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Fashion Zeitgeist: Trends and Cycles in the Fashion System
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Fashion Zeitgeist: Trends and Cycles in the Fashion System: Barbara Vinken: Berg Publishers
See details. See all 4 brand new listings. Buy It Now. Fashion systems generally establish means for self-formation through dress, decoration, and gesture that attempt to regulate such tensions, conflicts, and ambiguities. Social change is defined as a succession of events that replace existing societal patterns with new ones over time.
This process is pervasive and can modify roles of men and women, lifestyles, family structures, and functions. Fashion theorists believe that fashion is a reflection of social, economic, political, and cultural changes, but also that fashion expresses modernity and symbolizes the spirit of the times Lehmann, ; Blumer ; Laver Fashion both reflects and expresses the specific time in history. The tension of youth versus age has influenced dress in the twentieth century.
The trend has been toward separate fashionable images for the younger and older consumer, especially with the burgeoning baby population that followed World War II.
Fashions for the young have tended to take on a life of their own, especially with the parade of retro looks of the last decades of the twentieth century that increasingly borrow images of recent time periods. Roach-Higgins reasons that because fashionable dress requires an awareness of change in the forms of dress within one's lifetime, the older consumer who has experienced that look before may choose not to participate Roach-Higgins, Eicher, and Johnson, p.
How one dresses for work and play has changed over time. A persistent trend of the twentieth century has been toward coveting leisure time coupled with an increasing need to look leisurely. Wearing casual clothing and leisurewear increased in the s because families moved to the suburbs and engaged in many outdoor activities and sports.
Clothing for spectator sports has increased, as has clothing for participation in many sports, such as tennis, golf, jogging, cycling, skiing, and rock climbing. In the s the number of women who adopted pantsuits encouraged the trend to more casual dressing.
In the s the workplace was infiltrated by casual dress on Fridays. The formal-informal nature of dress reflects how much importance is placed on dress for work and play, but also the ambiguity and tension involved. Clothes are fundamental to the modern consumer's sense of identity.
That criticism of one's clothing and appearance is taken more personally and intensely than criticism of one's car or house suggests a high correlation between appearance and personal identity Craik, p.
People may buy a new product to identify with a particular group or to express their own personality. Simmel explained this dual tendency of conformity and individuality, reasoning that the individual found pleasure in dressing for self-expression, but at the same time gained support from dressing similarly to others.
In this way fashion can provide identity, both as an emblem of hierarchy and equalizer of appearance. Whether or not fashion and the way products are combined upon the body can be considered as a visual language has been a source of discussion in recent years. Barthes insists that fashion be perceived as a system, a network of relationships. Davis concludes that it is better to consider fashion as a code and not as a language, but a code that includes expression of such fundamental aspects of an individual as age, sex, status, occupation, and interest in fashion.
Fashion favors the critical gaze of the knowing observer, or the one "in the know," and the wearer who arranges the body for his own delight and enjoyment. Perceptions of the observer and wearer of fashion are sharpened based upon the many potential variations in lines, shapes, textures, and colors. For example, clothing of French inspiration and origin emphasized contour and cut of dress historically. Fashion changes occurred in the layout of the garment, which in turn focused attention on the silhouette and details, such as bias cutting and shaping DeLong In contrast, societies where traditional dress has been worn, Korea, for example, fashion in traditional dress has derived more from the colors, motifs, and patterns adorning the surfaces, with the layout of the garments holding relatively constant.
Thus subtle meaning derives not from the proportions of the chogore and chima , but from the variations found in the treatment of the surfaces Geum and DeLong Popular culture can be defined loosely as those elements of entertainment that run alongside, within, and often counter to the elite structures of society. In the seventeenth century civilizing agents of aristocratic society included courtly entertainment, tournament, masque ball, and opera. But at the same time, popular culture became subject to increasing entrepreneurial control and commodification, with widening appeal to the urban merchant class Breward , p.
A new conception of popular culture was pertinent to the potential of dress as a communicator of social distinction and belonging. This movement preceded and contributed to the consumer and technological revolutions of the eighteenth century.
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Today popular culture is enhanced by the influence of mass media, and the medium has become the message, in many ways. According to Wilson , fashion has become the connective tissue of the cultural organism and is essential to the world of mass communication, spectacle, and modernity. Fashion is an accessible and flexible means of expressing modernity.
The fashionable body has been associated with the city as a locus of social interaction and display Breward, p. In the nineteenth century fashion was identified with a sense of contradiction of old and new. Modernity resulted in part from new technologies and a sense of the modern resulting from new ideas of design and consumption. Tensions from a growing commodification of fashionable trends emphasized the worldly and metropolitan. In the twentieth century modernity was identified through various but subtle means, from the way the dress contoured the body, to obvious product branding.
As a means of expressing modernity, Western fashions have been adopted by non-Western societies.
Fashion Zeitgeist : Trends and Cycles in the Fashion System by Barbara Vinken (2005, Paperback)
In some societies where traditional styles of dress were prevalent, the men were quick to adopt Western business suits. Women have been slower to adopt Western dress in favor of traditional styles that express historical continuity. This creates an ambivalent message related to gender: Are women excluded from the modern world or are they simply the purveyors of tradition? Traditional dress in South Korea is more often seen on older women on occasions of celebration Geum and DeLong.
Both Chinese men and women have been encouraged recently to adopt Western styles of dress Wilson A tension exists when women have been assigned the dual role of being fashionable as well as the subordinate gender Breward In the last two centuries fashion has been primarily assigned to women, and it follows that fashionable dress and the beautification of the self could be perceived as expressions of subordination.
Male dress has been somewhat overlooked.
Fashion Zeitgeist : Trends and Cycles in the Fashion System by Barbara Vinken (2005, Paperback)
Veblen in the nineteenth century described separate spheres of the male and female, with feminine sartorial dress as a symbol of enforced leisure and masculine dress a symbol of power. Display and appearance of the body were considered innately feminine pursuits and thus the model was constructed in which overt interest in clothing appearance implied a tendency toward unmanliness and effeminacy.
This gave rise to ultra-conservative, non-expressive male dress codes that prioritized the uniformity of the city suit as the model for respectable middle classes for males in most of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries Breward, p. This model does not entirely explain the way men consumed fashion, for example, the aesthete of the ls and dandy of the ls.
Such expressions of difference in gender roles and fashionable appearances of men and women also occur in other historical periods. Within medieval culture, the display of masculinity and femininity varied according to class, age, wealth, and nationality. Clothing, fashionably cut, moved toward overt display of the body and its sexual characteristics Breward, p.
Interpretations of a male and female ideal permeated visual and literary interpretations of the human body. The male ideal focused upon proportion, strength, nobility, and grace; the female ideal included diminutive size, delicacy, and heightened color. In medieval society, concepts of femininity included monopoly on production and maintenance of textiles, clothing, and accessories and the display of patriarchal wealth and status.
When the monopoly of women was broken, production of clothing moved from the home to the public sphere. Male-dominated systems of apprenticeships emerged for weavers, cloth cutters, and tailors; the mass production and marketing system was born.
The fashion industry has led the way, or followed, depending upon the nature of the fashion and its origins Wilson Fashions serve as a reflection of their time and place and can be determined by society, culture, history, economy, lifestyle, and the marketing system. The market for fashion ranges from the world of couture to mass-produced clothing called ready-to-wear. The couture fashion system and the couturier, who regularly presents a collection of clothing, originated in Paris, France. The couturier caters to the handmade, made-to-measure, exquisite product.
In some ways the couturier functions as an artist, but when the product fails that designer ceases to exist. In this way the couturier walks a fine line between artist and industrialist Baudot, p. The dominance of Paris as an international center depends as much on its sophistication as a fashion center as on the superiority of its clothing Steele Other countries beside France have taken on fashion leadership-notably, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States-and each country has placed its unique stamp on fashion Agins For example, Milan, the hub of the Italian fashion industry is close to the country's leading textile mills in the Lake Como region.
The Italians not only produce beautiful fabrics, they also design beautiful clothes as exemplified by such notable talents as Giorgio Armani and Krizia. Though some may consider fashion frivolous, it is also considered a serious, lucrative business in capitalist society. The United States has been a leader in the technologies required for mass production and mass marketing of apparel, making fashion a democratic possibility, available to all. To provide clothing at moderate cost for all citizens took two primary developments, mass production and mass distribution Kidwell and Christman Mass production required developing the technology for middle-quality clothing that could be made available for the majority.
Mass distribution required the retailing of ready-made clothing and innovations in salesmanship and advertising. Department stores sprang up in every city following the Civil War and by the end of the century, mail-order houses were developed sufficiently to reach all citizens in the United States. The clothing revolution that occurred in the twentieth century in the United States was a double revolution.
The first was the making of clothing, from the homemade and custom-made to the ready-made or factory-made; the second was the wearing of clothing, from clothing of class display where clothing was worn as a sign of social class and occupation, to the clothing of democracy where all could dress alike. According to Kidwell and Christman , in the eighteenth century anyone walking in Philadelphia or Boston could easily have distinguished townspeople from country folk by the striking differences in their clothing.
Clothing was distinctive because of differences in textiles and clothing construction. America was dependent upon England's textile industry so the rich purchased fine-quality silks, woolens, and cottons while others had limited access to fabrics that were coarse and middle to low grade.
The tailor and dressmaker made clothing for the rich and the amateur made clothing for the average person. In the nineteenth century, the industrial revolution brought the machine, the factory, and new sources of power. Om boka Fashion Zeitgeist Although it is appealing to think that fashion has taken a sharp turn away from conventions established in the industry over the past century and more, is this really the case? Vinken describes 'Fashion Zeitgeist' as a trend characterized by representations of traces of the past. She considers the key concepts behind designers such as Yamamoto, Gaultier, and Lagerfeld.
The originality of Yamamoto's multi-layered look stems from his philosophy that it is the individual sum of experience that is important, not the collective consequences of history. Martin Margiela, although he himself refuses to be photographed or appear in the public eye, brings new individuality into fashion.
Chanel, under the direction of Karl Lagerfeld, is viewed as the only fashion house to have remained fresh after years, yet is this success essentially proof of the self-referential qualities fashion has adopted?
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