In the 2006 film version of The Devil Wears Prada, Miranda Priestly, played by Meryl Streep, scold her unattractive assistant for imagining that high fashion doesn’t affect her. Priestly explains how the deep blue color of the assistant’s sweater descended over the years from fashion shows to department stores and to the bargain bin in which the poor girl doubtless found her garment.
This top-down conception of the fashion business couldn’t be more out of date or at odds with feverish world described in Overdressed, Elizabeth Cline’s three-year indictment of “fast fashion”. In the last decades or so, advances in technology have allowed mass-market labels such as Zara, H&M, and Uniqlo to react to trends more quickly and anticipate demand more precisely. Quckier turnrounds mean less wasted inventory, more frequent releases, and more profit. Those labels encourage style-conscious consumers to see clothes as disposal—— meant to last only a wash or two, although they don’t advertise that——and to renew their wardrobe every few weeks. By offering on-trend items at dirt-cheap prices, Cline argues, these brands have hijacked fashion cycles, shaking all industry long accustomed to a seasonal pace.
The victims of this revolution, of course, are not limited to designers. For H&M to offer a 5.95 knit miniskirt in all its 2300-plus stores around the world, it must rely on low-wage, overseas labor, order in volumes that strain natural resources, and use massive amount of harmful chemicals.
Overdressed is the fashion world’s answer to consumer activist bestsellers like Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Mass-produced clothing, like fast food, fills a hunger and need, yet is non-durable, and wasteful,” Cline argues, Americans, she finds, buy roughly 20 billion garments a year——about 64 items per person——and no matter how much they give away, this excess leads to waste.
Towards the end of Overdressed, Cline introduced her ideal, a Brooklyn woman named SKB, who, since 2008 has make all of her own clothes——and beautifully. But as Cline is the first to note, it took Beaumont decades to perfect her craft; her example, can’t be knocked off.
Though several fast-fashion companies have made efforts to curb their impact on labor and the environment——including H&M, with its green Conscious Collection Line——Cline believes lasting-change can only be effected by the customer. She exhibits the idealism common to many advocates of sustainability, be it in food or in energy. Vanity is a constant; people will only start shopping more sustainably when they can’t afford to it.
【題組】25. What is the subject of the text?
(A) Satire on an extravagant lifestyle.
(B) Challenge to a high-fashion myth.
(C) Criticism of the fast-fashion industry.
(D) Exposure of a mass-market secret.
Perhaps the most striking quality of satiric literature is its freshness, its originality
of perspective. Satire rarely offers original ideas. Instead it presents the familiar in a new
form. Satirists do not offer the world new philosophies. What they do is look at familiar
conditions from a perspective that makes these conditions seem foolish, harmful or
affected. Satire jars us out of complacence into a pleasantly shocked realization that
many of the values we unquestioningly accept are false. Don Quixote makes chivalry
seem absurd. Brave New World ridicules the pretensions of science. A Modest Proposal
dramatizes starvation by advocating cannibalism. None of these ideas is original.
Chivalry was suspected before Cervantes, humanists objected to the claims of pure
science before Aldous Huxley and people were aware of famine before Swift. It was not
the originality of the idea that made these satires popular. It was the manner of
expression the satiric method that made them interesting and entertaining Satires are
read because they are aesthetically satisfying works of art, not because they are morally
wholesome or ethically instructive. They are stimulating and refreshing because with
commonsense briskness they brush away illusions and secondhand opinions. With
spontaneous irreverence, satire rearranges perspectives, scrambles familiar objects into
incongruous juxtaposition and speaks in a personal idiom instead of abstract platitude.
Satire exists because there is a need for it. It has lived because readers appreciate a
refreshing stimulus, an irreverent reminder that they lived in a world of platitudinous
thinking, cheap moralizing, and foolish philosophy. Satire serves to prod people into an
awareness of truth. Satire tends to remind people that much of what they see, hear, and
read in popular media is sanctimonious, sentimental, and only partially true. Life
resembles in only a slight degree the popular image of it. Soldiers rarely hold the ideals
that movies attribute to them, nor do ordinary citizens devote their lives to unselfish
service of community. Intelligent people know these things but tend to forget them when
they do not hear them expressed.
【題組】46. What does this passage mainly discuss? .
(A) Reasons for the popularity of satire
(B) Popular topics of satire
(C) New philosophies emerging from satiric literature
(D) Difficulties of writing satiric literature
【題組】48. Which of the following can be found in satire literature? .
(A) Abstract discussion of moral and ethnics
(B) Odd combinations of objects and ideas
(C) Newly emerging philosophies
(D) Wholesome characters who are unselfish
【題組】49. According to this passage, there is a need for satire because people need to be .
(A) exposed to original philosophies when they are formulated
(B) reminded that popular ideas are often inaccurate
(C) told how they can be of service to their communities
(D) informed about new scientific development