Culture Studies for fashion
3.What is fashion’s role in the construction of social identities? Discuss with reference to specific examples.
This essay discusses how fashion helps convey the social identity of the rich and wealthy. Status includes class, gender, and ages. Status is important in today’s society. As Coco Chanel said, ”women should dress as plainly as their maids” (Davis 1992:57). A person who is wealthy is a symbol of a person who is successful and of high income in the society. Being wealthy can upgrade one’s status to a higher class, and to be associated with the upper class society. Being wealthy will bring about better lifestyle and standard of living, which allows one to move to a better place and area of residence. Naturally, it creates a bigger opportunity to mingle with societies of a different class. This essay will discuss about status and wealth followed by the history of fashion and how important the type of fabric is in differentiating status and classes. We will then discuss about how technology in the 21st century has helped in the development of fashion.
In the late 13th and 14th century, the fabric and gem trade brought back from the east started and spread throughout Europe. These fabric and cloths could only be afforded by the rich, thus wearing these clothes showed the status in the society. This was as Davis (1992; 58) said, ‘Wearing one’s wealth on one’s back’. Different classes of people had very different lifestyles and attended different activities. For example the upper class people went shopping, had afternoon tea, attended evening balls, and were presented the chance to have an education in school. The standard of living was very vastly different as lower class people had to suffer, go through hunger, and possess no extra money for anything other than their basic necessities. Their source of income were either by working day and night in the factory, working as maids for the rich or operating small business...
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