Fashion Victims: On the Individualizing and De-individualizing Powers of Fashion

Author: Schiermer, Bjørn

Source: Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture, Volume 14, Number 1, March 2010 , pp. 83-104(22)

Publisher: Bloomsbury Journals (formerly Berg Journals)

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This article discusses the popular notion of the “fashion victim.” It conceives of the notion of fashion victimization as an integral part of existence in modern individualized society. 1) Through analyzing different accounts of fashion victimization, I aim to distil a common phenomenological core extant in these experiences. As we will see, these experiences tell us a great deal about the individualizing and de-individualizing dynamics of fashion. 2) This analysis can be used, so I argue, to understand fashion as a sociocultural dynamic on its own terms. In so doing, I mean to isolate the most important elements of the experiences connected to fashion dynamics, and thus create a phenomenological concept of fashion that captures all manifestations of fashion in society. 3) On the phenomenological level, the deciding factor is the object. It is through the experience of the fashionable object that the individualizing and de-individualizing powers of fashion are mediated.

Keywords: fashion; fashion victim; object of fashion; phenomenology of fashion

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Email:

Publication date: March 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • 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.
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