The Cultural Industry of Fashion

22 05 2013

Freshly published and now available! The introduction can be downloaded for free here.

From Production to Consumption: The Cultural Industry of Fashion

edited by Marco Pedroni
Interdisciplinary Press, Oxford, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-84888-165-5

What do Marlies Dekkers’ lingerie and contemporary flagship stores have in common? What links American Apparel’s campaign to reform the U.S. immigration law and an ancient doll called Pandora? In a few words, the answer is: fashion. Fashion as an emblematic field to understand the contemporary social world. Fashion as a ‘cultural industry’ where the pole of production and that of consumption meet each other: on the one side,  every process of ideation, designing and manufacturing carried out by professionals working in the fashion companies, and on the other, the complex and heterogeneous group of social actors who face the apparel proposals by buying (or not buying) clothes and – in so doing –  putting them into their everyday lives as generators of meanings. The book aims to explore fashion as a meeting point between producers and consumers as well as processes and people whose work connects the two dimensions, making the materiality of clothes a doorway to join the immaterial horizons of fashion.

Table of Contents

The Crossroad between Production and Consumption: An Introduction to Fashion as a Cultural Industry
Marco Pedroni

Part 1: Designing and Producing Fashion
The Knock-On from the Knock-Off: Recent Shifts within Australian Mass Market Fashion Design Practice
Alice Payne

‘Everyone Deserves to Dress Well’: Democratization of Fashion in Turkey and the Case of LC Waikiki
Ayşe Nil Kireçci

The Invisible Presence of the Internalised Corset: Post-Feminist Values Materialised in Marlies Dekkers’ Lingerie
Daniëlle Bruggeman

Part 2: Communicating Fashion
Meta-Modernism in Fashion and Style Practice: Authorship and the Consumer
Julianne Pederson

Pandora in the Box: Travelling around the World in the Name of Fashion
Lydia Maria Taylor

What is Special in the Collections? Fashion Brands and Semiotic Saturation
Emanuela Mora

Part 3: Consuming Fashion
The Evolution of the Retail Space from Luxury Malls to Guerrilla Stores: Tracing the Change of Fashion
Cecilia Winterhalter

Sellers of Experience: The New Face of Fashion Retail and the Role of Consumers as ‘Store Readers’
Marco Pedroni

An Exploratory Study into the Strategic Significance of Visual Merchandising: The Case of Vintage Fashion Retailing
Karinna Nobbs, Julie McColl and Linda Shearer

The Political Power of the Online Shop: American Apparel’s Virtual Campaign for Immigration Reform
Emma C. McClendon

Sellers of Experience. The New Face of Fashion Retail

21 09 2011

Update (May 2013): the full article is finally out in “From Production to Consumption: The Cultural Industry of Fashion“, edited by Marco Pedroni, Interdisciplinary Press, Oxford, 2013. The one published below is just a speech and, as such, it contains a provisional and simplified version of my thought about fashion retail that can’t be quoted as a scientific work.


Back to Oxford once again, this year – at the 3rd Global Conference on Fashion organized by – I’m going to present a paper by the name of “Sellers of Experience. The New Face of Fashion Retail”. On Saturday 24th September, to be exact.

This study was performed to analyze the evolution of fashion retail, showing how the category of ‘experience’ affects the distribution channels in the field of fashion. So, I am going to open a window on terms such as ‘factory outlet centres’, ‘concept stores’, ‘pop-up retail’ and so on. My aim is to underline that these categories are not just a matter that concerns marketers and retailers, but a phenomenon that allows us to read the evolution of the consumers’ mentality.

The draft paper has been already published on the website and it is rich of examples I probably won’t be able to comment now – not all, at least. All these examples come from an activity of observation and documentation carried out with my students of the Master course in Fashion & Design Retail, inside the Milano Fashion Institute. Italy was of course the main field of observation, but also other European countries have provided examples and case studies. I would like, in the next few months, to expand my research considering also non-Western countries.

Let’s start with a statement that many scholars agree with: What is fashion? Fashion is something about changing and creating. Both actions concern the production or renovation of products, but also new ways to sell them. In recent times, the categories of periodicity and obsolescence have spread from fashion production to fashion distribution, turning the retail spaces into something that requires a continuous rethinking in order to fulfill the desires of the consumers.

Fashion retail is nowadays not just a mechanism through which the clothes reach the consumers, but a key tool for creating the brand image. This need has been translated into a wide range of distribution options.

How can we categorize and summarize these retail options?

Read the rest of this entry »

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