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Trickle Across Theory Fashion Definition Essay

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Change In Clothing And Appearance Styles Marketing Essay

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About Us More About Us Change In Clothing And Appearance Styles Marketing Essay

Published: 23, March 2015

In order to find out how people take fashion, how they show their involvement with it and how they manifest it with their clothing and what attributes they give to it, I have conducted this research with the help of research papers conducted on the related topics before me.

INTRODUCTION:

This research is conducted to study fashion clothing involvement in people. How they look at fashion, how they adopt it and how they become involved with a new fashion trend by displaying it through their clothing sense. Many research papers were consulted for the literature review to get the idea what previous studies were regarding fashion and involvement and how can it be taken further. Fashion is an ambiguous concept which is measured through variables like involvement, shopping, sense of clothing, materialism, age, gender etc.

LITERATURE REVIEW:

Fashion is the generally accepted style in the market or in the community or to put it at a larger scale in the whole country which sometimes crosses even the boundaries if similar culture is shared. Fashion is considered one of the attributes of the lifestyle of people therefore people of a society following a particular fashion represent the lifestyle of that society. Though fashion depicts the lifestyle of a society, it can be differently adopted in other societies due to many factors like income, awareness, degree of interest and adoption of many different styles in the market at the same time etc. But confronting modern changes almost every minute, fashion and lifestyles of societies keep changing.

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Change is most likely to be prominent the moment fashion changes as fashion is the most visible media of change. Suppose when checks overtake stripes and when every other person starts wearing it, it is commonly used cliché that "it is in fashion" that is why everyone is going for it. As it is rightly put by King et al. (1979) who conceptualized the fashion change agent as a consumer who not just monitor the changing fashion trends but also keeps his/her wardrobe updated with the current fashion which displays their involvement with fashion clothing.

The degree to which fashion changes depends mainly on:

Combination of social trends

Individual needs to conform

Individual pressures from others

This suggests that change in fashion comes due to multiple reasons like the social trends in the market, how people are likely to yield to the growing fashion and how much they are willing to adopt fashion coming their way from others. This is because fashion and clothing both helps individuals to shape their self image and enhance their appearance.

This change in fashion proliferates through a process which includes different stages:

Change in clothing and appearance styles

Thus, a fashion is first brought about by means of change in clothing and appearance styles then this change is spread mainly through communication and media then it is adopted which has its own process and then it finally fades away so that a new fashion takes its place and this how fashion keeps on changing.

Many theories have been proposed to encompass this fashion process. The trickle down theory states that the upper strata of the society usually serves as fashion leaders and whatever they do and wear becomes the fashion of that society. The mass market theory is of the view that media plays vital role in propagating the fashion and taking it down to the mainstream whereas the collective selection theory says that fashion was previously considered as the socializing agent and an epitome of social standard.

Many fashion retailers view this fashion change as planned obsolescence and therefore persuade consumers to keep buying clothes that are in fashion continuously without much gap because fashion keeps on changing hastily. According to them, there are different market segments and each segment has their own fashion trends and the most researchable segment is young segment as they are more prone to adopting new trends and innovations (Goldsmith et al. 1996; King and Sproles, 1973; Kwon and Workman, 1996; Palegato and Wall, 1990; Workman and Kidd, 2000).

There are various processes of fashion adoption. One of them propsed by Robertson which is divided into 3 stages:

Comprehensive

These 3 stages were linked with 4 possible relations attributed by "interest" and "involvement" of people depicting either 'positive" or "negative" reaction suggested by Cathelat 1998 at premier vision exhibition in Paris in the following ways:

POSITIVE INTEREST AND POSITIVE INVOLVEMENT

This Situation leads to change. Also called Conformity which simply means that people are not only interested in the current trends but are willing to be involved in it personally and will adopt it. Thus, we can call it an "accept" dress.

NEGATIVE INTEREST AND NEGATIVE INVOLVEMENT:

This is opposite to Conformity and is therefore named "anti conformity" where people behave in opposite direction because the current trends not only interests them but they are also not willing to adopt it, therefore they simply resist it. We can call it an "alternative" dress as people dress antagonistically to the fashion to show they are different and contesters.

POSITIVE INTEREST NEGATIVE INVOLVEMENT

Here, people are interested but not properly involved. They are aware of change but not really want to adopt it exactly the way it is. So they are conservative in their choices. Thus, it is called "concealment' and dress would be "escape" dress as they dress up like chameleon.

NEGATIVE INTEREST POSITIVE INVOLVEMENT

Here, people are not interested in new situations but engage themselves in change. They cleverly modify dominant trends so as not to conform too strongly. Therefore, we will call it "adapt" dress as people modify it according to their own personal style to show their involvement.

Changes in fashion involve a combination of personal adoption at the micro-level and social diffusion at the macro-level. These processes of personal adoption and social diffusion are driven by individualizing forces or conforming forces (Cholachatpinyo et al. 2002). At the macro-level of society, fashion is first adopted by fashion innovators, then by a majority of consumers and, finally, by laggards (Rogers, 1983).

As Sproles and Burns (1994) noted, the adoption of styles within a social system is brought about by interaction and communication of a symbolic nature among group members, which, in turn, produces fashion diffusion among small groups. In other words, we can put it this way that for a fashion to spread or clothing conformity requires some group dynamics which will help in circulating the on going trend through communication.

Such group dynamics can be called fashion norms, as one of the group norms, result from visual observation, verbal communication, and negotiations about meaning among group members (Kaiser, 1997). Once formulated, group norms (including fashion norms) are sustained through expectations of conformity by individuals who wish to acquire group approval.

Conformity to group norms plays a critical role in peer acceptance among adolescents (Ryan, 1966; Harper et al. 2003). As adolescents experience dramatic personal change (physical, social, and intellectual), and as the relative importance of family diminishes and that of peers increases (Kelley and Eicher, 1970), adolescents feel significant pressure from their peers (Hamilton and Warder, 1966; Coleman, 1978). They thus seek their own culture within peer groups as they pursue personal recognition and security (Hamilton and Warder, 1966). Adolescents are therefore very concerned about social relationships, social adjustment, and social acceptability within their peer group (Kuhlen and Bretsch, 1947). During this process, they are especially fearful of peer rejection - reaching a peak at about fifteen years of age (Coleman, 1978). According to Ryan (1966), most adolescents obtain their ideas of what to wear from friends or schoolmates, and are very interested in the appearance of others. In summary, adolescents in small groups seek similar patterns of dress as a result of perceived peer-group pressure to share similarities in appearance (Smucker and Creekmore, 1972).

Fashion involvement is defined as the perceived personal relevance or interest from the consumer by fashion clothing (Engel et al. 2005). Park et al. (2006) found that fashion involvement and positive emotion had positive effects on consumers' fashion-oriented impulse buying behaviour, with fashion involvement having the greatest effect.

The literature supports that a more fashion-involved consumer might feel more committed to buying fashion clothing (Amine, 1998; Iwasaki and Havitz, 1998, 2004).

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Overall, the study explores the view that materialism, gender and age are important antecedents of consumer involvement in fashion clothing and that fashion clothing involvement is an antecedent to subjective knowledge of fashion clothing. Thus, this paper proposes that patronage, time spent deciding and commitment are consequents of fashion involvement and that the fashion clothing involvement construct is a major mediator variable in this model.

Apparently fashion brands become more and more important as they act as signifiers symbolic of values, encompassing certain identities in creating community. Interaction between self and others within community is the virtual negotiation in shopping time. Basically brands provide fashion commodities ranging from the most fashionable to the least in which to serve different levels of need, depending on the degree of fashion-consciousness in customers. If one plays as a fashion leader, the most fashionable garments will be chosen and he/she is likely to spend much time shopping the desired clothes. An interesting claim based on seven major fashion studies across four different cultures, Tigert et al. (1980) stated that a much larger proportion of the female fashion buying public monitors new women's fashions on a regular basis. This evidence might indicate that women are more involved in fashion than men.

O'Cass (2000) proposes and tests four types of involvement, creating a scale for measurement:

1. Product involvement;

2. Purchase decision involvement;

3. Advertising involvement; and

4. Consumption involvement

We are more concerned about product development so we will discuss it briefly here that how is it linked with fashion clothing involvement. For instance, O'Cass (2001a) explored the relationship between self-monitoring, materialism and product involvement in fashion clothing. O'Cass (2001b) analysed the impact of fashion clothing involvement on the development of perceptions of product knowledge expertise and confidence. O'Cass (2004) proposed and tested a theoretical model, finding that fashion clothing involvement is significantly affected by a consumer's degree of materialism, and that gender and age influence fashion clothing knowledge.

Furthermore, research has shown that strong feelings of pleasure related to possessions make people spend more time buying products (Browne and Kaldengerg, 1997). For some researchers, possessions may be understood as product involvement (Belk, 1985). Thus, it is supposed that fashion clothing involvement could be associated to time spent buying products.

Apart from the traditional thoughts, there are contemporary thoughts regarding fashion change and consumption. Behling (1985) argued that the median age of the population determines the upward or downward direction of the fashion process and that a change in disposable income can speed up or slow down the fashion process.

CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK CAUSAL MODEL:

Age/ gender/ conformity level/ time spent in shopping

Trendy clothes are independent variable as they will depend on the fact that someone is fashionable or not. If I am fashionable my clothes are likely to be trendy. According to my research, this will happens most likely if I am adolescent, female, my conformity level is high i.e. I tend to adopt current trends and I spend relatively much amount of time in shopping. But this will not happen in case of low income level. Suppose I am fashionable and I want to keep trendy clothes but because of low income level I cannot afford it.

HYPOTHESIS:

According to my literature review I came up with the following hypothesis:

H1: FASHION AND AGE HAVE INDIRECT RELATIONSHIP

The study so far has suggested that when people grow older, they get busy with other things and priorities of their lives and their sense of fashion starts declining. They are then less concerned about keeping their wardrobe up to date with fashionable and trendy clothes.

H2: YOUNGSTERS ADOPT FASHION QUICKLY

Our study suggests quite strongly those youngsters are more yielding and readily conform to new fashion changes and trends. They have desire to look better and do what everyone else in the world of their age is doing so in order to register their involvement, they manifest it with the help of fashion especially through clothing involvement.

H3: WOMEN ARE MORE INVOLVED IN FASHION

Many previous studies have indicated fair amount of researches indicating that when it comes to fashion and clothing, women are almost always found involved. The best indicator is the amount of time they spend buying their fashionable clothes.

H5: FASHION AND TIME SPENT IN SHOPPING HAVE DIRECT RELATIONSHIP

Our study suggests that people who are involved in fashion or are present in any one of the stages of fashion process tend to go more often for shopping and they spend relatively greater amount of their time in shopping.

H6: PEOPLE VALUE THEIR FASHIONABLE CLOTHES AS THEIR POSSESSIONS

Our research indicates that when people are fashion conscious and they want to remain in fashion; they focus more on their clothes and belongings. Because they are fashionable and they follow current fashion trends, their clothes are also trendy and therefore, they value their clothes a lot.

H7: MEDIA IS A SOURCE OF FASHION CHANGE

When fashion changes, it is mostly depicted through media. As people follow their favourite celebs, they try to imitate what they are wearing so they also adopt it. Moreover, nowadays many fashion shows are organized by media channels where fashion designers promote their clothes and people try to follow them.

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY SAMPLING DESIGN:

Research on fashion clothing involvement was carried out by taking out a small sample of about 50 people from the huge population. This sampling is done so that cost is reduced, accuracy is achieved, and time constraints are overcome otherwise reaching to the whole population of a particular location or unit is unachievable and quite impossible as well which may also result in less reliable and less accurate information. The target population for this research was adults ranging from 15 years of age to 25 years. The location where it was conducted is Bahria university Karachi campus.

QUESTIONNAIRE DESIGN:

The research methodology for this research was conducted with the use of questionnaire. After conducting literature review and conceptual framework, hypothesis were made and on the basis of these hypothesis, questionnaire was constructed, consisting of 12 questions altogether which were close ended. Likert scale was employed in it.

ANALYSIS PLAN:

I have used (SPSS) for my analysis plan. It is statistical software which is used to help in conducting research, calculating means, frequencies and testing the hypothesis which can be done without the help of this software as well but will take lot of time. Thus, I have used this software to conduct my hypothesis testing. First, the questionnaire is feed by assigning values and labels to the variables then mean is computed and one sample t-test is found out, on the basis of which I have accepted or rejected my hypothesis.

ANALYSIS: MEANS:

H1: youngsters adopt fashion quickly

Case Processing Summary

Here, we can see that significance 2-tailed value of both the variables is 0.000 and after converting it into significance 1-tail we get 0.000 which is less than our alpha value 0.1 so we will reject Ho which means our claim is valid that women are more involved in fashion.

H4: income and fashion have indirect relationship

One-Sample Statistics One-Sample Test

95% Confidence Interval of the Difference

Here, we can see that significance 2-tailed value of income is 0.000 and after converting it into significance 1-tail we get 0.000 which is less than our alpha value 0.1 and sig 2 tail value for another variable is 0.151 which becomes 0.075 after converting to 1 tail which is again less than 0.1 so we will reject Ho which means our claim is valid that income and fashion have indirect relationship.

H5: fashion and time spent in shopping have direct relationship

One-Sample Statistics One-Sample Test

95% Confidence Interval of the Difference

Here, we can see that significance 2-tailed value of both the variables is 0.000 and after converting it into significance 1-tail we get 0.000 which is less than our alpha value 0.1 so we will reject Ho which means our claim is valid that fashion and time spent in shopping have direct relationship.

H6: people value their fashionable clothes as their possessions

One-Sample Statistics One-Sample Test

95% Confidence Interval of the Difference

Here, we can see that significance 2-tailed value of both the variables is 0.000 and after converting it into significance 1-tail we get 0.000 which is less than our alpha value 0.1 so we will reject Ho which means our claim is valid that people value their fashionable clothes as their possessions.

H7: media is a source of fashion change

One-Sample Statistics One-Sample Test

95% Confidence Interval of the Difference

Here, we can see that significance 2-tailed value of first variable is 0.000 and after converting it into significance 1-tail we get 0.000 which is less than our alpha value 0.1 and sig 2 tail value for another variable is 0.151 which becomes 0.075 after converting to 1 tail which is again less than 0.1 so we will reject Ho which means our claim is valid that media is a prime source of fashion change.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Conceptual model of the fashion process-part 1: the fashion transformation process model by A. Cholachatpinyo, I. Padgett, M. Cracker (central sainy martins college of arts and design, London, UK) and B. Fletcher (Hertfordshire university, Hatfield, UK)

An extended theoretical model of fashion clothing involvement by Valter Afonso Vieira (University of Brasilia, Brasilia, Brazil)

An investigation into product development processes for UK fashion retailers - A multiple case study by Helen Goworek (Division of Marketing, Retail and Operations, Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK)

Comparing fashion process networks and friendship networks in small groups of adolescents by Hyunsook Kim (Department of Clothing and Textiles, Seoul NationalUniversity, Seoul, South Korea), Eun-Young Rhee (Department of Clothing and Textiles, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea and Research Institute of Human Ecology, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea) and Jaeyeol Yee (Department of Sociology, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea)

Compulsive buying in a product specific context: clothing by Tricia Johnson (Family and Consumer Sciences, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois, USA) and Julianne Attmann (Fashion Design and Fashion Retail Management, The Art Institute of Colorado, Denver, Colorado, USA)

Factors of dress affecting self-esteem in older females by Hyun-Mee Joung (School of Family, Consumer, and Nutrition Sciences, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, USA) and Nancy J. Miller (Department of Textiles, Clothing and Design, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA)

Fashion change and fashion consumption: the chaotic perspective by Ka Ming Law, Zhi-Ming Zhang and Chung-Sun Leung (Institute of Textiles and Clothing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hunghom, Hong Kong)

Fashion clothing consumption: antecedents and consequences of fashion clothing involvement by Aron O'Cass (Newcastle Business School, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia)

Fashion innovativeness, materialism, and attitude toward purchasing foreign fashion goods online across national borders The moderating effect of internet innovativeness by Hye-Jung Park (Department of Liberal Arts, Korea Polytechnic University, Siheung-Si, Kyeongki-Do, South Korea Leslie Davis Burns Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA) and Nancy J. Rabolt (San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California, USA)

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Fashion Merchandising A

Standard 3 - Fashion Cycle

Standard 3 – Fashion Cycle

Standard 3 – Students will be able to understand the basics of the fashion cycle.

  • Objective 1 – Define Fashion Terms
  • Objective 2 - Describe the Stages of the fashion cycle

  • Objective 3 – Describe the theories of fashion movement

    Fashion Movement
    • The ongoing motion of fashions moving through the fashion cycle.
  • There are many factors that can affect the fashion movement.

  • Introduction of new fibers & fabrics

    Fashion Leaders
    • Fashion leaders are Trendsetters, or individuals who are the first to wear new styles, after which the fashion is adopted by the general public.
  • Fashion leaders may be high-profile people who get media attention. This exposure results in more people seeing the new designs and causes the general acceptance of a fashion.

  • These trendsetters used to be royalty or the very wealthy. In today’s society, media celebrities often set the fashion cycles in motion. For example, during the 2003 academy awards, many of the female stars attending the televised ceremony wore chandelier-style earrings. This media exposure immediately caused that style of jewelry to be in demand.

    Fashion Cycle
    • The Fashion Cycle is the period of time or life span during with the fashion exists, moving through five stages.

    INTRODUCTION STAGE
    • Designs first previewed during fashion weeks at the major design centers are in this stage.
  • As the new styles, colors, or textures are first introduced, or begin the upward slope on the hill, a limited number of people accept them.

  • Fashion leaders wear the styles, which are offered at high prices and produced in small quantities.

    RISE STAGE
    • MANUFACTURERS WHO COPY NEW DESIGNER CLOTHES WILL REPRODUCE THE STYLES AS APPAREL THAT COSTS LESS BY USING LESS EXPENSIVE FABRICS OR BY MINIMIZING DETAILS.
  • IN THIS STAGE THE FASHIONS BECOME MORE ACCEPTED BY MORE PEOPLE BECAUSE THEY CAN AFFORD THEM.

  • AS CONSUMER INTEREST INCREASES, ADDITIONAL MANUFACTURERS COPY THE FASHIONS BY ADAPTING OR CHANGING SOME OF THE POPULAR FEATUERS.

  • MASS PRODUCTION REDUCES THE PRICE OF THE fashion, AND MORE SALES RESULT.

    PEAK STAGE
    • DURING THIS STAGE THE FASHION IS AT ITS MOST POPULAR & ACCEPTED STAGE IN THE FASHION CYCLE.
  • THE MERCHANDISE IS MASS PRODUCED & DISTRIBUTED.

  • the prices are not necessarily at the lowest levels. Because so many versions of the fashions have been offered, the prices may vary at this stage.

  • Popularity of a fashion can determine how long it remains at this stage.

    DECLINE STAGE
    • AT THIS STAGE CONSUMER DEMAND IS DECREASING.
  • THERE ARE SO MANY OF THE FASHION ITEMS AVAILABLE THAT THEY HAVE OVERSATUATED, OR FLOODED, THE MARKET.

  • FASHION RETAILERS BEGIN TO MARK DOWN THE PRICE OF THE MERCHANDISE TO MAKE ROOM FOR NEW DESIGNS.

    OBSOLESCENCE STAGE
    • THIS STAGE MARKS THE END OF THE FASHION CYCLE.
  • CONSUMERS ARE NO LONGER INTERESTED IN THE FASHION.

  • THE PRICE OF THE FASHION PRODUCT MAY BE LOW AT THIS POINT, BUT CONSUMERS WILL PROBABLY NOT BUY THE MERCHANDISE.

    FASHION THEORIES

    TRICKLE-DOWN THEORY
    • FASHION STARTS AT THE TOP WITH CONSUMERS OF HIGHER SOCIECONOMIC STATUS & MOVES DOWN TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC.
  • ACCORDING TO THIS THEORY, PEOPLE WITH LOWER INCOMES, AT THE BOTTOM OF THE LADDER, WILL ONLY WEAR FASHIONS THAT HAVE BECOME POPULAR AMONG CONSUMERS WITH HIGHER INCOMES, AT THE TOP OF THE LADDER.

  • AS MORE PEOPLE BEGIN TO WEAR THE FASHIONS, THOSE AT THE TOP BECOME LESS INTERESTED IN THE FASHION & BEGIN LOOKING FOR SOMETHING NEW.

    TRICKLE-UP THEORY
    • FASHION STARTS WITH CONSUMERS ON LOWER-INCOME LEVELS & THEN MOVES TO CONSUMERS WITH HIGHER INCOMES.
  • CONSUMERS ON LOWER-INCOME LEVELS MAY ALSO INCLUDE YOUNGER CONSUMERS.

  • EXAMPLES OF THIS THEORY:

    • ATHLETIC APPAREL STYLE

    TRICKLE-ACROSS THEORY
    • FASHION ACCEPTANCE BEGINS AMONG SEVERAL SOCIOECONOMIC CLASSES AT THE SAME TIME, BECAUSE THERE ARE FASHION LEADERS IN ALL GROUPS.
  • THESE LEADERS INFLUENCE THEIR GROUPS TO ACCEPT NEW STYLES.

  • THIS THEORY IS ESPECIALLY PROBABLY IN THE 21ST CENTURY BECAUSE TECHNOLOGY ALLOWS DESIGNER FASHIONS TO BE COPIED QUICKLY & EASILY, MAKING THEM AVAILABLE FOR ALL CONSUMERS.

  • A Study Of Adoption Of Fashion In College Youths

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    Trickle across theory fashion definition essay

    The essays are ideal for those taking examinations in English Literature.

    Sample essay topic, essay writing: Fashion - 1827 words

    The Cycle of FashionFashion is fuelled by conversion. Designers continually persuade the public that their new ideas, however shocking they may seem, are in fact everything that a stylish wardrobe requires. Next season, the same designers convince everyone to give up their allegiance to such out-modish designs and embrace instead the innovative visual trends of the latest collections. The same garments are successively dubbed 'outlandish', 'in fashion' and 'out-dated' according to the apparent vagaries of prevailing fashionable sensibilities. Are we really duped by such duplicity? Or are we willing participants in the cycle of fashion? And perhaps more significantly, what relevance does the cycle have today in Western society's culture of mass consumerism? The idea that fashion in dress follows a cyclical phase structure is not new.

    The sociologist, Quentin Bell made such an observation over fifty years ago in his book, On Human Finery. Moreover, his observation was based on accumulated evidence of an uninterrupted cyclical flow in dress change in Western society since at least the thirteenth century. The sociologist, Ingrid Brenninkmeyer describes this flow by comparing it to the rolling of waves in the sea. As one fashion gains popularity, crests and dissipates, another stylistic wave is already forming behind it. Further extensions of this metaphor liken different stylistic features to variations in the waves themselves. For example, just as different wave patterns form on the basis of their force, size or length, so also different overlapping patterns can be traced in changes of fashionable hem length, silhouette, fabric, d'ecolletage and colour. Mere descriptions of the fashion cycle however do little to explain exactly why successful designers' ideas typically rise and fall in popularity. What is the motivating force behind such changes in fashion? What causes the cycle to move from one phase to the next? These questions cannot be answered simply. Perhaps sheer boredom inspires the continual search for something new

    Or can novelty be related to ideas of sexual allure and attraction? Do competing market interests in the fashion industry play a role in animating the cycle? Or could changes in dress function as markers of class differentiation? These factors and more have been variously proposed and analysed by researchers into the sociology of fashion. Bernard Barber (1957) depicted a 'trickle-down' theory of fashion as a symbol of social class whilst Gabriel Tarde (1903) outlined a theory of imitation. Ren'e Konig (1973) emphasised the displacement of sexual urge and Herbert Blumer (1969) formulated a theory of collective selection. However, each of these theories ultimately fails to provide a definitive account of the processes shaping the many vicissitudes and disparate progressions of contemporary fashion innovation. Long waves in which a single style dominates for a season and is replaced in the next are no longer the norm. There are no modern equivalents of the crinoline, the bustle, the flapper dress, Dior's New Look or the three-piece single-breasted man's suit.

    The journalist Holly Brubach captures the current pace and diversity of the fashion cycle in an article written for the New Yorker on December 31st, 1990: "Fashion as it's presented on the runways is nowhere near as unanimous as it used to be, but coverage of it in the press still focuses on hemlines and colours and items - on what the collections have in common. The truth is that these days you can find practically anything in somebody's collection somewhere."The apparently random, rapid overlapping of new fashions is not restricted to changes in dress, but can also be noted in areas of modern culture as diverse as painting, music, architecture, entertainment and systems of health care. In Western society's media-based culture of mass consumerism and against a background of globalisation, fashion appears to serve reactionary purposes that both structure and affirm the identities of groups and individuals. From surfers and students to alienated middle-class youths and married working women, weekly changes in fadlike styles give a sense of belonging whilst also distinguishing them from the masses. Changes in the fashion cycle since the end of World War II therefore indicate an interweaving of complex and multiple processes. A uniform acceptance of single fashionable styles across the class structures of society has been replaced by a rapidly - changing, many-faced, identity-defining drive.

    It remains to be seen whether these phenomena signal the eventual disintegration of fashion's long-enduring cycle. Fashion StatementsThe declaration that clothes say something about their wearer is perhaps undisputable. It is certainly neither novel nor shocking. Whether in contemporary Western societies or the traditional practices of other cultures, a person's choice of clothing is loaded with details that both describe and define aspects of their life as diverse as status, religion and life-style attachments. Moreover, judgements of personality and even intelligence are often made about an individual on the basis of their clothing alone. Appearance matters and first impressions of tastes in fashion count.

    Whilst these judgements may be made intuitively however, it is more difficult to determine the exact play of elements that combine to make this language, or code of clothing. The meanings conveyed by different styles change across time and place so that definitions are unstable and contextually embedded. According to the sociologist James Laver, a costume that is 'indecent' this year may be seen as 'smart' in ten years time, 'ridiculous' in a further twenty years and 'beautiful' in the next century. How then do fashion and clothing achieve their symbolic communications both to wearers and their viewers? The symbols that form the code of clothing are both tactile and visual. All clothing styles and fashions must express their meanings through various permutations and combinations of texture, fabric, colour, pattern, line, shape and form. However, the psychoanalyst Edmund Bergler attempted to centre fashion's key terms on psychological complexes rather than on the materially expressive elements available in different cultures.

    In 1953, he wrote, 'Stripped to its essentials, fashion is no more than a series of permutations of seven given themes, each..a part of the female body: the breasts (neckline), waist (abdomen), hips, buttock, legs, arms, and length (or circumference) of the body itself. Organs 'appear' and 'disappear' as the theme of fashion changes, and one and then another part of the body is emphasized by succeeding styles'. Whether through elements of design or psychology, it is clear nevertheless that the clothing code draws on greatly limited constituent resources in comparison with the rich semantic resources of speech and writing. Such a restriction of key expressive terms both accounts for and necessitates a high level of ambiguity in the statements made by fashion and clothing styles. In Western society, the same constituent symbols that proclaim beauty one year may also declare unattractiveness the following year and impropriety in another culture. The anthropologist and linguist Edward Sapir noted, 'The chief difficulty of understanding fashion in its apparent vagaries is the lack of exact knowledge of the unconscious symbolisms attaching to forms, colours, textures, postures, and other expressive elements of a given culture.

    The difficulty is appreciably increased by the fact that some of the expressive elements tend to have quite different symbolic references in different areas.' If a wide and contradictory range of meanings is communicated by so few key terms, it is because the source of this ambiguity itself lies in the socially negotiated associations of symbolic references. In other words, searches to uncover the exact rules and taxonomy of the clothing code will always be thwarted by its continual shift of meanings within common cultural understandings. Statements are therefore conveyed in clothing through linking the elements, or key terms of the clothing code, to prevailing concepts of the elements of fashion and style in a society or community. Furthermore, for fashion to 'say' the same thing to all wearers and viewers, everyone must share an appreciation or perception of the images invoked by different items and styles of clothing. This is not to imply that all members of a society have to ascribe to the same values in order to understand the statements made by fashion. Rather, meanings are conveyed through insight into the differences and similarities between the ideals held within a community.

    Whilst admitting that clothing styles display high social variability, the eloquent rebellions of the Beatniks and Teddy Boys in the 1940s, Mods and Rockers in the 1950s, Skinheads and Hippies in the 1960s and Punks in the 1970s could all be easily understood by those fluent in the vocabulary of alienation from mainstream values. Beneath Historic FashionsReprinted at Fashion Worlds October 2004 with permission of NPR By Scott SimonHistory's unmentionables come out of the closet in a new calendar from the Costume Society of America called Underwear: Beneath Historic Fashions. The calendar depicts undergarments from the early 18th century to the 1960s. Some scholars wonder about the place of knickers, bustles and thongs in history, but as calendar editor Sally Queen tells Scott Simon for Weekend Edition Saturday, underwear can tell us much about how people's habits and behaviors change over time. "Clothing is really culture at the most personal level," she says. For instance, in contemporary society, "many fashions of underwear have become outerwear," she says. This shows how "we are a more open society in what we are wearing." The trend started earlier than most people believe. One shot from the calendar, from the Cowgirls Museum and Hall of Fame, depicts a woman wearing a spangled rhinestone brassiere covered by a sheer blouse. The year: 1950.

    "I was quite surprised with the date," says Queen. Undergarments, at least those made for women, have been designed with appearance in mind for six centuries, says Queen, though for most of that time the garments have been meant for an audience of one. Men's underwear has generally been "less interesting and more utilitarian," she says. That's why "the majority of garments in collections are women's clothing. To look at the men's side of underwear is different." One page of the calendar (April) does depict men's undershirts from the 18th and 19th centuries. Even the English language has been influenced by undergarments. Several popular expressions make reference to underwear: "Loose woman" comes from the connotations associated with uncorseted or loosely corseted women, Queen says. A similar case is "shiftless"; a shift was an 18th century support-providing undergarment, and Queen says the term was meant to characterize someone "without support."Many people believe that underwear for women has changed as it has because of feminism and changing social attitudes.

    To a large degree, that's true, Queen says, but there are other factors as well. In the past, undergarments were often designed for their "body-shaping" features. But these days, thanks to the increase in exercise and athleticism among women, "the body has become its own foundation" and women no longer need to rely on cloth and whalebone for this purpose, she says."The choice," says Queen, "is do we want to spend three hours a day in the gym to sculpt the body, or do we want to put on a piece of cloth?".

    Research paper and essay writing, free essay topics, sample works Fashion

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    5 February 2014. Author: Criticism