The Fashion Business: Theory, Practice, Image

The Fashion Business: Theory, Practice, Image

The Fashion Business: Theory, Practice, Image

The Fashion Business: Theory, Practice, Image


It is commonly known that fashion is big business, yet given its global significance, little has been written on the phenomenon of the fashion system. Instead, books have tended to focus on dress history, although recently the discipline has taken a more theoretical turn, with a spate of books appearing that analyze the underlying forces motivating fashion. This pioneering book unites theory and practice to provide an integrated series of snapshots taken from different perspectives of the fashion business in the second half of the twentieth century.Featuring contributions by leading experts in three main areas of important debate within the industry - the theory and culture of fashion; design and industry; and image and marketing - the book will be an essential reference for students, practitioners and theoreticians. It addresses such key issues as: the relationship between culture and clothing; the intersection of fashion and modernity; the origins of glamour; the role of creativity and the power of design; the chain store challenge; the age of the thinking designer; retail concepts; and minimalism in fashion. It is certain to be required reading on fashion courses and in related disciplines, including media, cultural and consumption studies.


This book derives from a series of lectures organised by Kingston University in collaboration with the Italian manufacturer retailer MaxMara. the lectures, entitled ‘Perspectives in Fashion’, were launched in 1994 to explore emerging themes in the history and theory of fashion, with the objective of considering them in the context of contemporary industrial practice. Both Kingston and MaxMara shared the view that this would primarily benefit students of fashion design, opening their eyes to the intellectual significance of their chosen field, and would consequently be of service to the industry itself.

The lecture series represented an opportunity to consolidate the diverse lines of approach that were being pursued in the name of fashion, often in isolation. Since its inception, around five lectures have been presented each year by a broad spectrum of speakers: historians, academics and curators, designers, industrialists, magazine editors, journalists and public relations consultants. It was envisaged that this would constitute a multi-disciplinary arena which would enable the progressive formulation of a more useful, holistic view of this complex subject than single prescriptive approaches could allow. It was hoped that understanding of contributory disciplines would be enriched by the dynamic established between them.

Although the historical ambivalence towards fashion in academic circles is widely acknowledged, the lecture series was established at a time when this situation seemed to be changing.

The history and theory of fashion has, over the past decade, become a field of unprecedented academic interest, some interdisciplinary tensions and lively methodological disputes, which the lecture series has naturally reflected.

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