Georg Simmel conceives of fashion as another aspect of social life built on the coupling of opposites: fashion allows personal values to be expressed at the same time as norms are followed. The ‘normal’ and ‘fashionable’ exist together, and the one without the other would be meaningless. The essence of fashion is social interaction.
Although fashion has a general form, its particular content varies by culture, by time and place. While fashion is “transnational,” meaning depends on local context. Still, some places — the West, the US, and Europe –exert disproportionate influence on fashion and understandings of beauty worldwide. As we saw in the video, Seoul Fashion Week: K-Pop to Double Eyelid Surgery, Western styles and ‘Western’ physical features are closely associated with fashion and beauty, at least for the South Korean men and women featured in the documentary. The videos below, part of the Fashion Week Internationale series, explore similar themes, as well as others such as gender, religion, and economic inequality (More on the Vice Fashion playlist).