How is the fashion in Germany
If, in retrospect, one had to identify an event that could symbolically stand for the end of the old dress code, one would probably name the Ponader episode. May 2012, in Günther Jauch's talk show, two stylistic terms clashed: On one side there was the presenter in a suit and tie, a pair of freshly waxed Budapesters on his feet. And on the other side there was Johannes Ponader, the new head of the Pirate Party. He wore an orange shirt with baggy jeans, a shapeless cardigan over it, and a crinkled scarf around his neck; his barefeet was in trekking sandals. Ponader looked as if he was very happy with Jauch.
In a kind of final rebellion, the old, ironed and parted Federal Republic once again gathered all the indignation it could get hold of. The world wadded off the "Jesus freak" who MunichMercury reprimanded the "sockless party manager" who picture-The newspaper went deep into the paper archive and came up with the word "Lümmel!" out again. And indeed there was once a tacit agreement among the citizens of this country not to go below certain textile standards as soon as they moved out of the private sphere and into the public. Only by this point in time the agreement had long since been softened. Because how did Ponader see indeed out? He looked like the majority of the people out on the street.
Well, things haven't gotten any better since then.
July 2018, one hour on Munich's Leopoldstrasse. Early evening, 22 degrees. People are out and about in a wide variety of living conditions, from the office to home, while shopping late or even in the bars and restaurants. The location was chosen benevolently because a) not Berlin and b) Schwabing, with its tradition of spectacles. Nevertheless, the preparedness was that the situation would be serious. But the truth is that it is hopeless.
In addition to those who wear sneakers, flip-flops and canvas slippers, the rate of leather shoes is less than 30 percent. When it comes to trousers, in addition to jeans that are badly fitting because they are almost across the board, cargo shorts, track pants, three-quarter trousers with drawstring and leggings that would have been worn in bed earlier and perhaps for the bums, legs and bums course ; total stretch and elastane everywhere you look. The tops: T-shirts, tank tops, hoodies. In astonishing colors and patterns and so hopelessly warped that ironing wouldn't help anymore (apart from the fact that apparently nobody is ironing anymore). Four out of just 19 suits fit, we put a cloak of silence on the fit and quality of the shirts.
The crazy thing is: Anyone who has made a little effort to get dressed in the morning easily stands out from the crowd. A pretty brooch, a lovingly selected blouse, a neatly cut jacket or a skirt with interesting folds - that's all it takes. Otherwise, it should be noted that in the summer of 2018 the fabric either stretches around the body of the Germans or flutters around it like a tent and that there are rigid foam pads between the body and the street.
To avoid misunderstandings: Good clothing should of course also be comfortable. You should be able to breathe in it, move around, ideally be able to ride a bike. But everything seems to be comfortable that the majority of people still expect from their clothes. It no longer has to be beautiful, let alone elegant. She is also not loved, not even respected. It shouldn't express anything anymore, no joie de vivre, no anger, no self-respect, no joke, no rebellion. It should cover the body and fulfill basic functions, done, done. Like a mixer that you only expect to knead the marble cake batter before putting it back in the cupboard. Although it cannot be ruled out that Germans will take more time when choosing their mixer than when buying a complete outfit.
Fashion-conscious men are not in demand
If one differentiates between the sexes, then the men in this sausage-like state of "everything can, nothing has to" have made themselves even more comfortable than the women. However, with their express approval. "I find extremely fashion-conscious men very attractive": Only one percent of German women agreed to this statement in a Parship survey. One in three thought that "a man's fashion consciousness should be very limited". The preferred combination for him: T-shirt, jeans, sneakers. Fit - largely irrelevant.
The biggest joke of all is to call this look "sporty"; in its passivity it is not even that. It has been said for years that we lived in an era of advancing body fetishism. Have you not already written caustic texts about everyone dieting like crazy, taking bodytoning courses and otherwise tinkering with their bodies in order to look good on Instagram? None of this on the street. What you see instead is a kind of physical oblivion. In the comfortable clothes there are forgotten bodies that only fulfill basic functions, eat, drink, run, sit, sleep, reproduce, but are indifferent beyond that. Of course, you can also hang a worn T-shirt and cargo pants over a body that is worthless and therefore doesn't want to be staged, and that's good. The main thing is that nothing tweaks.
Barbara Vinken calls this an "aggressive speech act". You can meet them for lunch in the courtyard garden. Vinken, 58, is a professor of literary studies and one of the very few people in Germany who can talk about fashion in an illuminating way; Her book "Anziehed. The Secret of Fashion" was nominated for the 2014 Leipzig Book Fair Prize. Vinken therefore calls it an aggressive speech act, "when clothes only say I'm functional and comfortable and I don't care about the rest" - aggressive insofar as the wearer "denies the presence of others and the public space".
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