Fashion Theory: A Reader

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From its beginnings in the fifteenth century, intensified interest in fashion and the study of fashion over the last thirty years has led to a vast and varied literature on the subject.

This collection of essays surveys and contextualizes the ways in which a wide range of disciplines have used a variety of theoretical approaches to explain, and sometimes to explain away, the astonishing variety, complexity and beauty of fashion. Themes covered include individual, social and gender identity, the erotic, consumption and communication.

By collecting together some of the most influential and important writers on fashion and exposing the ideas and theories behind what they say, this unique collection of extracts and essays brings to light the presuppositions involved in the things we think and say about fashion.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The clarity of Barnard's introduction, which sets out the complex agenda of his subject with an elegance that never simplifies, together with the judicious choice of extracts and articles, must surely make this collection the ideal Reader for students and scholars studying fashion from whatever perspective." – Elizabeth Wilson is currently Visiting Professor London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London.

"Fashion is about clothes, about time and about how the individual is linked to society; are they ‘with it’ or not? This collection brings together a range of views and ideas from very different perspectives about fashion in a way that will be of direct interest to students of design, cultural studies, sociology and the study of fashion itself. The book includes different styles of writing and approach, some of which are just now more fashionable than others, but all have been chosen for having something distinctive and important to say about fashion. The choice of articles will give any reader a broad overview of the theoretical and cultural significance of fashion in the twenty-first century. A ‘reader’ is something to dip into, to read different parts of at different times – in fact, if it is as well planned and put together as this one, it is a book that never goes out of fashion!

Malcolm Barnard’s ‘Fashion as Communication’ has become a standard text used on fashion courses all over the world, introducing difficult concepts and theories to students who are often most interested in designing, making and looking at things. His work on visual culture, design and fashion has made accessible to a wide audience key ideas from philosophy, sociology and social theory. Maclolm Barnard’s own writing in the introduction to ‘Fashion Theory’ is as engaging and clear as ever and he sets this collection of articles in a context that will be a continual point of reference for its readers." – Tim Dant, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, University of York.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415413404
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 6/28/2007
  • Series: Routledge Student Readers Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 624
  • Sales rank: 1,138,202
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Malcolm Barnard is Senior Lecturer in the History and Theory of Art and Design at the University of Derby.

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Table of Contents

Part 1: Fashion and Fashion Theories 1. Explaining it Away Elizabeth Wilson 2. The Empire of Fashion: Introduction Gilles Lipovetsky Part 2: Fashion and History/Fashion in History 3. Fashion Edward Sapir 4. Fashion has its Laws Agnes Brooks Young 5. Renaissance Clothing and the Materials of Memory: Introduction Ann Rosalind Jones and Peter Stallybrass 6. A Century of Fashion Gilles Lipovetsky Part 3: What Fashion is and is Not 7. Antifashion: The Vicissitudes of Negation Fred Davis 8. Is Fashion a True Art Form? Zandra Rhodes and Alice Rawsthorn Part 4: What Fashion and Clothing Do 9. The Language of Personal Adornment Mary Ellen Roach and Joanne Bubolz Eicher 10. Why do People Wear Clothes? Elizabeth Rouse 11. Protection John Flugel Part 5: Fashion as Communication 12. Social Life as a Sign System Umberto Eco 13. Do Clothes Speak?: What Makes them Fashion? Fred Davis 14. When the Meaning is not a Message: A Critique of the Consumption as Communication Thesis Colin Campbell 15. Fashion Statements: Communication and Culture Malcolm Barnard Part 6: Fashion: Identity and Difference: Sex and Gender 16. Express Yourself: The Politics of Dressing Up Tim Edwards 17. Objectifying Gender: The Stiletto Heal Lee Wright 18. ‘Power Dressing’ and the Construction of the Career Woman: Social Class Joanne Entwistle 19. Popular Fashion and Working-Class Affluence Angela Partington 20. Fashion: From Class Differentiation to Collective Selection: Ethnicity and Race Herbert Blumer 21. Great Aspirations: Hip Hop and Fashion Dress for Excess and Success Emil Wilbekin 22. Oppositional Dress Culture and Sub-Culture Elizabeth Wilson 23. Style Dick Hebdige Part 7: Fashion, Clothes and the Body 24. Addressing the Body Joanne Entwistle 25. Anchoring the (Postmodern) Self?: Body Modification, Fashion and Identity Paul Sweetman 26. Lumbar Thought Umberto Eco 27. The Comfort of Identity Ruth Holliday Part 8: Production and Consumption 28. Dress as an Expression of the Pecuniary Culture Thorstein Veblen 29. The Fetishism of the Commodity and its Secret Karl Marx 30. Fashion: Unpacking a Cultural Production Peter Braham 31. Consuming or Living with Things?/Wearing it Out Tim Dant Part 9: Modern Fashion 32. Adorned in Dreams: Introduction Elizabeth Wilson 33. Modernism and Fashion: A Social Psychological Interpretation Kurt W. Back 34. Public Roles/Personality in Public Richard Sennett 35. Benjamin and the Revolution of Fashion in Modernity Ulrich Lehmann Part 10: Post-Modern Fashion 36. The Ideological Genesis of Needs/Fetishism and Ideology Jean Baudrillard 37. Fashion, or the Enchanting Spectacle of the Code Jean Baudrillard 38. A Tale of Inscription/Fashion Statements Kim Sawchuk 39. Deconstruction Fashion: The Making of Unfinished, Decomposing and Re-Assembled Clothes Alison Gill Part 11: Fashion and (the) Image 40. Fashion Photography Roland Barthes 41. Fashion Photography: The Double-Page Spread: Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin and Deborah Turbeville Rosetta Brooks 42. ‘Doing Fashion Photographs’ Erica Lennard 43. Fashion & Graphics: Introduction Tamsin Blanchard Part 12: Fashion, Fetish and the Erotic 44. Fetishism Sigmund Freud 45. The Special Historic and Psychological Role of Tight-Lacing David Kunzle 46. Fashion and Fetishism Valerie Steele 47. Female Fetishism Lorrain Gamman and Merja Makinen 48. ‘Where the Garment Gapes’ Roland Barthes

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