Sociology Index


Sociological studies of fashion culture relate the studies of fashion to two central sociological themes: social control and social change. Sociologists who have dealt with fashion as a mechanism of social control have focused their attention on the relationship between fashion culture and custom. To what extent fashion culture is oriented towards innovation and to what extent it is a mechanism of convention? Fashion and consumer culture is about consumption, media representations of the fashion industry, consumer activism, social class, and conspicuous consumption.

Fashion culture is not just imitating peers, but to be 'in fashion' capturing the mood and the fashion culture of the times. By appropriating fashion culture discourse, consumers generate personalized fashion narratives that negotiate key existential tensions and that often express resistance to dominant fashion culture norms or Consumer Culture at large. From fashion culture and beauty culture to music and movies, youngsters have consumed and influenced what manufacturers, marketers, and retailers offered to them.

Fashion Culture And Social Control

1) Relationship between fashion culture and social stratification: does fashion culture mirror the social structure or does it represent an equalising force? is fashion culture an exculsionary discourse originated by the mainstream Úlite, or does it give voice to marginalised discourses?

2) Functions, ideological meanings, and rationale of the uniform in general, school uniform in particular. A group research project provides illustration of ideological critique through critical discourse analysis.

3) Is body alterations like tattoo, piercing and cosmetic surgery a discourse of empowerment and control over one's body, or is it locked into the terms of reference of patriarchal ideology.

Fashion Culture And Stratification

Trickle down theory or conspicuous consumption theory regard differentiation and stratification as essential preconditions of fashion. Smelser and Blumer regard fashion as an expression of collective behavior.

Trickle-down effect or phenomenon occurs when the lower social class adopt a fashion culture. When fashion culture trickles down and are no longer exclusive, it will no longer be desirable to the higher social classes.

Fashion culture theorists like Davis point out that not only do fashions fail to trickle down, but often the inspiration for new fashions start from the street.

Fashion culture theorists like Crane argue that consumer society replaced class with "lifestyle groups".

Fashion culture theorists like Pierre Bourdieu and Jean Baudrillard see social hierarchy reflected in subtle practices of education and consumption that underlie apparent social change.

Books On Fashion Culture

Clothing Art: The Visual Culture of Fashion, 1600-1914 by Aileen Ribeiro. Artists have documented the ever-evolving trends in fashion, popularized certain styles of dress, and at times even designed fashions.

The Fabric of Cultures: Fashion, Identity, and Globalization - by Eugenia Paulicelli, Hazel Clark. The Fabric of Cultures examines the impact of fashion as a manufacturing industry and as a culture industry that shapes the identities of nations and cities in a cross-cultural perspective, within a global framework.

Some Wore Bobby Sox : The Emergence of Teenage Girls' Culture, 1920-1945 (Girls' History and Culture) By Kelly Schrum.
Images of teenage girls in poodle skirts dominated American popular culture on the 1950's. But as Kelly Schrum shows, teenage girls were swooning over pop idols and using their allowances to buy the latest fashions well beforehand.

Nothing in Itself: Complexions of Fashion (Theories of Contemporary Culture) by Blau Herbert.
Beyond the theatricality of fashion, or its commerce, are other seductive issues that come with dress in its fascination-effect, including the validity, vanities, and deceits of appearance.

Fashion Cultures: Theories, Explorations, and Analysis
By Stella Bruzzi (Editor), Pamela Church Gibson (Editor).
From the catwalk to the shopping mall, from the big screen to the art museum, fashion plays an increasingly central role in contemporary culture. Fashion Cultures investigates why we are so fascinated by fashion and the associated spheres of photography, magazines and television, and shopping.

A Matter of Taste : How Names, Fashions, and Culture Change - By Stanley Lieberson.
Social scientists have long been interested in the question of how notions of taste and fashion culture change over time. Do aesthetic judgments reflect external forces such as state policies, class stratification, or commercial advertising, or are these judgments informed by largely subjective factors that are difficult to pin down in scientific terms?

Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations
By Christopher Lasch
Christopher lasch has touched a very sensistive social nerve in his book "The Culture Of Narcissism." He gives the reader the awareness of living in a society that has become increasingly self-absorbed, out of touch with its past and future, and totally focused on the moment where everyone is seeking decadence and immediate self-gratification.

Fashion, Culture, and Identity - By Fred Davis.
Fred Davis discusses several intriguing theories about fashion's social and psychological significance in modern culture. What makes clothes fashion; how fashions evolve; how fashion choices express social status, gender identity, sexuality, and conformity; and how fashion is accepted are all discussed. Is the desire to be "in fashion" universal, or is it unique to Western culture? How do fashions change?

Social Communication in Advertising: Persons, Products and Images of Well-Being. By William Leiss, Stephen Kline, Sut Jhally.

Consumers and Luxury : Consumer Culture in Europe 1650-1850
By Maxine Berg (Editor), Helen Clifford (Editor).
This highly entertaining and interdisciplinary volume brings together an outstanding group of scholars to chart the rise of consumer culture in Europe during this period.

Beauty and Business: Commerce, Gender, and Culture in Modern America (Hagley Perspectives on Business and Culture) - By Philip Scranton (Editor).
Our ideas about what is attractive are influenced by a broad range of social and economic factors, and in Beauty and Business leading historians set out to provide this important cultural context. How have retailers shaped popular consciousness about beauty? And how, in turn, have cultural assumptions influenced the commodification of beauty?

In the Culture Society: Art, Fashion Culture and Popular Music
By Angela McRobbie.
We may be living in a material world, but Angela McRobbie pinpoints a "new materialism" in In the Culture Society. She provides a lively, incisive look at how different artistic and cultural practices develop in contemporary consumer culture, by examining the new populism of young artists such as Damien Hirst and Tracy Emin and the proliferation of underground forms of dance music.

100 New Fashion Designers by Hywel Davies. The fashion industry has always celebrated innovative design and young talented fashion designers can make a huge impact as they explore new ideas and push boundaries. This book showcases the diverse and unique work of the best 100 new creatives in fashion design from around the world. The ultimate reference guide to the world's movers and shakers in fashion today this is a book all fashionistas will want to own.

Paris-New York: Design Fashion Culture 1925-1940 by Donald Albrecht. A burst of creative energy in the fields of architecture, design, and fashion culture characterized the years between the two World Wars. The era's most creative figures rarely worked in isolation, preferring instead to participate in international dialogues that crossed national boundaries and linked capital cities in collaborative artistic enterprise.