Blog #2: Fashion

Fashion People Are The Strangest

“Fashion is at once a process of comforting to some groups, while distancing yourself from others. Fashion, then, is not a singular, “pure” expression, but is built on two opposing forces: differentiation/ individuality and confronting/imitation” (Edles, pg. 267) In other words, fashion has a two ways of being viewed. You can view fashion as individuality such as “your own look” or attaching yourself to a specific group in order to fit in. Fashion also revolves around the idea of what others think, what one thinks that other think. Georg Simmel article “Fashion” (1904) shows us the perspective between fashion and class (upper-class and lower-class). According to Simmel, fashion is a way that the lower-class can imitate the upper-class of “never dreamed before”.

Simmel’s states, “The latest fashion- in all these things affects only the upper classes. Just as soon as the lower classes being to copy their style, thereby crossing the line of demarcation the upper classes have drawn and destroying the uniformity of their coherence, the upper classes turn away from this style and adopt a new one, which in its turn differentiates them from the masses; and thus the game goes merrily on.” On the contrary, I believe it affects the lower class instead of the upper class because as the upper class leaves one fashion trend and adapts another one, the lower class is finding its way to keep up it. For example, Coach was a popular fashion design for a while, but as soon as people started buying Michael Kors it became a must have trend. Therefore, if you are in the lower class and have various Coach Handbags, but all of the sudden you switch to Michael Kors, so you’ve just spend a lot of money on coach bags that you might not even use again, but spend even more money on Michael Kors just to keep up with the trend. I would say in this example, the lower class is being affected because they are spending money they might not even have to begin with compare to the upper class that they might not even have to worry about their financial situation.



One response to “Blog #2: Fashion

  1. The relationship between social class and fashion is an interesting question. Contrary to Simmel’s claim that “the latest fashion- in all these things affects only the upper classes,” you argue that “it affects the lower class instead of the upper class,” pointing to the example of the “must-have Michael Kors trend.” The main effect, you note, is that the pressure to stay on trend pushes lower class folks to spend money they don’t have.

    I think you’re onto something here, a change from Simmel’s time in the accessibility of fashion. The change is in the increased access to consumer credit, so that today one’s wealth and income is less important than one’s credit line, allowing non-upper-class folks access to the latest fashions — but at the cost of consumer debt.

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