I Speak Through My Clothes

1815 Words Apr 28th, 2015 8 Pages
“I speak through my clothes.” (Hebdige, 1993: 100, quoting Eco, 1973) Fashion is one of the ways that one creates identity. In particular, since the rise of youth culture in the 1960s “fashion has become… a way of defining one’s identity - or else a way of avoiding such definition”. (Gonzalez & Bovone, 2012: 23) The 1960s saw a rise in mass production of consumerism fashion, and has been used as a form of expressing ones identity; whether it be inspired or interpreted from religion, social status, habitus, gender, cultural icons, or subcultures (such as punk, pastel goth, hipster, etc.) Crane states in Fashion and its Social Agendas, that due to the “availability of inexpensive clothing… that those with limited resources can find or create personal styles that express their perceptions of their identities” (Crane, 2000: 6); “the consumer is expected to ‘construct’ an individualised appearance from a variety of options.” (Crane, 2000: 155) However, Polhemus argues that “Fashion is an arbitrary language system where things are really what they appear to be” (Polhemus, 2011: 49), suggesting that fashion is a tool used for illusion. Bovone contributes, stating that “On the stage of everyday life, the performer declares what he is… his image is at stake and he is involved in a continuous negotiation with his fellow performers and the audience.” (Gonzalez & Bovone, 2012: 72) Polhemus and Bovone both illustrate that whilst fashion helps to create identity, it is not a reliable…
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