Andy Hertzfeld coined the phrase “reality distortion field” while describing Steve Jobs as the master of manipulation. He said, “We all think about the lives that we want to one day be living… the trick is to live in that world now. You have to create a reality distortion field and believe it.” In the article Glamour and the Art of Persuasion, Virginia Postrel explained, “Glamour is, rather, a form of nonverbal rhetoric that moves and persuades not through words but through images, concepts, and totems. By binding image and desire, glamour gives us pleasure, even as it heightens our yearning. It leads us to feel that the life we dream of exists, and to desire it even more.”
Old Hollywood, red lips, black and white classic films, flashing lights… these historic images commonly flicker through our minds upon hearing the word, “California.” THE REAL CALIFORNIAN was inspired by humans’ intrinsic tendency to romanticize and deliberately believe in projected, distorted realities. This is specific to California—the idealized land of stardom—and society’s growing glamorization of the self.
The content of the inspiration photos (taken during a summer road trip through the Mojave Desert and a hike up Top of the World Park in Laguna) depicts the true, outdoorsy Californian lifestyle. Half un-edited and half Instagram-filtered, these spliced, juxtaposed photos address social media’s ongoing criticism: “self-promotion triggers more self-promotion, and the world on social media gets further and further from reality.” The manipulated photos, overly pigmented color story, distorted denim swatches, and warped garment designs portray the universal preference for fantasy over reality.
“Even in our wised-up age, we do not want a world bereft of glamour’s magic. For all its dangers, glamour is a special art. We value not only its transient pleasures but the inspiration and insight it provides. Glamour may be an illusion, but it reveals the truth about what we desire and, sometimes, what we can become.”
RISD + Levi Strauss & Co. Collaboration.
Students were encouraged to experiment with denim and design an innovative, commercially viable collection consistent with Levi’s Californian style. We were required to submit a tech pack with a wash development for the classic 501 Icon jeans. My wash was selected and produced as a prototype at their Eureka Innovation Lab in San Francisco.
One of 8 senior winners.