From “Things of Imitation” to “Devices of Differentiation”: Uncovering a Paradoxical History of Clothing (1950–2015)

Irene Maldini, Ragna Luciana Manz

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This article argues for an updated theoretical framework in fashion studies. It proposes that perspectives emphasizing the social role and the technological nature of dress should be considered complementary, and that their joint application can contribute to new understandings of fashion history. Employing ethnographic methods, this stance is explored through a comparative analysis of the sartorial practices of two groups of women living or working in Amsterdam during the 1950s and the 2010s. A theoretical framework integrating theories of identity (mainly based on the writings of Georg Simmel and Gabriel Tarde) and the philosophy of technology (in this case the device paradigm of Albert Borgmann) allows us to uncover a paradoxical history of fashion in which clothing shifts roles, transforming from “things of imitation” into “devices of differentiation.”.

LanguageEnglish
Pages69-84
Number of pages16
JournalFashion Theory - Journal of Dress Body and Culture
Volume22
Issue number1
Early online date23 Apr 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018

Fingerprint

imitation
clothing
history
Social Role
paradigm
Imitation
Fashion History
History
Clothing
Theoretical Framework
Group
Paradigm
Georg Simmel
Amsterdam
1950s
Ethnographic Methods
Comparative Analysis
Philosophy of Technology
Stance

Keywords

  • fashion theory
  • history of dress
  • identity
  • materiality
  • philosophy of technology

Cite this

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From “Things of Imitation” to “Devices of Differentiation” : Uncovering a Paradoxical History of Clothing (1950–2015). / Maldini, Irene; Manz, Ragna Luciana.

In: Fashion Theory - Journal of Dress Body and Culture, Vol. 22, No. 1, 04.2018, p. 69-84.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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