Tuesday, February 17, 2009

INSIDE MAGAZINE...Your Body, Your Canvas

We’ll show you how to be a one-(wo)man exhibit.

By Bryan Payton and Haley Adams
Photo by David E. Corso

We all become artists when we dress in the morning. We use our clothes as expression, giving meaning to what we drape on our bodies.

Whether you’re reminiscent of classical art in a three-piece suit or a modern expressionist in pink heels and shutter shades, remember: Perception is everything.

With a flair for the sartorial, student fashion designer Lauren Ison chooses a casual look for two student models, and the director of IU’s student Fashion Design + Culture Group, Deborah Christiansen, offers her interpretation.

Ison is a senior fashion design student working on her senior project inspired by the transformation of Norma Jeane into Marilyn Monroe, showing March 7 in the Willkie Auditorium.

Chantsler Underwood is a senior majoring in journalism who has modeled for Finish Line and plans to sign with NEXT Model Management in New York after graduation.

“He’s athletic, and he’s actually a model, but he’s always on the go and always moving,” Ison says, “so I wanted him to feel like himself.”

Underwood says the combination of classy and comfortable clothing is something he’d wear.

“I’m always on the go, so I could just slip these on if I’m in a rush,” he says. “I’d still feel comfortable, but it’s a chic, classic look.”

Also dressed by Ison is Justine Carlotta (right), a sophomore majoring in creative writing. She is the editor-in-chief of the newsletter for the IU chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America and is a 2009 Union Board director.

“Justine has an outgoing personality, and she’s really outspoken, so I wanted to bring in bright colors,” Ison says. “With the hat and the jewelry, I just wanted to make it real trendy and classic, and maybe turn a few heads when she walks past.”

The accessories and colors are bold but wearable, Carlotta says. “It’s eccentric with the purple and the yellow contrasting each other,” she says. “And the boots are always fun since everyone’s wearing boots right now. If I was going out, I would definitely wear this.”

Director of IU’s student Fashion Design + Culture Group Deborah Christiansen comments on the models’ new looks.

ON CARLOTTA: “I liked that the color choice was very bright. The outfit was a little retro, and I liked the boots. It’s something we’ve been seeing, so everything was very on-trend. The hat made it more eccentric, maybe not something for everybody, but it was perfect for a college student.”

ON UNDERWOOD: “The hoodie was very on-trend with a bit of a techno print, updating the computer-generated print. It was nice to have the refined look of the belt with the Chuck Taylors.” In general “She made good choices, and they were perfect for this age group.”

Edward Hirt, an associate professor in the department of psychological and brain sciences, says choosing the perfect outfit is one of the many ways people express themselves, and clothing communicates information. “When people are trying to express a certain kind of image, they want to dress to convey that image,” he says. “If you’re going out on a date, you know what clothes you want to wear. In a job interview, if you want to express professionalism, you’ll wear a power suit.”

There are other factors people look at when making judgments, such as facial attractiveness, body shape, and race. Hirt says people are the product of the strength of their stereotypes. If a person’s judgments come true, that person will stereotype more often. Judgments based on appearance are unavoidable, he says. “I think it’s unrealistic to believe people can ignore it,” Hirt says. “In many cases, it is an important cue to get information.”

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