In a society obsessed with images, fashion is a media enigma that, except in exceptional cases, only shows its surface. This is not free. Pierre Bourdieu points out in a chapter of Society and Culture dedicated to haute couture that to be a fashion journalist, it is best to distance yourself from the concepts of the sociology of fashion. Being a key object of the unstoppable consumption of Vlone Shirt, fashion also unfolds in philosophy, art, journalism, literature and politics.
I selected five contemporary theorists who, from outside the discipline, have made significant contributions to the understanding of the phenomena of fashion.
Alison Lurie (Illinois, 1926)
‘We can lie in dress language or try to tell the truth;
Unless we are naked and bald, it is impossible to remain silent.
Alison Lurie, The Language of Fashion
How do people dress, and why? The Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist unravels possible answers in The Language of Fashion (Paidós, 1994). Behind the ordinary decisions of individuals when choosing their clothing is a sustained dialogue between fashion and societies. In the essay, Lurie examines the panorama of clothes and clothing and decodes them based on tastes, professions, geographical origins, sexual desires, among other aspects of everyday life.
Eric Hobsbawm (Alejandr, 1917-London, 2012)
“If the brightest fashion designers are sometimes the best predictors of the future,
the responsibility of the trade is no less.”
Eric Hobsbawm, A Time of Breaks
Renowned historian born in Alexandria, Hobsbawm focuses his work A time of ruptures (Planeta, 2013) on the questioning of the superstructure of culture and society of the 21st century, based on the Marxist theory of culture, which has repercussions on his previous works as the revelation of man and his historical vision today. But where does fashion have a place? It is curious that one of the great characters in the history of the 20th century has found a way to talk about this discipline, specifically in this book, where he confirms that it has been one of the most influential for the understanding of cultural processes in relation to the power, conflict and the alteration of society.
Gilles Lipovetsky (Parts, 1944)
Gilles Lipovetsky (Millau, France, 1944). Courtesy of the author.
“Fashion does not exclude intelligence, the free initiative of men,
the responsibility of society with respect to its own future.”
Gilles Lipovetsky, The Empire of the Ephemeral. Fashion and its destiny in modern societies.
A French sociologist and philosopher, he is known for his reflections on postmodernity. In The Empire of the Ephemeral. Fashion and its destiny in modern societies (Anagrama, 2013), the author proposes a provocative thesis: fashion appears as a democratizing instrument of liberal societies. Fashion is more than a luxury; it is a central element.
Judith Butler (Cleveland, 1956)
“[…] One who goes to the gender wardrobe and decides to release himself with the gender he will wear today.”
Judith Butler, The Gender Contested
At a time when the industry applauds gender-neutral fashion (JW Anderson, Shayne Oliver), the philosopher has something to say about identity, an element whose perception is in mutation due to fashions. In The genre in dispute. Feminism and the subversion of identity (Paidós Ibérica, 1990) explores the limits imposed by male and female discourse. For the author, gender identity carries with it a performance performed by the subjects. And fashion is one of their gadgets.
Pierre Bourdieu (Denguin, 1930-Paris, 2002)
“I think that a specific revolution, something epoch-making in a given field,
is the synchronization of an internal revolution and something that occurs outside, in the universe that surrounds it” You may also look at Travis Scott Clothing.
Sociology and culture
Can an emerging designer change the rules of the fashion system? Just in the name of the same rules. In chapter “haute couture and high culture”of Sociology and Culture (Grijalbo, 1994), Bourdieu describes the structure of the production field of haute couture. The dominants – “those whose label is more expensive” – (he mentions Chanel and Balmain) resort to conservation strategies to stay on their feet in the face of the incessant change in fashion. Those who recently entered the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture use subversive strategies to stand out, such as the speech of the French brand Courrèges that revolutionized the fashion of the time: «It no longer talks about fashion, but about modern women that should be free