Fashion, Culture, and Identity

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University of Chicago Press, 1994 - Art - 226 pages
What do our clothes say about who we are or who we think we are? How does the way we dress communicate messages about our identity? Is the desire to be "in fashion" universal or unique to Western culture? How do fashions change? These are just a few of the intriguing questions Fred Davis sets out to answer in this provocative look at what we do with our clothes and what they can do to us. Drawing on interviews with designers and fashion editors, Davis examines the workings of the fashion industry. He charts the rise and fall of a range of clothing styles, from "the little black dress" to the tuxedo and blue jeans. In fashion's cycle of invention to obsolescence, fashion succeeds or fails by its ability to respond to a complex and usually unpredictable cultural marketplace. Much of what we assume to be individual preferences, Davis shows, really reflect deeper social and cultural forces. Ours is an ambivalent social world, characterized by tensions over gender roles, social status, and the expression of sexuality. Predicting what people will wear becomes a risky gamble when the link between private self and public persona can be so unstable. Filled with sharply detailed portraits of the business and culture of fashion, this book will enlighten anyone interested in the important and complex role clothing plays in our lives.
 

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Fashion, culture, and identity

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Davis (emeritus professor of sociology, Univ. of California-San Diego) discusses several intriguing theories about fashion's social and psychological significance in modern culture. What makes clothes ... Read full review

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fashion is a style, coustom or anything to which we give value

Contents

Acknowledgments
Do Clothes Speak? What Makes Them Fashion?
1
Identity Ambivalence Fashions Fuel
19
Ambivalences of Gender Boys Will Be Boys Girls Will Be Boys
31
Ambivalences of Status Flaunts and Feints
53
Ambivalences of Sexuality The Dialectic of the Erotic and the Chaste
77
Fashion as Cycle Fashion as Process
97
Stages of the Fashion Process
117
Antifashion The Vicissitudes of Negation
155
Conclusion and Some Afterthoughts
185
References
203
Index
213
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