You Are What You Wear Essay

1849 words - 8 pages


“This is what I find remarkable about Americans – they believe that if you buy the right clothes you will be accepted by the right people, regardless of where you come from. It’s quite touching, really. I don’t know if I believe that. But I suppose it’s a good thing because it keeps the fashion business going.”- Suzy Menkes, leading fashion commentator, in the New Yorker, 2003

Every person desire of looking good and be apart in the socio-economic circle. Fashion are not just simply concern as the clothing you wear, it is more about for a person to blend in the same pursuit or become one in a particular group of people.
During the 8 lectures, I learnt a lot of information ...view middle of the document...

This essay has been divided into three parts. The first part deals with the bubble up and trickle down theories by giving examples of those brands and using the article “the suit and the photograph”(John Berger) given by Dene in the lecture, the second part is about fashion style in sub-culture and the final part is about other factors that cause the fashion movement and the meaning of luxury brand.


The cult of luxury brand (Radha Chadha & ‎Paul Husband, 2006) outlines the trickle down theory of fashion by Georg Simmel in 1904. “In his view, styles and status symbols emerged from the upper classes and then trickled down to the masses, who imitated them in an attempt to climb up the social ladder. In the meantime the élite kept a close eye on the classes below, and promptly moved on to newer styles once the earlier ones became too common.” (Trickle down theory of fashion, Georg Simmel, 1904) Due to his point, it could be defined the “style” is the higher class trying to be unlike his fellow men, and the “popular taste” is the lower class trying to be like the same as the higher class.
One other example is John Berger’s study of Sander’s photos. It shows ‘the contradiction’ between working class bodies and the suit. According to the article, “Yet the static photograph shows, perhaps more vividly than in life, the fundamental reason why the suit, far from disguising the social class of those who wore them, underlined and emphasized it.” (John Berger, The suit and the photograph) Explained the reason why the lower class is likely to simulate the higher class’s style, they like to feel the atmosphere of high class. As a matter of fact, although both classes were wearing the same kind of style, the higher class suit should be fit and slim and the lower class is manufactory made. So for the purpose of this reason, the meaning of suit was totally changed.
Some high culture fashion brand was aimed for the upper class people, such as Burberry, was famed of runway style wore by iconic celebrities. However, their iconic logo fabric was massively printed on cheap bags, cloth and accessories. Burberry suddenly turns into lower class’s market. So as Louis Vuitton, in the 19th century, Louis Vuitton luggage is still made by hand with individual handmade key for the costumer, which highlighted the customizing idea for the higher class. Yet the brand has carried by a large group of people in China, it became struggles of their Logo meaning and their original idea.
In contrast, fashion style not only changes by the hierarchical society, some people want to be special and also influenced by other’s spirit and mind. With this intention, sub-culture is also a main subject that changes the fashion movement. During the “Sub-culture” lecture, we know about the difference between culture and sub-culture. A subculture functions like a culture, in that it is often generated by a relatively large number of members, they shared the same interests and...

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