Recently I got a hold of a beautifully curated Spring Summer catalog from LVC. The images converge on the October 1957 sputnik launch by the former USSR. Rocket City became the place where young engineers craved to work, on space projects, in the newly founded NASA. The re-enactments, the photographs offer, are beautifully staged, and the colors are graded as they would have been developed in the late 1950is. A slight nod to the photographic exploration mr. Hayashida took in the late 50is on America’s college campus is undeniably there too.
There’s just this one thing concerning the age of the models, that made me raise an eyebrow here and there. The advertised product is definitely not aimed to appeal to young people or, on further inspection, regarding the narratives supplied, for them to recreate. The garments are definitely aimed at a middle aged male target.
I remember playing with similar self-made rockets in my early teens, and although not wearing that brand of denim, i surely had a tough wearing pair of trousers and a short sleeved T-shirt on. But then, that was my daily attire when I was young, much younger.
Does this narrative and the imagery connected with it, link up to contemporary style based adult male subcultures? Let’s have a look at what happens, when grownups reinvent themselves in subcultural contexts.
When grown up men dive headfirst in the next motorcycle shop to buy themselves into the only subcultural frame that’s socially acceptable to live in at a certain age, they carry a slightly altered narrative with them concerning their early youth experiences with motorized transportation.
Sometimes they rewrite it to suit their newly discovered interest.
The rewriting of our own history is tied to the images that relate to it, to our biography. Those won’t necessarily be true to our autobiographical facts, but functionally to our current lifestyle and life project.
The historic framing images are subjected to, the fact that images represent a glimpse in a realm, whose past, present and future happens in the eyes of the viewers, leaves the insertion in our own narrative for us to actively force to fit in our biography.
Using the historic images of forgotten men in their work suits, caught in the exact moment, when transmitting their style and wardrobe from their time and culture, their social restraints, in our time, to achieve a contemporary style based biography, exactly this process can be seen and observed in the mainstream mediation big companies use to advertise their products. Investing further, it can also be spotted perused in the form of key signifiers of rather small obscure and (self) constrained subcultural niches of style based male biographies.
Referring stylistically to the early nineteenth century or to the mid century era and reframing it within our present realm is a key element to the singularization process to add value to the individual performance in the creative economy. That’s a main reading we can see in subjects involved in that branch of postmodern capitalistic society.
It’s inherent cultural constructivism leads to the artifacts subcultures are formed of: historizised biographies and latent escapistic signifiers surrounded by a public divided between deception and admiration.