Fashion

What is “fashion”? In contrast to “clothing” and “garments” (words that name the materials that are the basis of fashion) or sewing and tailoring (the processes that produce those materials), “fashion” names a relatively new cultural form. The term originated in the fourteenth century, derived from the French facon (meaning “manner, mode, or appearance”) and the Latin factionem (“making or doing”). In its etymological origin, “fashion” referred to the acts of making and of displaying—to both object and labor—but this relationship has become increasingly obscured in the term’s contemporary usage. A word that once implied both the object produced and the mode of its production is now commonly used to reference only the former, as fashionistas and fashion scholars alike become less concerned with who makes clothing (and under what conditions) than who wears it (and what this might say about their class positions, gender roles, ethnic affiliations, sexual proclivities, …

This essay may be found on page 104 of the printed volume.

Embodiments, Ideologies, Money
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