fashion definition

Fashion Definition

Georg Simmel illustrated the contradictions in fashion definition in a variety of ways. Fashion is a form of social relationship. Basically, It allows those who wish to conform to the demands of the group to do so. In contrast, fashion also provides the norm from which those who wish to be individualistic can deviate.

  Above all Fashion involves a historical process as well . At the initial stage, everyone accepts what is fashioable. Inevitably individuals deviate from this. Finally, in the process of deviation , they may adopt a whole new view of fashion. Fashion is also dialectical in the sense that the success and spread of any given fashion leads to its eventual failure. Hence, the distinctiveness of something leads to its being considered fashionable. Furthermore, due to large numbers of people come to accept it, it ceases to be distinctive . As a result, it loses its attractiveness.

 Still another duality involves the role of the leader of a fashion movement. Such a person leads the group , paradoxically, by following the fashion better than others.  That is, by adopting it more determinedly .


Simmel argued that not only does following what is in fashion involve dualities but so does the effort on the part of some people to be out of fashion. Unfashionable people view those who follow a fashion as being imitators and themselves as mavericks. But simmel argued that the latter are simply engaging in an inverse form of imitation. Individuals may avoid what is in fashion because they are afraid that they , like their peers , will lose their individuality. But , in Simmel’s view such a fear is hardly a sign of great personal strength and independence.

Simmel noted that in fashion “all…. leading antithetical tendencies are represented in one way or another “. (1907/1971:337) This is an amazing theory of fashion analysis. fashion definition .

Read : Georg Simmel : A biographical sketch



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