Sociology of fashion

If he existed modes since the Middle Ages, the mode as a “total social fact”, that is to say, as a phenomenon which sets in motion rituals and institutions, are only required in the Nineteenth century. This is the point of departure of Frédéric Monneyron, Frédéric Godart in their books called all two Sociology of fashion and published, respectively, in the Puf (QSJ, 2006) and the Discovery (Al Marks, 2010). Be liable to a conception of linear time, to own the modern West (the mode, by essence, does not last and is renewed on a regular basis), fashion as a concept and social phenomenon is not a universal phenomenon, but a creation of the west. If we define the mode as the ” perpetual change affecting the whole of a company “, it has never been a universal feature of the costume. In fact the mode is related to the advent of western societies where the individual becomes the reference of companies and more precisely, the birth of fashion is a concomitant of the birth of the corporate bourgeois. According to Frédéric Godart, the mode appears to the Renaissance, with the emergence of the bourgeoisie whose emergence is questioning the aristocracy. The bourgeois mean by their clothes and accessories luxurious their new political power, economic and social, driving the aristocracy to react in a similar way.

The work of Frédéric Godart takes for the nodal point of its synthesis lhas a fashion industry. According to this focus, the mode corresponds to the apparel industry and luxury. Suffice to say that this book is concerned mostly with the fashion in its creative dimension and productive. Frédéric Godart takes a different approach of other works, which is exciting. In this respect, this book fills out the contract that was secured to the author.

The book is organized around six principles. The mode is characterized, in the first place, by a principle of affirmation, through which individuals and social groups are mimic and differ using signals, clothing or associates. The second principle that defines the mode is the principle of convergence. This principle means that the mode is characterized by the existence of trends : if the styles have multiple origins, their production takes place only in a small number of house modes, centralized. The third principle is a principle of autonomy, an autonomy of creative activity : fashion houses are autonomous in relation to their political environment, economic… the fourth principle is the principle of personalization, according to which the creator is, at the end of a historical process, placed at the center of the fashion industry. The fifth principle is a principle of symbolization : the brands have a major role between producers and fashion consumers. The sixth principle is the principle said to impéralisation that manifests the sphere growing expansion of the mode.

If the reader seeks a common understanding on the participation of the mode in the social construction of gender difference, he’ll have to turn to books complementary. Frédéric Monneyron in his QSJ devotes a few pages stealth. The history of morals is published in the Pléiade edition,1 is about more verbose. It will also be found in Quentin Bell (Fashion and society : essay on the sociology of the garment, Paris, Presses universitaires de France, 1992)

If the reader seeks to understand the mode as a system which imposes itself to individuals, chapter one of the book of Frédéric Godart meets expectations. It can be completed in very useful ways by the work of Quentin Bell as quoted above, which takes as its object of reflection, the social standards in the field of fashion. Why is the man a company does not clothe it otherwise than it does, if not that a set of values and constraints as is the custom, the price, the taste, or decency prescribed or proscribed certain uses, condones or encourages certain behaviors ? Dress is not freely associate to the elements drawn from an infinite number of possible, but combine elements collected according to certain rules, in a limited pool. In this area the pressure of the entourage draws on the same source as in the case of custom or any other norm of behavior. All the time that one deviates from the mode, it draws a certain disapproval of his entourage, as reported by Edmond Goblot ” How many women would be more shameful to wear a hat to the fashion of the past year to be convinced of a lie ! A man realizes that he has forgotten his tie, he is covered with confusion; it is of necessity that he buys one in the store closest to you or that he goes home. “((Goblot, Edmond, The barrier and the level. Sociological study on the French bourgeois modern, 1925))

Quentin Bell in his sociology of the garment draws our attention to what, for him, is one of the main characteristics of the garment. “Which of us is insensitive to the inconvenience that he has to wear certain clothes that we feel compelled to wear ? [But] we follow the standard. There are little people to challenge purely and simply the rules for the use “. In terms of clothing, therefore there are codes, standards of which we are not always aware of it. There is an “ethics of the garment” where appropriate social forces.

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