What Is Fashion?

Topics: Social class, Fashion, Sociology Pages: 6 (2434 words) Published: September 1, 2013
An in depth discussion about fashion, its influence towards society and primarily causes responsible for these processes This essay offers a sociological approach towards fashion in which will be critically evaluated, in context of its influence on society, origins of fashion and whether external or/and internal causes are responsible for these processes. This essay begins with an introduction to fashion in a social aspect. According to Kuwamura (2005) the meaning of fashion is not just about visual clothing but also the invisible elements behind it such as symbolic meanings and a sense of competition. Fashion is a trend of imitating those whom is admired and envied however fashion is never stationary or fixed, it is ever-changing but does not mean the old is discarded just may be merely adjusted (Flugel, 1930). Rubinstein (2001) argues that a style becomes a fashion through a process called “collective selection” the fashion is then imitated. This essay then goes into the history of fashion, what fashion was like before twenty first century, what the clothing meant to different social classes, with this it will explain how fashion was exposed to other social classes not just the aristocrats. It is then followed by an evaluation of the importance of fashion in general for society then briefly mentions about the fashion values for boys and girls, men and women. Finally, concluding this essay with a summary of possible internal and/or external causes of the processes for fashion. One definition for fashion is the mass production of goods for adornment in which are imitated from people that are admired and envied however this is more of a modern phenomenon (Edwards, 1997; Flugel, 1930). The definition for fashion will never be stationary therefore it is conceived as irrational because it has no content, works as an external decoration, and carries no intellectual elements (Kuwamura, 2005). According to Kuwamura (2005) and Flugel (1930) fashion is a concept of imitation, it is a fundamental human trait to imitate those who are admired or envied (e.g. celebrities), and however Herbert Bulmer argued that a style becomes a fashion through the process of “collective selection” (as cited in Rubenstein, 2003 pg. 14). For example a designer offers a large number of styles on the runway; only a few of these are chosen by buyers, magazine editors, and boutique owners which are then offered to their clients. When consumers actually buy the clothes, those styles become the fashion; consumer relevance, not the designer’s, turns a style into fashion (Rubenstein, 2001). In other words those who are admired get their styles from boutiques where the designers had offered their styles beforehand therefore consumers buys the selected styles of their choice and those styles then becomes the fashion – the style becomes a fashion quicker when the buyer is one an admired or envied person. Thus before something becomes a fashion it goes through the process of collective selection then becomes the fashion object for people to imitate. However the paradox of fashion is that everyone is trying at the same time to be like but yet different, from the person they admire or envy – to be like them in so far as they regards them as superiors, to be unlike them (in the sense of being more ‘fashionable’) (Flugel, 1930). Another essential concept of fashion lies in competition – decoration has a sexual and social value, attractive, and striking forms of ornaments being useful both for purposes of sexual allurement and as signs of rank, wealth, or power – following the convention that the more elaborate and decorative the costume, the higher the social position of the wearer however this was a fashion phenomenon before the nineteenth century (Flugel, 1930; Kuwamura, 2005). In contrast the bohemian fashion sense was less is more thus individuals tend to wear clothing that is simple and has a relaxing feel to it but yet contemporary. The Bohemian style applies to...

References: Edwards T. 1997, Men in the mirror: men’s fashion, masculinity and consumer society, Castell, London
Flugel J.C. 1930, The psychology of clothes, The Hogarth Press, London
Heywood L. & Garcia R.J., 2012, ‘Fashion as Adaptation’, in Tarran S. & Jolles M. (ed.), Fashion Talk: Undressing the Power of Style, SUNY Press, New York, pp. 67-83
Kuwamura Y. 2005, Fashion-ology: an introduction to fashion studies, Berg Publishers, New York
Pomerantz S. 2008, Girls, style and school identities, Palgrave Macmillan, New York
Rubinstein P. 2001, Dress codes: meanings and messages in American culture, Westview Press, United States of America
School of Social and Policy Studies, Flinders University 2013, Cultural sociology topic reader: Florida R. 2003, ‘The Big Morph (A Rant)’ in The Rise of the Creative Class, Melbourne: Pluto Press, pp. 190-214, SOCI2018, semester 1, Flinders University, Adelaide
School of Social and Policy Studies, Flinders University 2013, Cultural sociology topic reader: Wilson E. 2000, ‘The Bohemian Stage’ Bohemians: The Glamorous Outcasts, London: Tauris, pp. 28-51, SOCI2018, semester 1, Flinders University, Adelaide
Wilson E. (1994), ‘Fashion and Postmodernism’, in John Storey (ed.), Cultural Theory and Popular Culture, Harvester Wheatsheaf, New York, pp. 187
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • fashion Essay
  • Fashion Identity Essay
  • Fashion! Essay
  • Fashion, Gender and Identity Essay
  • Fashion what is it Essay
  • What influences teen fashion Essay
  • What Is Fashion Essay
  • What Is Fashion Research Paper

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free
Qatar Riyal | Gerard Butler | Season 6 Episode 7 The Broken Man