Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design

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B(ehind) T(he) S(cenes)
Project overview
Student name
Erzsébet Jiang
Degree level
Year of project
For my graduation project I’ve chosen a musical phenomenon that currently makes waves in the Word’s pop culture scene: the K-pop.
I’m inspired by its ambiguity, how it operates with illusionistic narratives and the relation it has with the sociology of fashion and how it influences the trends. I’m researching specifically the different portrayal of male idols, trying to describe femininity and androgyny. Some of the important definitions are iconography, idol, admiration and the detail oriented, overly choreographed alter ego that got presented on stage. I’ve designed an experimental clothing and pattern collection for men that reflects to this playful, fluid, and alternative reality.
Is the portrayal of feminine male ideals in today’s pop culture an exclusively contemporary trend? In my thesis I set out to explore this question with the analysis of occurrences that transcended eras and cultures by relying on the sociology and history of fashion. I have used different references from history and high culture, searching for a common ground between the tradition of male actors impersonating females on stage and the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s androgynous male icons. After finalising this preliminary study I’ve compared it with my own research subject that was the K-pop industry. During the process, I’ve applied modern anthropology theories such as de-westernisation and multiple modernity. I have evaluated the mutual dependence between stars and fans, the power and influence that these idols hold culturally, economically, and culturally that enable them to collaborate with global brands. To sum it up, I have interpreted some specific idols’ appearance and behaviour to tackle my main question by using fashion photoshoots, interviews, music videos and online interactions and reactions between the fans on social media.
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