Fashion Concepts and Theories Chapter 1 and Lecture Notes
The Fashion Impulse
FSN 223: Dr. Ben Barry i. Investigating the Fashion Impulse (p19)
Clothing is a complex system of cultural communication.
Expresses collective and individual identity, part of social performance
Some argue that fashion is a cultural practice that coincides with
capitalism and consumer culture (we argue against this notion)
Fashionable impulses: constantly changing stylistic registers
The label of “customary dress” ignores individuality
Examples of early fashion shaped by individual taste: Europe, Canadian
fur trade, Japanese fashions in tattooing, etc.
o Show that fashion impulses were not much different from those of
Individual taste has been limited historically with sumptuary laws
ii. Color and Fashion Throughout Time (p34)
Color has historically been used to identify hierarchy or symbolism in
i. Cost of dyes tied together color and social elites
ii. Chinese mourning rituals
Explore relationships between fashion and :
The Fashion Impulse: difference between “fashion”, “dress”, “clothing”.
Does fashion exist outside consumer culture?
Fashion Cycles, Symbols, and Flows: how does fashion borrow from
history? Semiotic perspectives, the diffusion of a style
Fashion and Representation: how does fashion communicate ideas about
sexuality, race, gender, class, etc.
The Eurocentric Fashion System: the emergence of fashion capitals,
Fashion, Body Techniques and Identity: how do we use fashion to express