Following on from his ground breaking book Fashion Cultures, Steve Davidson now turns once more to the cutting edge with his second volume, Fashion Cultures Revisited. Here he explores the issues surrounding identity and fashion in a fresh and thought provoking way. Fashion, it seems, is subject to much controversy these days, especially when celebrities are caught out wearing the wrong brands. The book looks closely at the implications that can arise from having a particular style of clothing or a particular brand of accessories. It also investigates how such issues affect everyday life, with an eye to helping people understand the complexity of fashion and why it is often misunderstood.
The author starts off by looking at fashion as a specific profession and how certain professions gain and lose followers in popular opinion. He then examines the impact that fashion styles have on people and examines how the media influence fashion styles. Fashion then becomes an object of desire, with the media feeding the desire by reporting what they think is desirable. Davidson then examines what is actually lost when fashion is reduced to a mere object, and why some styles are always fashionable while others are not. Finally, he considers the impact of celebrity culture, which he claims is one of the biggest barriers to promoting modern fashion. This wide-ranging discussion ends with a conclusion chapter looking at current issues surrounding fashion, and how they can be addressed through new fashion design.
Some of the challenges presented by the fashion industry today are highlighted by Davidson. He identifies many celebrities who escape any criticism because they belong to a popular culture, and analyses why this is a problem for those working within the fashion industry. Some of the challenges faced by fashion culture designers are also illustrated by Davidson. For instance, he points out that designers are increasingly whitified and encouraged to look European, with little effort to question the impact of Western fashion on non-Westerners. Davidson also describes and criticizes the ‘high fashionization’ of street wear in North America, creating a void that continues to be filled with manufactured goods that are not in keeping with the style desired by the people who are most identified with street wear.
This book makes an important and insightful reading for anyone who is aspiring to become a fashion designer. The book is a great introduction to fashion as a major and provides a useful introduction to contemporary issues around fashion as well as an excellent bibliography that will prove very useful to future academics. The use of colour in clothing is detailed and thought provoking, and is presented in a clear and concise way. All university undergraduate degree students will benefit from reading this text.