My final year collection is based on the notion of a woman’s relationship to self-identity, chained as it is to the female personas of our time. I am researching how we form our identity within the current economic and cultural conditions and the intense consumerism dominated by popular culture and mass media.
In traditional, pre-modern societies the identity of the individual was solid and stable and it was a function of social roles providing orientation to one’s place in the world. The identity therefore was fixed, determined in advance, more independent from the actual acts and choices of the individuals. In modernity it became more mobile and subject to change: individuals construct their identities out of a set of common social roles, combining these into their own identities. These constructed identities must gain recognition, validation from the society, which often causes an anxiety in the modern individual who can never be certain that he has chosen the right identity among the several choices available to him. This process is even more complex in case of women since female roles have been subject to a significant change from the 20th century. Women have made huge advances in equality that raised the potential roles that we could potentially fulfill making the identity even more fragmented. Pattern seeking and stereotypes became dominant in these circumstances in which mass media has a large influence together with the increased expectation from the society towards women.
The question arises: are women more liberated or more constrained nowadays? The symbolism of chains can play around this idea as well. I am using traditional chains to explore different female roles and archetypes under the current sociocultural conditions and interpret them as a piece of jewellery transforming the chains to different characters. Wearing them altogether reflects to an impossible mission: to be the perfect woman.