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Fashion, Clothing, And Society Essay

2382 words - 10 pages

There is much scholarly debate over fashion and clothing and their importance within present day society. Fashion and clothing can be defined as many things that hold our society together. Fashion can be defined as a prevailing custom or style of dress, etiquette and socialising, or the conventional usage in dress and manners, whereas clothing is defined as garments collectively or something that covers. If fashion and clothing were abolished there would be no room for individuality, the world’s population would be uniform. There also would be a loss of the distinctions between social classes, which was most predominant in the 18th century but is still present today. However fashion being abolished would have little impact on tribal and classless societies as it does not exist there. The abolishment of fashion and clothing would also change the dynamics of the social world and social relationships.
Abolition of clothing
Social structural aspects.
Clothing is used in society to show the outside world who a person is. Sennet (1978(1976):67-8) quoted by Corrigan(Corrigan 2010:163) ‘on the street one stepped into clothes that whose purpose was to make it possible for other people to act as if they knew who you were’. Clothing therefore can show the different classes of society, and who a person is, for example their religion or ethnicity. Peoples clothing is usually a reflection of their personality, they dress in a way to make the rest of the world perceive them in a certain light or how they wish to be perceived. If clothing was abolished there would be a decrease in the individuality of people, all would be perceived in the same way not how they wished. The abolishment of clothing would have an impact on the social structure of society as there would be less of a distinction between social classes, as all the clothes people bought would be the same no matter what their social class or standing.
Clothing can be a way for different gender’s to relate to one another, through a common item of clothing such as jeans. In his article ‘Wearing Ideology: how uniforms discipline minds and bodies in Japan’, McVeigh (McVeigh1997:205) states that ‘Jeans are the most student like piece of clothing that the students wear, they symbolise casualness, comfort, recreation, sociability and youth’. This suggests that clothing especially jeans, can be a way to bring people together in the same class or gender; and also to bring people of different gender’s together by being a cross gender item of clothing, jeans are mostly the same for males and females. Clothing has the influence on social structure of bringing both genders closer together through items of clothing. Clothing being abolished would create a social barrier between the two genders, they would not have a common element or common item of clothing to relate to, and be separated both socially and physically.
Clothing can be a way to break away from uniformity; it can also be used to create uniformity. ...

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