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Relationship Between Fashion And Identity Cultural Studies Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Cultural Studies
Wordcount: 1492 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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For many years people have been putting some message in the type of clothing they wore, people started wanting to stand out from the big crowds and be different from other people, changing the way they use their clothes, giving a personal touch, trying to stand out from the common way that people were used to wear it.

Fashion can be defined as a constantly changing trend, it is necessary to recognize that at the present moment fashion has a deeper influence on people’s life, is not only anymore something to cover our self, fashion nowadays show some part of people’s personality and tell to other people who they are. People can decide in which way want to be perceive, showing that fashion posses more than just frivolous reasons for its existence, is not just a way to look good, transcends social and cultural barriers.

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Clothing has become a part of the self-realization of every person. At the beginning Clothing was basically designed to be supply the fact of be covering as a need, a need that is dictated by the norms of social conduct. The type of clothing people use to cover depends on the person who is wearing it, taking us to the concept of personal identity. The choice of clothing and accessories is as important as the identification of the colour of hair, height, skin and gender. Clothing nowadays is a media of information about the person wearing it (Barnard, 2002)

The present time offers a great variety of styles and gives people the opportunity to reveal their identity. Every cloth carries a strong message but is about every owner look. Therefore, the clothing of a person is a mean of communication with the outside world. It is the way of telling people about the “state” and the “status” of it owner (Barnes& Eicher, 2008).

On the book “Fashion as communication” by Malcolm Barnard, it is a perfect outlining of cultural roles, rules, rituals, and responsibilities that are maintained and constructed by fashion.

Fashion can be compared to art. The use that people give to the clothes is like an architector that gives his creation any shape he desires and want and at the same time is the reflection of the architector’s toughs, believes and also the place and the social class for who he is designing for, this works as a perfect example because, people look in one way when they are going to work and they are some other where they are just hanging out with friends. The message that clothing contains is basically a way of nonverbal communication, all of this means that in this new era, people not just wear close to follow a social condition that is to be cover, it is also a way to show people how important is for each of us to be well presented. Clothes have an immense impact on the perception of people and on the perception of the person who is wearing it, a suit can make a person feel more confident which eventually will change even the gestures and the manner of talking of the person or for instance wearing jeans after a suit may change the conduct of a person to a very liberal one (Hollander, 2002)

The perception of people around can be very predictable in terms of their reaction on a person wearing this or that style of clothing. Fashion is one of the most powerful means of communication, which sometimes may play a vital role in the life of a person. Therefore fashion may not only carry a message. This can be simply proved by analysing the reaction of the people on the street on people wearing different types of clothing. The preference is always given to people dressed in a conventional way, with this I’m not saying that been presented in the way that society expect is the right way, I’m just saying that we still inside of a society that always expect that things should be in a certain way, is good that we are opening our minds and is easy to develop an style in a free way showing their personality without be scare of the reaction of the society, we don’t judge the people who is next to us for what he is wearing because the believes and thought of that person can tell him that the person who is next to him is not going according to it should be, here is where it comes the fact that that globalized world like the one we are living now, give us the opportunity to understand that not what I think is what is right, all of this show us that fashion it can be a tool of manipulation where with the right look you can be part of any society without have to expose what you truly believe.

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In terms of gender Clothing is a fundamental part in the image of a contemporary man or a woman (Crane, 2001). The image is constructed for various reasons and has various manifestations; Dressing has become a way to create and to reveal information. Fashion has always been considered to have more of women based orientation, Women, have a great impact on the development of fashion worldwide. Of course one of the primary messages clothes carry is the social message. Historically the social message has transformed, Nowadays clothing is not an attribute of belonging to a clan, or to a restrained social level though it still can tell a lot about the financial status of a person, women use to wore traditional dresses, which signified their cultural and social status (Guy& Green & Banim, 2003). Women clothing in the past had a lot to do with emphasizing femininity, Analysing the way of dressing today it is necessary to say that fashionable clothes has push extremely femininity way. Women become less ladylike but more aggressive and business like. Women have accepted a lot of clothing styles that propagandize masculinity. Of course they’re still some women that still caring tenderness and femininity preserving women’s sexuality in their styles but nevertheless the general tendency of feminization in today’s society has done its work. Nowadays is not a secret that men are more involved on this trend of take care in a better way of the way they look. Through the history men’s fashion has changed a lot. Identity has brought a lot of specific changes in the perception of a contemporary man. An open manifestation of sexual orientation has brought the image of a feminine man; fashion for men has become more flexible, letting the men express it self without been worried of what people is going to think about it, the funny thing if it can be call as funny is that before, taking that before as the time of kings and prince, they used to be really concerned about they way they look, and if look some of those customs some of them used to be really feminine and the fact that they were really concern about they way they look was normal, even the fact that a prince didn’t care they way he looks was disrespectful with his customs.

The symbolism of clothing is another part of delivering the message that a person tries to put into it. The symbolism may touch any part of people’s life For example: music, sexual orientation and some others, (Barnard, 2002). Originally, a symbol is a facility that is used to express feelings or belonging to some group of class often dealing with power and wealth. The perception of symbols is not the same as the perception of the whole clothing image of an individual, because people may interpret the same symbol differently and the understanding of the carrier of the symbol will be completely different. For Example every person has to be very careful with the symbol on a visit in a foreign country; all of this because the double meaning of the symbols that may be offending the culture the person is in, this take us to the example of someone next to us on the underground, every person belongs to a different culture and has the right to reveal into his personal identity sometimes replacing on his own look his cultural identity.

This cultural identity brings people belonging to a culture definite highlighting differences with other people. Clothing in terms of culture is the way to reveal either the historical roots of a person or the roots the group he belongs to demonstrating a belonging to a certain cultural community. Is very easy to distinguish a European from a Hindu by the style of dressing or an Indian woman from an oriental woman by the distinctive spot on the forehead of an Indian woman and a veil worn by Moslem woman. Fashion has taken the best part of the traditional costumes of every culture, giving the chance to people to show from where they came in a really respectful way, been proud of where they came from.

Fashion and identity are inseparable. Fashion with all its symbolism and attributes and with it outstanding base and the Identity as a necessary process of each person personality as it is a part of self-realization. Fashion can help each person to show who is and how wants to be seen.


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