Vanessa Rosales ’14: A Trailblazer in Fashion Criticism

Vanessa Rosales '14

Vanessa Rosales ’14

Originally published in Caras, Columbia in October 2012, Vanessa Rosales, MA Fashion Studies class of 2014, is featured for her courage, strength, and ability to push the boundaries of fashion journalism.  Fashion is more than a material product–there is such a richness and depth to fashion when it is examined as part of our culture and our experience as human beings.  From the readings, discussions, and classes in Parsons’ MA Fashion Studies program, it has become increasingly apparent that the study of fashion reveals many of the deepest aspirations and desires of not simply those who design clothing, but that fashion itself—the clothing worn—mirrors societal values and aesthetic standards that are at that moment either in the process of being validated or contested by society at large.

Vanessa explains, “As a fashion critic and writer in Colombia, I became to be recognized for being the first to openly criticize the country´s fashion culture, comprising it under bad taste but also as a symptom of a patriarchal society´s reflex: women dressing solely to indulge the visual fetishisms of men. A reflex that unveiled deeper realities in gender relations and social values. Many people enthusiastically supported my acid and thoroughly argued commentary. Others accused me of snobbery and of misunderstanding the particularity of tastes bred by the context. Looking back, I now understand that I was trying to comment on a deeper subject: the power of the male gaze and the battle in a woman´s life to find her sense of worth beyond the approval of men. I was, instinctively, attempting to write cultural criticism by using journalistic fashion writing as a medium. I felt, however, that as much as I was onto something – never before written about, as I wanted to do so in my country – I needed further conceptual background to do it as I yearned. This is one of the reasons I came to Fashion Studies, the Master of the Arts program in Parsons The New School for Design, where I was granted a scholarship.  Today, I feel I am more able to write about the topic and to create new knowledge, as I have always wanted: by bringing together different genres to create a new style of fashion writing; one that draws from the theoretical and the conceptual but finds its ultimate outlet in fashion and style journalism.”

Be sure to follow Vanessa and her work on Vanguard.

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