29 October 2012

Steampunk, Mori Girl, and Judaism

There are a couple of identifiable alternative fashions in America -- goth, punk, ethnic -- but I just heard that in Japan, there are several street fashions each associated with a lifestyle, a philosophy, an entire approach to the world.
I am not sure the same can be said for their American counterparts... I suspect that it is only the rare person on this side of the Pacific who says, "I think I will dress, and live, and look at life, as if I were a Poe character (or a clockwork Victorian, or a Tibetan herdsman), as much as possible." But in Japan the fashion of let's pretend we live in the woods has got its own name (mori-kei) and publications and corresponding philosophy and values and, if I understood correctly, not a small number of adherents.

It's very Jewish, that your style of dress should be an organic expression of your philosophy and values -- though in the case of mori-kei, and I could be wrong about this, I am not so sure the interest in the weltanschauung gave birth to the fashion instead of the other way round.

Jewish dress is defined by Torah principles, which makes it fairly difficult to pin down, as fashions go: it's not defined by a particular shape (like steampunk) or color (like goth) or texture (like mori-kei) or place (like goncha) or era (like vintage) or being different from what everyone else is wearing.
One of these days I should write about what does define it... does someone more learned who writes for this blog want to tackle that one?

As it comes out, Rav Bulman zt"l once observed that traditional Jewish dress is the dress of the nobility of the past generation. But that's incidental.

No comments:

Post a Comment