References to books, projects and academic papers that inspire us


Fashion, Culture and Identity (Fred Davis)

Fashion is a social object, but what does it reflect? And how? This work is an rigourous attempt to critically examine fashion with the wide ranging literature.

Main thesis:

What do our clothes say about who we are or who we think we are? How does the way we dress communicate messages about our identity? Is the desire to be “in fashion” universal, or is it unique to Western culture? How do fashions change? These are just a few of the intriguing questions Fred Davis sets out to answer in this provocative look at what we do with our clothes–and what they can do to us. Much of what we assume to be individual preference, Davis shows, really reflects deeper social and cultural forces. Ours is an ambivalent social world, characterized by tensions over gender roles, social status, and the expression of sexuality. Predicting what people will wear becomes a risky gamble when the link between private self and public persona can be so unstable. (Excerpt from review on Amazon)

Whilst written primarily from secondary sources, this book introduces some interesting points to criticise the easy assumption that fashion is language and thus you can “read” and “communicate” images you want to deliver. Drawn from sociology related writings, Davis attempts to offer “encoding” and “decoding” as an alternative analytical model to understand the meaning of fashion.

Theoretical framework:
French sociologists such as Simmel, Veblen, Bourdieu and Baudrillard are quoted in the work.

Book page on Amazon

Seems relevant for B+B project in some aspects, in particular how fashion contains problematic as a communication tool. Also the transitory / ephemeral nature of fashion culture is indicated well, flagging its difference from other design disciplines.

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