The fashion industry is a complex and ever-changing multi-level system that affects millions of people throughout the world. However, fashion itself is heavily based on identity and social theory. In my initial response to this question, I stated how I felt that fashion is not deeply personal and emotional but instead acts as a facade for the wearer in order to distort perceptions and control how the wearer is viewed. While I still find this true in most cases, fashion (and how people use it) is heavily dependant on the wearer’s subject positions that shape their identity. This course has taught me through the various readings and my own introspection that fashion is not only relevant because it’s trendy and glamorous but because it’s truly affected by so many social factors that shape who we are as people. Class, race, gender, and age all play a part in how someone dresses or interacts with fashion.
It is important to decipher the differences between dress, fashion, and style because people interact with each one differently. Dress is what many people would consider “clothing” and not fashion, dress also makes up such a large portion of the fast fashion industry as well. Dress as well as fashion is impacted by the same social factors which make them similar. Both dress and fashion act as armor or a barrier between the wearer and the outside world. According to Joan Entwistle in The Dressed Body, “Dress…lies on the boundary between self and other,” This concept became so clear when discussing how and why people choose to dress themselves the way they do.
In general, the term fashion is so broad and encompasses so many subjects and topics that it is hard to define. Fashion speaks volumes about the wearer and the designer even if it is not intended. Clothing is so heavily steeped in social connotations that sometimes what we wear says more about us than we do verbally.