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From the Editor

Ben Hoyt

Ever since Socrates and his Method, it’s been fashionable to ask questions. In this issue we’re asking questions about Fashion itself. What is it? Why did we start worrying about it? How do you become a fashion designer?

Unicycle leaning against park bench

Can we even talk about fashion in any sort of objective way? Recently I read an essay by C.S. Lewis called “Men without Chests”. It’s a neat little piece in which Lewis takes a dig at some school teachers who are discussing someone who looks at a waterfall and says, “This is sublime.” The teachers remark that the man, although he thinks he’s saying something important about the waterfall, is actually only saying something about his feelings. But, as Lewis points out, there’s much more to it than that.

What I’m wondering is whether fashion falls into the same category? Does it make sense to call an item of fashion “sublime”? When yesterday’s teenager called his pair of cargo pants “sweet”, was he saying something about his trousers, or just about his feelings? When people talk about a “good wine”, are they just stating their taste in wine fashion, or are they saying something about the drink itself?

Another interesting question: why are fashions so different even within the same country? For instance (with no bias whatsoever), Auckland dresses like a yuppie, Wellington as if it’s at art school, and Christchurch like it’s half-heartedly trying to be respectable.

I’m sure I’m asking more questions than will be answered here, but at least you’ll find some interesting reading to start you along the path. It’s definitely a topic that makes good dinner-time conversation. And have your copy of Prism handy – there’s nothing wrong with a few food stains on a well-discussed magazine.

Issue #4 contributors

  • Paul Armstrong
  • Lynton Baird
  • Janette Bartlett
  • Lizeth Bezuidenhout
  • T. Scott Carlisle
  • Joel Carpenter
  • Linnie Craigie
  • Jenny de Reus
  • James Doiron
  • Stephanie R Dunham
  • Laurel Flinn
  • Margaret Haverland
  • Angela Holtslag
  • Francis Hooper
  • Bevan Hoyt
  • Franci Hoyt
  • Lois Hoyt
  • Eric Jensen
  • Meena Kadri
  • Monique Kloeg
  • Socar Myles
  • Lies van Rompaey
  • Rich Steenhof
  • Tim Sterne
  • Sandra Stolte
  • Alan Stuart
  • Brian Tamaki
  • Jorge Valdes
  • Courtney Wilson
  • Aidan Wojtas
  • Esther Zorn