The chicken and egg situation of reflectivity means that consumerism drives desire, and cultural tradition drives consumerism, thus fixing a trend in its narrow margins and giving designers an open yet niche platform to show their talent with. The music scene is a main influence to subcultural society, as well as popular fiction in the form of books and film. Album art and wardrobe choices matched with the emotional theme of the product serve to underpin what causes others to buy into that particular image. However the individual interpretations of each symbol and reference are unique to particular crowds who openly share their ideas. Even still, many people do not share their deepest ideas about what goes on in their minds in terms of what things mean to them, it perhaps is a subconscious relevance more than a conscious one in many cases.
So as art portrays society in a mixture of abstract and realistic ways, often reaching into the realms of hyper-realism, individuals personally relate to the emotional qualities within the production. The art then becomes symbolic to them in such a way that encourages them to emulate the sensation of the art with their own code of conduct, from dress sense to external behaviour. Perhaps internally too, thoughts can be amplified which correlate to the mindset perceived from the art. This union of universally acceptable concepts into personal circumstances creates the desire to reflect back what the work has inspired them to project. The internal tapestry of thought which correlates to the symbols in the piece are ultimately reflected back somehow into society.
In this way, a 'proto-subculture' can grow into a 'neo-tribe' via the use of art and marketing of materials which tap into the feeling it inspires. By watching how society reacts to particular themes, it is therefore accessible for retailers to know which things will sell best in their shops. This continual mirroring back and forth, via the perspective shifting lens of the media and the consumer, movements of style are kept in niche bubbles of art production, figure-headed by the giants in that creative field.
This postmodern idea of neo-tribalism stems from the fact that the alternative scene in general is all inclusive to all who identify with it personally. The rules of entry are slack, but the rules of personal identification are in fact very strict. With a forever growing array of genres, styles to match grow in equalling numbers. These styles each carry distinct characteristics in clothing and taste in art, and the behaviour could be categorised according to the manner in which the artists are portrayed to behave, at least to some degree.
As a mode of expression which involves particular behaviours of which some can become ritualistic in some individuals, participation in the alternative scene is majorly related to the emotional landscape of the person and the current style of available art which portrays their chosen outlook on their situation. What they identify with is their choice, but in the presentation of art, especially music and film, particular iconography is called upon in order to culturally relate to particular feelings we know. Dramatic frontages and album sleeves mean we get a sense of the music or the film before we even press play. This correlates to the way people choose to dress also, in that they perhaps want to give the impression that they will behave in ways culturally related to their chosen style culture.
Art being a reinforcing mechanism that validates individual consumers by echoing like to like feelings, perhaps serves as a positive influence to the young adults especially, however the consumer edge which capitalises on the natural desire to feel part of something and express it somehow is perhaps causing the infusion of style to become a little too homogeneous, and the split-off sections that people fall into are becoming ever more mental, with no real visible distinction between them until we go into the dark corners of the greasy clubs.
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