TWO MAJOR SOCIOLOGICAL THEORIES OF FASHION: VEBLEN AND SIMMEL

Craik admitted that certain fashion companies had used counterfeits and fakes as a form of flattery.

By Balthazar Malevolent

TWO MAJOR SOCIOLOGICAL THEORIES OF FASHION: VEBLEN AND SIMMEL

In modern society, fashion is more than the production of clothing. It is the strong understanding of the need to consistently maximize the potential of a client’s communication. The word 'fashion' may explicitly apply to clothing and more broadly to a collective gathering of moods and tastes, but the definition of fashion changes between both meanings without loss of clarification or accent.

Typography in fashion: Mary Katrantzou

There have been two major sociological theories of fashion: Veblen and Simmel's theory of the late nineteenth / early twentieth century, and Blumer's universal theory of selection, which conceived fashion as a systemic mechanism permeating far more areas of social life than just women's clothes, and focused on what he saw as an universal mood, taste and desire.

A fashion author, Fred Davis, stressed that no theory was adequate to respond to the complexities and diversity of fashion, defining it in different ways as polycentric, polymorphous and pluralistic. The same could be said for the style design industry and therefore it is not remarkable that they could share common ground. What is shocking is that no one has discussed their similarities in theoretical terms beforehand. Fred Davis presented the following phases of the fashion process, and the stages labeled well describe a similar typeface:

Invention (originality, innovation, creative talent)

Introduction (presentation to the public)

Fashion leadership (adoption by ‘key persons’)

Increasing social visibility (adaptation for the mass market)

Waning

Craik listed several fashion phenomena that are important to the typefaces. First, Craik defined the bricolage process as 'creating new patterns and modes of cultural debris from the kaleidoscopic bits and pieces.' This fashion bricolage concept was paralleled in the 1990s by the creation of different typefaces (such as Jonathan Barnbrook's 1995 typeface prototype, constructed from parts of around ten other typefaces, which he named a 'hybrid' typeface, or Karl Randay's 1997 typeface Merlin, which combined elements of three Macintosh default font).

In recent years, copyright infringement and typeface theft have been of significant concern to type designers. However, the fashion industry did have a particular approach to these issues. Craik addressed the fetishization by mass market buyers of top designer brands, the increase in imitation or fake designs and the difficulties involved in demanding intellectual property rights over copyright, design and trademark.

Craik admitted that certain fashion companies had used counterfeits and fakes as a form of flattery. However, fashion houses such as Mugler, Rick Owens, Alexander Wang, Courreges, Ellery often put lawsuits on those trying to copy them.

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