, the coffee table book will cover the most recent 2024 Met Gala: The Garden of Time, based on the short story by JG Ballard. This Met Gala works in conjunction with the opening of the exhibition ‘Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion’ as a fundraiser to raise money for the costume institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan, New York. The full scope of this project was outlined in Assignment 2 of the IRP.


The professional context and contribution of this project to the fashion industry could be a way for aspirational audiences to buy into the popular culture moment and feel a part of the Vogue universe at a small cost. The publication has the potential of a continued legacy with the turnover of new themes and conversations alike annually. With the publication being annual, it means consumers are more likely to invest into a once-a-year, high-quality publication, suitable for special occasion gifts like birthdays and anniversaries.


This links to my personal intended and aspirational career path as I am interested in working in the publication industry, specifically a magazine such as Vogue - the hosts of the Met Gala. To further explain this to my lecturers / tutors for the upcoming term, I have transferred this information to my ‘5 Slides / 5 Minutes’ presentation before starting the term so I am fully prepared. 


Reference List

University of Hull. (2024). Reflective Writing: Kolb [Online]. 19 January 2024. Available at: https://libguides.hull.ac.uk/reflectivewriting/kolb [Accessed 28 June 2024].



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Hannah Shakir
Hannah Shakir
4 days ago

Hi Gwennan, There is opportunity for further references here. Please remember to cite where the infromation on Pandora Dolls, came from. Also you could colour this post with more visual examples of what you are discussing as it is text heavy. There's a good link to the IRP, remember to also include more about your own aspirations and how the project aligns.

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