Content The identity issue january 2014
On The Cover Louise Allison A Note From The Editor -2 Street Style - 3-8 Behind The Uniform - 9-20 On The Back Louise Allison
A note from the editor The latest issue of Silhouette focuses on Identity and Diversity, looking at the characteristics that define us. This issue brings you style from the student streets of Newcastle and ‘Behind The Uniform’ is a thought provoking article, which considers the effect that uniforms have on society. This issue’s editorial shoot shows us that identity is not just one characteristic but the sum of many parts, depending on the time and the place. ‘Till next time,
Behind The Uniform Whether it is the flickering sight of the reflective strip curving around the arms and chest, or the hammer clutched against the tool belt, there is something impressive about a uniform. Georgia Earnshaw discusses how a uniform affects us and the society that we live in. gist Philip Zimbardo decided to test the impact uniform had on people and their behavior using the notorious 1973 Stanford Prison Experiment. Dressed in either a khaki uniform complete with whistle, handcuffs and shaded glasses or a dirty smock with a number written on and a chain around your ankle, the participants became either a guard or a prisoner. Within hours, Zimbardo saw the psychological effects when ordinary people were dressed up in a uniform with an identified role. The guards were later described as ‘brutal’ and ‘sadistic’. The dehumanized prisoners were tormented by the guards. Within six days the experiment was forced to finish. The The defense of a Nazi War criminal real life people became characters in a when on trial in court was that he was game which led them to become somemerely following the instructions of those thing they never thought they could be. more powerful than him. Can we begin to blame our actions on power lev- It is hard to believe that a piece of clothels resulting from uniforms? Psycholo- ing, a uniform or an outfit can change Identity is defined by a persons characteristics and what makes them an individual but what happens when someone is no longer seen as an individual and we see them as defined by a uniform, such as a fireman or a lifeguard. The moment the luminous police jacket or the white doctor’s coat is put on the identity of that person has changed, it becomes hidden Wunderneath the clothes. The thought that a single garment can hide a person’s identity and change the way people behave towards them is hard to believe, but after numerous psychological studies, it becomes almost impossible to deny.
us who we are, our place in society and how to behave. “People in uniform are not seen as an individual by society, I believe they are seen as a service” says Pete Wilson, Royal Marine Commando. “I do not think society would function as effectively if we removed uniforms from society. People place trust in uniforms as it shows us what they represent. It is how we identify someone.” If uniforms were not enough in the work place, we have developed other ways to use uniforms in our lives. Top designers have created a uniform and identity of their own. Chanel has created their design around quilted fabric combined with leather trimmings. This is the style and uniform of Chanel. No matter where it is seen, it is associated with that certain designer. The distinctive pattern of skulls has become Alexander McQueen’s uniform and the infamous LV monogram can only be the uniform of Louis Vuitton. Some girls dream of wearing a certain designer label, but why do we desire such things? Is it simply because it shows off our wealth? The fashion world is a battle for power. Does being seen in Gucci make you more powerful than a girl in Topshop? Is this why there is such a divide between the rich and poor, could it be because we are wearing two different uniforms? When it comes to fashion the latest trend becomes our latest uniform, are those who can keep up subconsciously seen as more powerful in society. Psychologist Stanley Milgram decided to test how we behave around those in
your identity in such a way that it changes the way you and the people around you behave. It leads us to question why uniforms exist and are worn today. Are we living in a world where society needs to be surrounded by uniforms which tell uniform and if they hold power over those who are not. Dressed in a long white lab coat, Milgram asked participants to deliver electric shocks to another human being if they were to answer a question wrong. In the end, 65% of the participants delivered the maximum shock. What is it about this uniform that changes peoples mind and causes them to behave in ways they never thought they would and be willing to physically harm another human being? If a uniform can have such serious consequences, how has it ended up in our fancy dress box? “It does grate on me when I see people impersonating a marine. It took a lot of hard work for me to achieve the uniform I wear today. It represents the marines and if someone goes out and gets drunk in our uniform it effects how people view us, it tarnishes the standards we promote.” Pete Wilson explains. We question whether this year it will be a naughty nurse or a slutty cop, and how does it make us feel about the importance of their jobs in society? Uniforms symbolize something to us and that is why we have such respect for them. How is it that army print is seen on leggins and anyone can be a doctor for the night? Identity is something that we all have, but it is clear that we can psychologically alter our identity by wearing a uniform. If the uniform holds some sort of authority
it can go to such lengths as to change people’s behavior around us. “People recognise my uniform and behave appropriately when I am present by the pool. It may not be a police jacket, but in my environment my uniform does give me authority” says Maximilliam Emmott, Lifeguard. Whether it be a luminous police jacket or a white doctors coat, we are mostly unaware as a society of how much this garment can change who we are and how the people around us behave. Whether it is a uniform that relates to a job or profession or the clothes that we chose or can afford to buy, we are all making a statement about who we think we are and perhaps more importantly, who we would like to be.
Silhouette Magazine Fashion Features Georgia Rae Earnshaw