Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Style Chains, Pioneers, and Modifications

Lately I've been seeing the term "style chain" used on some of the personal style blogs I read. Does anyone know who coined it? I would love to give credit. It seems to refer to when one blogger, (lets call her the Modder), "copies" another blogger's (the Pioneer's) outfit.

Copying isn't really the right term because from what I've seen, it's not that the Modder goes out to Target, F21, and Ebay and buys the exact items she saw on the Pioneer's blog. It is instead the case that the Modder uses clothing she owns to create a version of the Pioneer's outfit.

This is a process that seems like it would be pretty innate to people interested in style/fashion, because isn't that what we've always been doing with the stuff we see in fashion magazines? I use the pronoun "we", because the odds are very good, with income inequality statistics being what they are in the U.S., that you, like I, cannot actually afford the clothes that are editorialized in fashion magazines. Yet I still buy the magazines. My best reason for doing so is to get an idea of the current trends. That idea will be in my head the next time I get dressed and I will probably recreate the trends I like with what I have, or what I can approximate with items in stores that are in my price range. Modding, right? Maybe being in a style chain?

I got the term Pioneer from a couple of guest posts on the Freakonomics Opinion Page on the New York Times site. Here are links to the posts:

Tweakers and Pioneers in the World of Innovation
Geeks and Tweaks: What Computer Programming Contests Can Teach Us About Innovation

Scholars Raustiala and Sprigman use the terms Pioneers and Tweakers, but where I come from a tweaker is a person who abuses methamphetamine drugs. So I prefer the term Modder, which could refer to modifications. 

Just wanted to expand the conversation about copying a bit. I've seen it come up multiple times, and I think these two links make good contributions.