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International success of “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement

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Woman, Life, Freedom & the birth of Generation Z and the growth of Postmodernism communities:

We lived wherever we lived, we did whatever work we did, we talked however we talked, we ate whatever we ate, we were wearing whatever clothes we were wearing, we looked at whatever images we saw… we were living however we could. We were whoever we were. This was the birth of generation Y, as some described them as a reflection of a globalized environment. They lived in the city, the cities lived in them… they moved from one city to another, from one country to another. They changed languages, they changed habits, they changed opinions, they changed clothes, and they changed everything. But now generation Z all digital natives succeeding gen Y with almost the same attitudes but more concerned with academic performance and job prospects, with less subcultures’ influences and some identity crises.

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Identity… of a person, of a thing, of a place… The word “Identity” brings a sense of peace and assurance to us. But what does it really refer to? Does it mean finding where you fit in life? Or understanding the value that you bring to the world? It could be knowing who you are deep down inside. How can one identify their identity though?

Identity is a complex concept. It is something that we all have and yet it is different for everyone. It can include many aspects of our lives, such as our culture, beliefs, values, and experiences. Our identity shapes how we interact with the world around us and how we view ourselves and others. As our society continues to evolve, so does our understanding of identity and the way we use it to define ourselves. With the rise of technology, digital identities are becoming more prominent as people use online platforms to express themselves in unique ways. By examining identity from both a personal and societal perspective, we can gain a better understanding of its role in shaping who we are today.

We all have an idea of what we want our identity to be, and build ourselves up to match that image. But who is this “ourselves”? How well can we really know the person behind the persona? It’s a question that deserves more attention as we seek to understand our true selves.

Life in the city can be quite dynamic and ever-evolving. We often travel from one city to another, adapting to different cultures, languages and customs. Our opinions, tastes & preferences may also vary with time as our lives move forward. Everything can change over time and do so quickly.

The pace of transformation in the world of images has been rapid since the introduction of digital imagery. Questions have been raised about whether we can trust an electronic image as much as a traditional photograph. With the emergence of digital imagery, photography is being displaced in many situations. The question thus arises – can we depend on digital images as much as we did with painting?

Previously, when it came to painting, the original artwork was unique and every copy made was a fake. However, since film photography and later digital photography arose, the concept of ‘original’ became more complicated.

With film photography, the negative was the original; without a print, it did not exist. On the other hand, every copy was the original, but now with digital there is no more positive or negative the very notion of original is a wrong, everything is a copy all distinctions have become arbitrarily no wander the idea of identity find itself in a very shaky state, identity is out, out of fashion. Then what is involved if not fashion itself. Identity and fashion are the two contradictories.

No wonder why this generation is struggling with their identity, with themselves, not meaning that the old generation didn’t, but as the result of globalization and communication technology this has magnified and shaped enormous psychological need for this generation to create their own individual style. Commodities have always played an important role in identifying ourselves in modern societies, but especially now when we move more often between places, outside appearance and our body have become more important as a clue for our identity. Before it was easy most of us lived in the same place where we were born, went to the same school as our parents did, and worked in the same place as they did, we knew everyone around us and they knew us, but now things are different. This is probably one of the reasons fashion brands have become more important. As Levy (1956) said we do not buy products any more purely based on what they can do but more likely based on what they mean. This is where the fashion brands help some of us to create our individualistic style and at the same time not much separating ourselves from others. This is very important; we want to have an individualistic look but we don’t want to be lonely. Human beings are social animals, this is a constant struggle … We want to be free, but we need to belong to a group, we want to be chic but we don’t want to be snobbish…of course the media and advertising doesn’t make this struggle easier either. We are bombarded by various messages everyday telling us who to be, how to look, what to drink or eat, what to read and how to behave or think…so we may wonder to what degree are we free to choose who or what to be? But I think this generation is getting wiser, even some research suggests that generation Z are more ambitious and have more brand consciousness, and in their view casual and professional can co-exist and it is not the clothes that make someone professional but rather how one behaves. You can see this tendency more clearly by looking at the international success of some street-wear brands which offer a very casual individualistic style but it appears to a wide audience both professional and non-professional people, and not only to students or unemployed people as one may think.

Mary Douglas (1997) suggested that consumption behavior is not only about consumers establishing differences between one another, but is inspired by active hostility, further she argues while people are unclear about what it is they want, they are very clear about what they do not want.

For example we have seen the growing consumers concern of human rights and the importance of environmental issues and the overall critic of corporate social responsibility so as some consumers has been disappointed of the large corporations and international brands behaviors they have chosen to switch to local brands which have creatively build their brand based on those values closed to consumers hearts and directly promote it through their website by posting their business code of conduct and telling others how should businesses been build. Influenced by Fluxus and Postmodernism movement, through their website, catalogue, social media and various organized events, they have created, presented and positioned themselves as an alternative lifestyle associating their brand to contemporary’s art movements such as street and pop art.

An important contributing factor to the success of those brands & “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement is the way they advertise themselves. Unlike the traditional advertising which tries to create a dynamic of dissatisfaction, they use the existing dissatisfaction in the consumer market and the growing environmental, human & labour rights consciousness within their target audience, and by using artistic images in natural and basic environment and putting their models somehow with a harmony within the surrounding environment, and not having the models as a focus of the picture, models become part of the whole image to present a naturalistic simple lifestyle which the company promote.

Those images somehow make daily life look very glamorous. Referring to John Desmond, advertising does much more than sell a product; it triggers the hierarchy of effects, connotes an experience, sells a lifestyle and influences taste and opinion. The essential part of their advertising is that they do not use the traditional above the line advertising. They promote their brand through various theme events & social media to create a kind of Neo-tribes or post-modern community and relay on that people who like the lifestyle will tell others about the events and the brand. As Michel Maffeosoli would probably say the crowds of people who participate in those events are bound together by shared sentiment, a shared love of ‘nature’, ‘art’, ‘music’ ‘politic’… or just want to have fun, humor has always been an important element in Fluxus. The events play a central role in the brand building of those brands as Maffesoli said it reaffirms the feeling of belonging to a larger group and allowing the expression of a common emotion, which causes people to recognize themselves in communion with others.

As well as the other the body plays an essential role for those brands, a means to communicate the message, as it appears most of the brands users belong to the communicator consumer group, probably a more kind of rational-communicator.

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Recommended reading:

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Tony Zohari
Tony Zoharihttps://www.digitpro.co.uk/tony-zohari/
Lead Editor | Documentary Photographer & Content Creator | Educator | Art Lover | Father...

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