Friday, November 24, 2006

Fashion and Its Social Agendas by Diana Crane

Fashion and Its Social Agendas: Class,Gender and Identity in Clothing
by Diana Crane
Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal
Why do people dress the way they do? How does clothing contribute to a person`s identity as a man or woman, as a white-collar professional or blue-collar worker, as a preppie, yuppie, or nerd? How is it that dress no longer denotes social class so much as lifestyle, whatever that is? Is haute couture defunct? Why may women wear pants and everything else men do, yet men may not wear skirts and everything else women do? Crane sociology, Univ. of Pennsylvania The Transformation of the Avant-Garde has written widely on the history and sociology of the arts, the news and entertainment media, fashion in clothing, and other material goods. Intelligent and informative, the book proposes thoughtful answers to some of these questions and helps us find our own answers to similar questions. While highly readable and thus accessible to the casual reader, this is a scholarly work intended mainly for an academic audience. Recommended for academic libraries and public libraries with substantial collections in art and culture.DJames F. DeRoche, Alexandria, VA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

It has long been said that clothes make the man or woman, but is it still true today? If so, how has the information clothes convey changed over the years? Using a wide range of historical and contemporary materials, Diana Crane demonstrates how the social significance of clothing has been transformed. Crane compares 19th-century societies - France and the United States - where social class was the most salient aspect of social identity signified in clothing with late 20th-century America, where lifestyle, gender, sexual orientation, age and ethnicity are more meaningful to individuals in constructing their wardrobes. Today, clothes worn at work signify social class, but leisure clothes convey meanings ranging from trite to political. In today`s multicode societies, clothes inhibit as well as facilitate communication between highly fragmented social groups. Crane extends her comparison by showing how 19th-century French designers created fashions that suited lifestyles of Paris elites but that were also widely adopted outside France. By contrast, today`s designers operate in a global marketplace, shaped by television, film and popular music. No longer confined to elites, trendsetters are drawn from many social groups, and most trends have short trajectories. To assess the impact of fashion on women, Crane uses voices of college-aged and middle-aged women who took part in focus groups. These discussions yield fascinating information about women`s perceptions of female identity and Fashion and Its Social Agendas stands out as a critical study of gender, fashion and consumer culture.

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