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How The Recession Changed Movies, Fashion, And Music

Art is a reaction to society and the recession has caused a noticeable shift.

Everybody knows that for the last 3-5 years has been tough. If you don't, it's called the recession. The impact on the economy is widely known and felt but how has it affected culture? How has having less money and an uncertain economic climate shift our behaviour as a society.

In the arts you'll find the answer. It is a direct reflection of culture as to where it was, where it is and where it's going. Eras have always  been synonymously associated with the likes of fashion, film, and music. Or vice versa. Art is a reaction to society and the recession has caused a noticeable shift.

During economic uncertainty, culture is wild.


Music, a form of escapism, turned to dance. "[Just Dance] makes you feel good inside. Simple as that." says Lady Gaga, arguably the biggest artist to come out of the recession, of her first single. Artists such as Ke$ha and producer David Guettas who create anthemic party music also emerged and were embraced. The likes of Usher and Black Eyed Peas followed suit with lively but soulless dance tracks. The recession has been an emotional time and people just wanted to dance it all away.

Fashion projected an optimistic appearance  to conceal a less than bright reality.

Hand in hand, fashion was also extravagant. "Women are not necessarily looking for basics ... they're looking for wow pieces, something that inspires more of an emotional reaction." says Colleen Sherin, Fashion Market Director of Saks. Conceptual designers such as Mary Katrantzou and the Rodarte sisters gained recognition. Contemporary designers such as Alexander Wang skyrocketed to success with a price point lower than its ready-to-wear counterpart. But perhaps the most telling is the resurgence of Versace. The house heavily influenced the extravagance during the 80s; the other era to have had experienced a recession. Fashion projected an optimistic appearance (neons and loud prints were big trends) to conceal a less than bright reality.


The movie industry however has been realistic and chose to green lit surefire films. Ones with a built in audience. Franchises such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Toy Story, and Fast and Furious were given sequels. While X-Men, Batman, and James Bond were all rebooted to once again, entertain it's large audience. Uber-popular books such as Twilight, The Hunger Games, and Girl With A Dragon Tattoo were given their film-adaption due to its large fan bases. While Disney is banked on nostalgia with film adaptions of its classic fairy tales. The movie industry is the rare industry to experience growth during the recession. The box office experienced a 0.6 percent increase in 2009 and 5 percent in 2010. "People seek relief in forgetting their problems, so they go to the movies, and it is the least expensive form of entertainment." explains Patrick Corcoran, spokesman for the National Association of Theater Owners.

Just like how culture echoed the uncertainty and chaos of the recession, a simple and back to basics philosophy in the arts is emerging.

However, for the past year or so, another significant shift has been happening again. Just like how culture echoed the uncertainty and chaos of the recession, a simple and back to basics philosophy in the arts is emerging. This signals the start of a new beginning with a clean slate.


Recently, a slew of fashion houses have had to appoint new creative directors. Interestingly, all have chosen a back to basics approach referencing their house's original founders' penchant for structure and cut. "At this point, we need new shapes and proportions. New ways of being unconventional without artificial exaggerations." says Jil Sander who returned once again to her namesake label. With the economy recovering, fashion is dressing for the real world rather than the fantasy world."I want them to wear it on the street." says Raf Simons, who stripped Dior of Galliano's theatrics completely. Still, coming from a recession, fashion is cautious and people don't want to buy more, they want to buy smarter. "[Celine] suggest something new but made to last far beyond fast-trend fashion." says Phoebe Philo, creative director of Celine, who has also been instrumental in the return to minimalism sheds light why this shift in fashion resonates.

"Music is less about songs that make you move and more about songs that make you feel."
In music, it's the same case: it's less about songs that make you move and more about songs that make you feel. It may be in the somber sounds of Lana Del Rey and Frank Ocean's whose emoting easily comes through. It maybe in Drake's introspective rhymes. It may be in the returning of the RnB genra found in Justin Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience, Solange's True, or Miguel's Kaleidoscope Dream. Whatever the sound, people are ready to hear truth.

photos via mbblegal, lastfm, hdwallpapers, style, beyonce


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