Fashion in the Early History There Was Essay

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FASHION

In the early history, there was no need of describing the existence of a market as the markets at that time were controlled by various social institutions and were governed by a set of non-economic norms and rules. The people, therefore, relied on the unproblematic existence of the markets. (Maddison )[footnoteRef:2] According to Marx, a commodity can be defined as, 'an object outside us, a thing that by its properties satisfies human wants of some sort or another. The nature of such wants, whether, for instance they spring from the stomach or from the fancy, makes no difference'. (Llyod 2008)[footnoteRef:3] [2: Ben Maddison, "Commodification And The Construction Of Mainstream Australian Economic Historiography," JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIAN POLITICAL ECONOMY, 58: 115-138, http://media.wix.com/ugd/b629ee_07cf0f9c87646590559687add60e0726.pdf (accessed July 11, 2013).] [3: Gareth Llyod, "Commodity Fetishism and Domination: The Contributions of Marx, Lukacs, Horkheimer, Adorno and Bourdieu." (unpublished master., Rhodes University, 2008), Rhodes University, http://eprints.ru.ac.za/1270/1/GarethLloyd-MAthesis.pdf.]

The essential characteristics of a commodity include that; it must be in the form of a good or service. In addition to that, it must be of use to the human beings and must satisfy their needs and wants. (Llyod 2008)[footnoteRef:4] [4: Gareth Llyod, "Commodity Fetishism and Domination: The Contributions of Marx, Lukacs, Horkheimer, Adorno and Bourdieu." (unpublished master., Rhodes University, 2008), Rhodes University, http://eprints.ru.ac.za/1270/1/GarethLloyd-MAthesis.pdf.]

But in the 1980s this concept of commodity was disestablished. In this era the concept of commodification and commodity was being applied to those areas of life which were considered to be excluded from these concepts in the earlier eras. (Maddison )[footnoteRef:5] [5: Ben Maddison, "Commodification And The Construction Of Mainstream Australian Economic Historiography," JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIAN POLITICAL ECONOMY, 58: 115-138, http://media.wix.com/ugd/b629ee_07cf0f9c87646590559687add60e0726.pdf (accessed July 11, 2013).]

The center of attention of all the capitalist economies in the era of 1980s was commodification, which can also be defined as the process of rendering every aspect and every part of life as marketable. The act of commodifying each and every aspect of life relates back to Marx's view that the workers who render services for various organizations sell themselves in some real sense. This indicates that people were being commodified even before they were willing to sell themselves in order to advertise products. (Sandel 2012)[footnoteRef:6] [6: Mark Sandel, ed. Denton: Texas Woman's University, 2012. "The Commodification Of Everything." http://readwritenow.wordpress.com/2012/03/21/mark-sandel-the-commodification-of-everything/(accessed July 12, 2013).]

Before the 19th and the 20th century, there was no such thing as a free market economy and the markets were being run and managed by the social institutions of friendship, kinship, society and state. The markets at that time were subjected to norms that were non-economic in nature, such as religious, ethical and legal norms and hence these norms put a limit to what could be bought and sold in the market. And what could be bought by whom. (Fraser 2012)[footnoteRef:7] [7: Nancy Fraser, "Can society be commodities all the way down? Polanyian relections on capitalist crisis," (Paris: The House of Human Sciences (FMSH), 2012)http://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/docs/00/72/50/60/PDF/FMSH-WP-2012-18_Fraser2.pdf (accessed July 12, 2013).]

But all these principals changed with the invention of the market economy, which established a separate economic system that was not linked with the other institutions of the society and was governed by the market mechanism and not by the social institutions. In this system all the production was directed to be sold on the price setting markets. (Fraser 2012) [footnoteRef:8] [8: Nancy Fraser, "Can society be commodities all the way down? Polanyian relections on capitalist crisis," (Paris: The House of Human Sciences (FMSH), 2012)http://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/docs/00/72/50/60/PDF/FMSH-WP-2012-18_Fraser2.pdf (accessed July 12, 2013).]

These markets were said to be governed and directed by the forces of demand and supply and they were also known as the self-regulating markets. And in these markets not only the luxury and ordinary goods traded but also the inputs used for production, including human resources and capital were also traded in these markets. Thus the things which were necessary for the production of the commodities were also considered as commodities in the market economy. (Fraser 2012)[footnoteRef:9] [9: Nancy Fraser, "Can society be commodities all the way down? Polanyian relections on capitalist crisis," (Paris: The House of Human Sciences (FMSH), 2012)http://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/docs/00/72/50/60/PDF/FMSH-WP-2012-18_Fraser2.pdf (accessed July 12, 2013).]

The major problem with this commodity culture was that it was directed towards rapidly commodifying each and every aspect of life, whether its education, knowledge, culture or even the human self or the human body. It argued that everything can be commodified just by changing the nature of the background within which the market operates. This argument, however, neglects the fact that there are certain moral, ethical and civic goods which the market do not honor appropriately and which the money cannot but. (Sandel 1998)[footnoteRef:10] [10: Michael Sandel, "What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets," The Tanner Lectures on Human Values, (Oxford: Brasenose College, 1998)http://baihua.org/user_image2/2011/11/1320205825_1.pdf (accessed July 12, 2013).]

There are certain things that cannot be owned. The only things that can be owned are those over which the legal laws and legislations are effective. For example, divine guidance cannot be owned as no one has been legally permitted or has a legal right to please the God. In addition to that, the natural and environmental resources, such air and atmosphere, cannot be owned as no one has an exclusive legal right to own them. (Suzuki 2000)[footnoteRef:11] [11: Suzuki, Hidenori. Is There Something Money Cannot Buy? -- In Defence of the Ontology of a Market Boundary. Lancashire: Lancaster University, 2000. http://www.csog.group.cam.ac.uk/iacr/papers/Suzuki.pdf (accessed July 12, 2013).]

Apart from that, there is a set of things that cannot be alienated. That is their relationship with their former owners cannot be estranged. Fashion and brands are included in this category of things as their relationship with their initiators and developers always remain there. One can have branded clothes and accessories or can copy the fashion but they cannot have the copyright over that brand or fashion. In other words, the tag or label of the owner or the initiator always remains associated with them. (Suzuki 2000)[footnoteRef:12] [12: Suzuki, Hidenori. Is There Something Money Cannot Buy? -- In Defence of the Ontology of a Market Boundary. Lancashire: Lancaster University, 2000. http://www.csog.group.cam.ac.uk/iacr/papers/Suzuki.pdf (accessed July 12, 2013).]

The fact that all the things are not just commodities or all the things cannot be commodified is further elaborated by the tag line of Master Card, 'For everything else, there's MasterCard', this states that there are limits and boundaries to the market; therefore, everything cannot be commodified. (Suzuki 2000)[footnoteRef:13] [13: Suzuki, Hidenori. Is There Something Money Cannot Buy? -- In Defence of the Ontology of a Market Boundary. Lancashire: Lancaster University, 2000. http://www.csog.group.cam.ac.uk/iacr/papers/Suzuki.pdf (accessed July 12, 2013).]

Fashion narrates the lifestyle of people and it can also be a reflection of the desire of people to present themselves in an admirable manner. It also represents the culture to which the people belong and hence the utility and the exchange value offered by fashion are much higher than those offered by other commodities. There are various intangible qualities that are associated with fashion and that make it more than just another commodity. (Irvine 2009)[footnoteRef:14] [14: Martin Irvine, "Introduction to the Economics of Art and the Art Market," (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University, 2009)http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/irvinem/visualarts/ArtMarket/ArtMarketEconomics.html (accessed July 12, 2013).]

Fashion can be defined as a meaningful system that produces the cultural and artistic bodies of clothes. Fashion is a system that strengthens the sense of cohesion in the group and it also reconciles the relationship between members of the group. It is a system which is motivated and promoted by a need of imitation and distinction and it is instilled in the society by a particular social circle. (Calefato 2005)[footnoteRef:15] [15: Patrizia Calefato, "Fashion Theory between Sociosemiotics and Cultural Studies," (Florina: Cultural Studies - Semiotic Structures and Practices, 2005)http://semiotics.nured.uowm.gr/PPT/Fashion_Theory_between_Sociosemiotics_and_Cultural_Studies.ppt (accessed July 12, 2013).]

According to Sombart, 'the spending (especially by women) on luxuries, of which clothing and cocotteries are a significant part, has been a key feature of capitalism ever since its original accumulation phase.' (Calefato 2005)[footnoteRef:16] [16: Patrizia Calefato, "Fashion Theory between Sociosemiotics and Cultural Studies," (Florina: Cultural Studies - Semiotic Structures and Practices, 2005)http://semiotics.nured.uowm.gr/PPT/Fashion_Theory_between_Sociosemiotics_and_Cultural_Studies.ppt (accessed July 12, 2013).]

Fashion is a way of social discourse. In the system of fashion a garment is converted into language that represents the beliefs and the culture of the people. Fashion depicts the ethical and aesthetic membership of a person with a particular group or culture and hence makes him or her identifiable in this crowded era. Fashion is generated or determined by the everyday culture of the physical environment in which the human beings exist and hence it acts as an identification of the society; therefore, it can be said that fashion is more than just another commodity. (Calefato 2005)[footnoteRef:17] [17: Patrizia Calefato, "Fashion Theory between Sociosemiotics and Cultural Studies," (Florina: Cultural Studies - Semiotic Structures and Practices, 2005)http://semiotics.nured.uowm.gr/PPT/Fashion_Theory_between_Sociosemiotics_and_Cultural_Studies.ppt (accessed July 12, 2013).]

The major characteristics of fashion that makes it more than just another commodity are listed below;

Narrativity

Each and every kind of fashion consists of a narrative or a…[continue]

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