In Australia, it is assumed that Japanese fashion is widely appreciated, but this proposition of collective understanding was unsupported by scientific evidence until this research was conducted. In this investigation, I examined ways in which Japanese fashion is presented in Australian print media. This type of study is a conventional method in fashion research, as exemplified in the work of the cultural anthropologist Alfred Kroeber and the cultural theorist Angela McRobbie in more recent times. To assess the presence of Japanese fashion influences in Australia, both broadsheet newspapers and fashion magazines have been considered. Newspapers were selected to examine how the Australian general public is informed about Japanese fashion, whereas fashion magazines were consulted as the main source of information for the fashion-conscious sector. In particular, The Australian and The Age were chosen as samples for my newspaper analysis; these two dailies are viewed as rivals and are based in different Australian cities, owned by different media corporations, and represent different political attitudes. For fashion magazines, Cosmopolitan, frankie, and Fashion Journal are believed to best reflect the Australian fashion media landscape. Cosmopolitan is a mainstream, internationally syndicated ‘glossy’ fashion magazine, and it is the most popular fashion magazine in Australia according to sales figures. frankie is an alternative Australian-produced magazine that caters to an artistic, niche audience. Fashion Journal is a free fashion magazine that is distributed on the ‘street.’ After conducting a comprehensive media analysis over the selected 2012 publications, I have discovered that the vast majority (85.3 per cent) of Japanese items in the selected Australian publications displayed positive images of Japanese fashion, confirming the hypothesis.
The use of fish skin to create articles of clothing is an ancient tradition in Arctic societies located along rivers and coasts, and there is evidence of fish skin leather production in Scandinavia; Alaska; Hokkaido, Japan; Northeast China; and Siberia. This chapter is a study of northern indigenous fish skin heritage and builds connections among anthropology, ethnography, and material culture to address current global issues of fashion sustainability. It critically examines the historical application of the fish skin craft and investigates the relationship of Arctic indigenous people with fish and the environment, fish skin fashion in the Arctic, the importance of women in fish skin art, and the disappearance of the craft. Another topic is how the use of fish skin by aboriginal Arctic peoples has recently been assimilated as an innovative sustainable material for fashion because of its low environmental impact. Fish skins are sourced from the food industry, using waste, applying the principle of circular economy. The case study of the fashion designer John Galliano’s use of fish leather for garments in his Autumn/Winter 2002 collection is presented, situating the use of fish leather within the context of the luxury industry. The skins were sourced at Atlantic Leather, the world’s biggest fish skin tannery, based in Iceland, and the authors describe the contemporary use of fish skin in the fashion industry. The research proposes the sustainable development of fish skin as an innovative raw material for the fashion industry in order to encourage more sustainable fashion practices. A qualitative methodology has been employed for its relevance in studying evolving processes. An arts-based inquiry was chosen to create new knowledge conceived by those who actively participate in its making. Methodologically, the approach was practice-led. Emphasis was placed on “hands-on interaction” with the fish skin and processes.
The arrival in Paris of Rei Kawakubo – already speaking French comme des garçons – was an eventful meeting, so the cliché goes, of occident and orient. The event also initiated a conversation with Western design itself, one that had as its common theme the aesthetics and praxis of deconstruction. But deconstruction is not simply the subject matter of this controversial conversation; it is its very source, it is that which enables and sustains the dialogue of East and West, not only in philosophy and literature but also in art and design. The controversiality of this conversation lies in the separation of a way of thinking and saying that is inescapably conceptual, representational, and another that is – what? More poetic? Prosaic? The inevitable orientation of one side to this controversy is voiced by Western reflections on the Paris meeting collected in the 2005 text Unlimited: Comme des Garçons, edited by Sanae Shimizu and NHK. But that text also contains a phrase from Kawakubo, one that seems to point towards her understanding of the origin of design, towards the unthinkable and unsayable source of conversation itself. Yet how are we to think – to interpret, to translate – that understanding? What our interpretation of that source might be cannot be said in the abstract, it may only be intimated in conversation. And so …
In the mid-nineteenth century, as industrial production transformed the French economy during the Second Empire, a new retail model in the form of the department store emerged which revolutionised the ways by which clothes were designed, produced, and consumed. This chapter proposes to examine the early history of the world’s first department store, Paris’ Au Bon Marché, as it relates to the evolution of the modern fashion system during this period. My consideration will begin by detailing the primary precursor to the department store in France, the magasin de nouveautés (roughly translated as a dry goods store) which had begun to offer for sale multiple types and large amounts of merchandise in the same location, thus leading to a modern notion of shopping as well as the encouragement of aberrant consumer activity like shoplifting. Next, my chapter will consider the founding and early history of Aristide Boucicaut’s Au Bon Marché, from its establishment in 1852 through its greatest successes in the 1870s. With Au Bon Marché, which directly catered to a middle-class clientele in a newly reconstructed and modernised Paris, Boucicaut developed a new business model that revolutionised the experience of shopping. I will analyse some of the new and innovative business practices that developed in this department store like the free access of the shopper to merchandise, original advertising strategies targeting multiple demographics, the progressive introduction of ready-to-wear clothes, the rapid, often seasonal turnover of stock, and special promotional events (for example, the store’s famous white sales in the 1870s). In these examples, my chapter will demonstrate how this new approach to retailing, in turn, shaped the structure of the production and consumption of modern fashion, instituting a new aesthetics of display that facilitated its mass consumption.
This chapter investigates how a series of ordinary products, such as wine, computers, food, and perfumes, are transformed into fashionable items and new concepts, by adding a so-called exterior shell or packaging. A packaging can have material and immaterial qualities. The chapter analyses three different types of packaging: wrappings, food designs, and scented projects. The ‘fashionalization’ produced by packaging will be observed in different examples of wrappings, including the Champagne corking, the Apple computer box, and the Tiffany Blue Box. Culinary dishes can also have a ‘packaging,’ which performs the same fashionalizing function of a wrapping through distinctive food design. In scented projects, a distinctively fashionable quality is bestowed on ordinary products by adding an exterior shell made of selected fragrances. Through the wide framework of consumption studies, alimentary history, and gastronomic sociology, by observing these packagings, this text studies an ingenious change in the contemporary market, in which material products are transformed into immaterial concepts. In this process, the product’s value is no longer tied to an item’s qualities, but rather to a new way of using goods and thinking about them. By feeding people’s mental aspirations, ‘shelled’ products change their nature as goods and transform into vehicles for the transmission of ideas.
The increased popularity and accessibility of vintage clothing during the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries indicates a devolution of the fashion system. The ability to choose from a wide-ranging selection of garments from the past in vintage clothing stores, not merely from styles dictated by the fashion industry, appears, on the surface, to provide consumers with a vast array of clothing options from which to express their individual style and identity. This chapter builds upon existing academic work and uses empirical data collected from 2013–2017 to explore the relationship between fashion and vintage. It assesses how vintage clothing has been appropriated by high-end designers and the high-street fashion industry and deconstructs the processes influencing the selection of items displayed in vintage stores to reveal the diffusion mechanisms involved. The chapter concludes with a discussion questioning whether vintage clothing is truly separate from the fashion system.
Fashion as a form of consumption is a response to what is socially acceptable and dominant. The adoption of new fashions or the innovative use of existing fashions can be seen as a means of control employed by the consumer, calling into play the ‘active consumer’ who acts within different cultural biases. Contemporary India is seeing a marked rise in consumer culture and consumption practices. Consumption of fashion and clothing seems to be a major avenue for self-expression particularly among the younger generation. Indians are becoming highly fashion-conscious, buying products that correspond with contemporary styles implying a more sought after positioning as cosmopolitans in the field of modernity. While clothing today elicits extremes in emotions from various corners for numerous reasons ranging from cultural to religious to gender specific, fashion has moved from the frivolous and sartorial to making social and political statements. This chapter looks at fashion as a phenomenon of identity creation and expression. Fashion is about commodity, commoditization, and more. Fashion today is about the production, consumption, and reproduction of identity. The youth of urban India are simultaneously producing, consuming, and reproducing fashion. Through a sociological framework informed by in-depth interviews with fifteen young women in Delhi, the results of the pilot study presented in this chapter examine how India’s urban youth seem to be continuously fashioning identity through their fashion experiences and fashion practices.
Spurred by the rising consciousness among a niche consumer segment for eco-credentials, khadi denim is a recent development in India. Born of two fabrics of distinct origin, it is a spin-off from conventional denim. Khadi, a homespun and handwoven fabric was promoted by Mahatma Gandhi as a symbol of self-rule and continues to be an enduring legacy for India. The juxtaposition of khadi – an expression of the pre-independent Indian national identity, with denim – a symbol of the American entrepreneurial spirit, holds dual significance. Both fabrics have transformed from their original avatars – denim from its working-class origins into a global symbol of youth, and khadi from its deeply entrenched image as a fabric associated with politicians. The integration of khadi with denim is an example of fusion, adaptation, and increased value where design innovation leads to a redefined Indian sartorial identity. The discussion presented here about khadi denim is the outcome of research initiatives of a textile manufacturer to develop an authentic, indigenous, and differentiated denim fabric, an international retail brand, and of a fashion designer committed to sustainable, handmade production processes. The strategic decisions to frame the challenges of making and positioning khadi denim hold embedded emotional value and appeal for the discerning Indian consumer.
In the era of digital chat, dating apps, webcams, and cybersex, the presence of male nudity in the media is so commonplace that we may not even notice it. Nowadays, flipping through the pages of fashion magazines, it is not rare to see eye candy men displaying their luring lips, sweaty skin, oiled muscles, big chests, sculpted gluteus, and genitals without inhibition. This exposure of male naked bodies is the result of a long cultural process in which fashion photography has played a significant role. Fashion photography has brought to light and pursued the legacy of the pioneers who bravely took the first photos of male nudes, becoming the privileged stage for this genre. Furthermore, it has been able to reflect the changes in men’s attitude towards the male body, emerging from relative invisibility to become the main indicator of subjective identity. This chapter focusses on a selection of fashion photographers who have worked with the male nude over the last four decades: Bruce Weber, Herb Ritts, Terry Richardson, and Steven Klein. Employing a multidisciplinary approach, the author analyses the topic with reference to semiotics, sociology, men’s studies, and the history of photography.