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George Simmel and Fashion - Essay Example

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The aim of this paper is to discuss Georg Simmel and Fashion. The term fashion reflects interminable and recurring changes within the realms of a modern society. It highlights various aspects that are relevant for analysing the social and political psychology…
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George Simmel and Fashion
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Download file to see previous pages The paper "Georg Simmel and Fashion" concerns the Georg Simmel and Fashion. While there are many writings on fashion, hel was the first one to make an in-depth analytical study on the subject. While his contemporaries viewed fashion as highly irrational in nature, Simmel suggested that the upper classes used fashion to set themselves apart from rest of the society. His theory revolved round concepts of individualism and collectivism, where it was conceptualised that fashion spreads from upper classes to the masses through remodelling. When a certain object or activity reaches the middle classes, the upper class must invent a new fashion to maintain distinction, which according to Simmel, illustrates the notion of recurring changes within fashion. 1904 essay “Fashion” examines sociological aspects of fashion and its role in conciliating the tension/conflict evident within modern social dynamics, related to gender and class. According to Simmel, fashion, which is a non-summative transformation in cultural attributes, evolves from a tension that is distinctive to an individual’s social conditions. While each individual tends to imitate or emulate others, at the same time there is also a tendency to remain separate from others. Undoubtedly, while some adopt imitation (conformism), others prefer to remain distinct (dissidence), and for fashion to be effective, it is necessary to allow functioning of both the opposing tendencies. Reviewing Simmel’s article is significant from current sociological perspectives., as it stands out as the only real attempt towards deriving basic theories on fashion. This essay reviews theories suggested by Simmel, and examines how the underlying tension (desire for conformation and distinction, at the same time) operates at group and individual levels, and how it reflects and influences wider social conditions. This essay also derives from Simmel’s writing that fashion is a kind of social relationship, which makes it an important tool in understanding modern urban society. Introduction Since the beginning of 20th century, there has been a great deal of discussion on fashion. However, a closer look reveals that is a dearth of analytical and generic theories on this topic. Amongst the various available literatures, the best analysis on fashion is the essay written by Georg Simmel in 1904. This remains to this day, probably the only real attempt towards framing a basic theory on fashion; consequently, while the paper is now more than a hundred years old, theories and concepts suggested in it remain relevant, even in post-modern twenty-first century social structure (Coser, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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