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Fashion criticism unravelled: A sociological critique of criticism in fashion media

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The starting point for this article is the observation that in fashion there is no established form of criticism comparable to the art system or the literary system. The intent of this article is to provide a critical sociological analysis of the relationship between the fashion industry and fashion media and to trace the limits imposed on fashion criticism by this mutual structural-economic-dependency. The article examines the socio-economic and cultural ties between the fashion industry and fashion media since the nineteenth century to the present and investigates the consequences of these ties for the development and limits of criticism in fashion journalism. The article discusses the emergence of a discourse of normative constraint in digital media and argues that the advent of digital fashion media led to an intensification of the economic limitations to fashion criticism. By analysing the conditions and limitations of criticism in the realm of fashion journalism, the article brings the literature on fashion media into conversation with critical theory and the sociology of critique.
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Keywords: fashion blogs; fashion criticism; fashion magazines; fashion media; sociological critique

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Applied Arts Vienna, Austria

Publication date: October 1, 2016

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  • The International Journal of Fashion Studies is a scientific peer-reviewed journal that fosters the worldwide diffusion of Fashion Studies. Fashion Studies is an interdisciplinary field of research that has been producing an extensive repertoire of theories, analyses and enquiries.
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