Within post-modern culture, fashion's constantly evolving presence and placement in the spheres of both culture and commerce, have forced a widespread re-evaluation of its significance in cultural debate. The production of fashion now exists within a diverse range of contextual settings, and as such encompasses a broad range of communicational scope. From internet sites publicising catwalk imagery to a proliferation of style magazines, fashion is communicated in the commercial domain as a cyclical industry, whilst it is simultaneously critiqued in cultural theory. It is with this influx of saturation coverage that our post-modern culture now seems to have accepted, and now demands, this bi-annual renewal of style in fashion. It is in this new cultural placement of that fashion arena that designers can afford much of the same creativity as that of the art world, being freed from the constraints of the commercial market, yet its removed attachment seems to be the force that both attracts and repels the art world. The most recent placement of fashion in the context of galleries that has provoked debate in both the fashion and art worlds, arguably to profitably attach brands to the significance of the culture of fine art. It is in its newly found presence in both high and popular culture that fashion finds itself located across both commerce and art, and now seems to be entering into a new cultural dialogue of previously opposing cultural contexts.
Fashion Theory takes as its starting point a definition of “fashion” as the cultural construction of the embodied identity. The importance of studying the body as a site for the deployment of discourses has been well established in a number of disciplines. Until Fashion Theorys launch in 1997 the dressed body had suffered from a lack of critical analysis. Increasingly scholars have recognized the cultural significance of self-fashioning, including not only clothing but also such body alterations as tattooing and piercing.
Fashion Theory provides an international and interdisciplinary forum for the rigorous analysis of cultural phenomena. Its peer-reviewed articles range from foot-binding to fashion advertising.