The Political Importance of Fashion

Fashion, in all its forms, has always been an expression of who we are as individuals. Throughout history, clothes have played an important role in political, cultural, and religious events. Judges have robes, military personnel wear uniforms, and brides wear long white dresses. Even in the modern age, fashion is big business. There are millions of workers creating clothing, sewing, dyeing, and designing it. Advertisements also provide ideas about what to wear. Fashion has become a political weapon; uniforms were used to eliminate class distinctions during the twentieth century.

Styles show who you are

In a society where everyone is expected to fit in, the way we dress and arrange our appearance can be a way of revealing our personality. Styles not only define who we are as individuals but also create boundaries between groups. In high school, for example, fashion is used to identify groups and create stereotypes. A businessman might perceive a boy with multiple piercings and green hair as an outsider. He might be considered a rebel or a strict conformist.

Styles are a reaction to political stances

One way to examine the phenomenon of style is to ask whether it is really a reflection of the political stances it represents. The political style is a form of signifying or semiosis adopted in the use of discursive, interactional, and visual resources. Styles are anchored in socio-cultural sign systems and are repertoires of speech, writing, and behaving that convey a particular identity. In addition, embodied styles may be invoked to represent particular socio-cultural identities. Styles are relational and dynamic – meanings and values of particular styles are dependent on context and contrasted with those of other conventional styles.