Recent Observation

20/6/12 – Skull Dress

Today I recognised a woman walking along the other side of the street who was wearing an oversized skull dress / t-shirt. The top was black and the skull covered the entire dress / T-shirt.

I was unable to take a photograph, although I did use my sketch pad in order to create a quick sketch with a basic outline of the image. I am beginning to recognise that the image of the skull or the skeleton is used for dresses or oversized t-shirts, which have become very noticeable within the past couple of months.

Is there a desire to wear the skull as a fashionable icon? Is the postmodern culture subconsciously using the skull as another commercial or consumable product? Are people wearing the skull without any second thought? Perhaps the skull has lost the connection with death or mortality through mass production or capitalism.

On the other hand society may have an interest in death, which may raise an awareness for one’s own existence or presence, which is also explained through Elizabeth Klaver’s, Autopsy in Contemporary Culture. Perhaps the Western Culture use the image of the Skull in order to become accustomed or familiar with the subject of death.

Antoni Cadafalch also explains that the Spanish Invasion in Mexico also introduced very dangerous and unhygienic ‘working conditions’, which caused life threatening illnesses amongst the Mexican Population. According to Cadafalch, those who were still alive would communicate or celebrate with the dead in order to eliminate their own anxieties surrounding death. Cadafalch notes that the communication with the deceased has become an essential aspect to the Day of the Dead Festival, although one could argue that the Western Culture may use images of the skull in order to connect others with the subject of death.

Klaver, Elizabeth. Sites of Autospy in Contemporary Culture.  New York: State University of New York 2005.

Cadafalch, Antoni. The Day of the Dead: El Dia De Los Muertos.  London: Koreno Books, 2011 p. 7 -13

Foltlyn, Jacque Lynn. “To Die For: Skull Style and Corpse Chic in Fashion, Imagery and Branding.” Scan Journal 7 (2010).


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