Sociology Index

Fashion Culture And Consumer Culture

Culture of consumption invariably shapes Fashion Culture.

Speaking of Fashion: Consumers’ Uses of Fashion Discourses and the Appropriation of Countervailing Cultural Meanings - CRAIG J. THOMPSON, DIANA L. HAYTKO - This article explores the ways that consumers use fashion discourse to inscribe their consumption behaviors in a complex ideological system of folk theories about the nature of self and society.

Verbatim texts of 20 phenomenological interviews concerning consumers’ perceptions and experiences of fashion are interpreted through a hermeneutic process with specific consideration given to gender issues.

By appropriating fashion discourse, consumers generate personalized fashion narratives and metaphoric and metonymic references that negotiate key existential tensions and that often express resistance to dominant fashion norms in their social milieu or Consumer Culture at large. A theoretical model is derived that portrays a dialogical relationship between consumers and this cultural system of countervailing fashion meanings.

The politics of fashion in American consumer culture - Heidi Khaled, University of Pennsylvania.
Abstract: This dissertation examines how fashion becomes politicized, not just as a communicative medium, but also as an arena for political struggles taking place in global structural processes, sites of popular culture, and the going-ons of everyday life.

The most publicized political battles of recent years are often centered in specific apparel brands, media events and controversies that reflect an ongoing struggle between independent producers and corporations representing rebellious lifestyle brands. I explore how consumers interpret these events and consider the political, economic, social and cultural implications of their own identities as both consumers and producers. Popular ideas about dress, and in particular the hipster, diffuse into local discourses, influencing individual beliefs and behaviors and coloring interpersonal interactions. These discourses illustrate how subcultures use dress as a means to evaluate others' levels of creativity and genuine commitment to the subculture. Additionally, media coverage of the fashion industry affects apathy and non-involvement in the politics of fashion, as many consumers see themselves as relatively powerless in a massive system and often challenge or abstain from it in small but personally meaningful ways. The role of media and media ownership are crucial in the struggles taking place against and through the fashion industry. Ultimately at stake in much of fashion's politics are issues of cultural production and innovation, for both consumers as well as the brands themselves.