This thoroughly revised and updated edition of Fashion Theory: A Reader brings together and presents a wide range of essays on fashion theory that will engage and inform both the general reader and the specialist student of fashion. From apparently simple and accessible theories concerning what fashion is to seemingly more difficult or challenging theories concerning globalisation and new media, this collection contextualises different theoretical approaches to identify, analyse and explain the remarkable diversity, complexity and beauty of what we understand and experience every day as fashion and clothing.

This second edition contains entirely new sections on fashion and sustainability, fashion and globalisation, fashion and digital/social media and fashion and the body/prosthesis. It also contains updated and revised sections on fashion, identity and difference, and on fashion and consumption and fashion as communication. More specifically, the section on identity and difference has been updated to include contemporary theoretical debates surrounding Islam and fashion, and LGBT+ communities and fashion and the section on consumption now includes theories of 'prosumption'. Each section has a specialist and dedicated Editor's Introduction which provides essential conceptual background, theoretical contextualisation and critical summaries of the readings in each section.

Bringing together the most influential and ground breaking writers on fashion and exposing the ideas and theories behind what they say, this unique collection of extracts and essays brings to light the presuppositions involved in the things we all think and say about fashion. This second edition of Fashion Theory: A Reader is a timeless and invaluable resource for both the general reader and undergraduate students across a range of disciplines including sociology, cultural studies and fashion studies.

chapter |10 pages


ByMalcolm Barnard

part Part One|42 pages

Fashion and fashion theories

chapter Chapter 1|10 pages

Explaining it Away

ByElizabeth Wilson

chapter Chapter 2|8 pages

The Empire of Fashion

ByGilles Lipovetsky

chapter Chapter 3|11 pages

Adorned in Zeitgeist

ByBarbara Vinken

chapter Chapter 4|7 pages

Haute Couture and Haute Culture

ByPierre Bourdieu

part Part Two|60 pages

What fashion is and is not

chapter Chapter 5|7 pages


ByEdward Sapir

chapter Chapter 6|12 pages


ByNancy J. Troy

chapter Chapter 7|14 pages


The vicissitudes of negation
ByFred Davis

chapter Chapter 8|10 pages


ByGeorg Simmel

chapter Chapter 9|11 pages

Extract from Fashion and Anti Fashion

ByTed Polhemus, Lynn Proctor

part Part Three|43 pages

Fashion and (the) image

chapter Chapter 10|3 pages

Fashion Photography

ByRoland Barthes

chapter Chapter 11|15 pages

Going beyond ‘The Fashion System’

A critique
ByPaul Jobling

chapter Chapter 12|7 pages

‘Doing Fashion Photographs’

ByErica Lennard

chapter Chapter 13|12 pages


Aboud Sodano and Paul Smith
ByTamsin Blanchard

part Part Four|44 pages

Sustainable fashion

chapter Chapter 14|16 pages

Consumers’ Perceptions of ‘Green’

Why and how consumers use eco-fashion and green beauty products
ByMarie-Cécile Cervellon, Lindsey Carey

chapter Chapter 15|11 pages

Fashion, Needs and Consumption

ByKate Fletcher

chapter Chapter 16|13 pages

Fashion and Sustainability

Repairing the clothes we wear
ByAlison Gwilt

part Part Five|58 pages

Fashion as communication

chapter Chapter 17|5 pages

Social Life as a Sign System

ByUmberto Eco

chapter Chapter 18|13 pages

The Analysis of the Rhetorical System

ByRoland Barthes

chapter Chapter 19|11 pages

Do Clothes Speak? What Makes them Fashion?

ByFred Davis

chapter Chapter 20|11 pages

When the Meaning is not a Message

A critique of the consumption as communication thesis
ByColin Campbell

chapter Chapter 21|12 pages

“Fashion as Communication Revisited”

ByMalcolm Barnard

part Part Six|145 pages


chapter Chapter 22|6 pages

Express Yourself

The politics of dressing up
ByTim Edwards

chapter Chapter 23|10 pages

Objectifying Gender

The stiletto heel
ByLee Wright

chapter Chapter 24|12 pages

‘Power Dressing’ and the Construction of the Career Woman

ByJoanne Entwistle

chapter Chapter 25|10 pages

From Gay to Queer – or, Wasn’t Fashion Always Already a Very Queer Thing?

ByAnnamari Vänskä

chapter Chapter 26|21 pages

Lesbian Style

From mannish women to lipstick dykes
ByAdam Geczy, Vicki Karaminas

chapter Chapter 27|12 pages

Popular Fashion and Working-Class Affluence

ByAngela Partington

chapter Chapter 28|15 pages


From class differentiation to collective selection
ByHerbert Blumer

chapter Chapter 29|6 pages

Great Aspirations

Hip hop and fashion dress for excess and success
ByEmil Wilbekin

chapter Chapter 30|13 pages

Taste and Distinction

The politics of style
ByReina Lewis

chapter Chapter 31|15 pages

Islamic Fashion Scape

ByEmma Tarlo

chapter Chapter 32|15 pages

You should Understand, It’s a Freedom Thing

The Stoned Cherrie–Steve Biko T-shirt
ByCarol Tulloch

part Part Seven|72 pages

Fashion, clothes and the body

chapter Chapter 33|19 pages

Addressing the Body

ByJoanne Entwistle

chapter Chapter 34|18 pages

Deviant Bodies and Suitable Clothes

ByIngun Grimstad Klepp, Mari Rysst

chapter Chapter 35|13 pages

“My Leg is a Giant Stiletto Heel”

Fashioning the prosthetised body
ByLaini Burton, Jana Melkumova-Reynolds

chapter Chapter 36|16 pages

Fashion, Clothes and the Body

ByMalcolm Barnard

part Part Eight|82 pages


chapter Chapter 37|22 pages

The Crossroad between Production and Consumption

ByMarco Pedroni

chapter Chapter 38|12 pages

Consuming or Living with Things?

Wearing it out
ByTim Dant

chapter Chapter 39|15 pages

Reconceptualising Prosumption beyond the ‘Cultural Turn’

Passive fashion prosumption in Korea and China
ByTommy Tse, Ling Tung Tsang

chapter Chapter 40|14 pages

Attentiveness, Materials, and their Use

The stories of never washed, perfect piece and my community
ByKate Fletcher

chapter Chapter 41|13 pages

The Little Black Dress is the Solution, but what is the Problem?

ByDaniel Miller

part Part Nine|47 pages

Modern fashion

chapter Chapter 42|5 pages

Adorned in Dreams

ByElizabeth Wilson

chapter Chapter 43|10 pages

Modernism and Fashion

A social psychological interpretation
ByKurt W. Back

chapter Chapter 44|14 pages

Public Roles/Personality in Public

ByRichard Sennett

chapter Chapter 45|12 pages

Walter Benjamin

Fashion, modernity and the city street
ByAdam Geczy, Vicki Karaminas

part Part Ten|65 pages

Postmodern fashion

chapter Chapter 46|11 pages

The Ideological Genesis of Needs/Fetishism and Ideology

ByJean Baudrillard

chapter Chapter 47|13 pages

Fashion, or the Enchanting Spectacle of the Code

ByJean Baudrillard

chapter Chapter 48|14 pages

A Tale of Inscription/Fashion Statements

ByKim Sawchuk

chapter Chapter 49|21 pages

Deconstruction Fashion

The making of unfinished, decomposing and re-assembled clothes
ByAlison Gill

part Part Eleven|65 pages

Digital/new media and fashion

chapter Chapter 50|15 pages

Narcissism, Femininity and Alienation

BySandra Lee Bartky

chapter Chapter 51|15 pages

Personal Fashion Blogs

Screens and mirrors in digital self-portraits
ByAgnès Rocamora

chapter Chapter 52|18 pages

Bringing Sexy Back

Reclaiming the body aesthetic via self-shooting
ByKatrin Tiidenberg

chapter Chapter 53|13 pages

Mediatization and Digital Media in the Field of Fashion

ByAgnès Rocamora

part Part Twelve|71 pages

Global and transnational fashion

chapter Chapter 54|14 pages

Globalization and Colonialism

ByMalcolm Barnard

chapter Chapter 55|13 pages

Extract from Global Fashion Local Tradition

ByJan Brand, Jose Teunissen

chapter Chapter 56|12 pages

Transnational Commodity Flows and the Global Phenomenon of the Brand

ByIan Skoggard

chapter Chapter 57|14 pages

The Art of Dressing

Body, gender, and discourse on fashion in Soviet Russia in the 1950s and 1960s
ByOlga Gurova

chapter Chapter 58|14 pages

Hong Kong Fashion Designers as Cultural Intermediaries

Out of global garment production
ByLise Skov