Fashion as visual culture

We are talking about visual culture for quite some time now within this blog, but did you know that fashion also belongs to visual culture? I did not realize this until yesterday. I knew photography is part of visual culture, but fashion is a different sector within it. So let’s look into this in more detail!

Fashion has become an intrinsic part of today’s visual culture. Magazines, glossies and women’s journals cannot exist without fashion. But on the same time, fashion cannot exist without these just mentioned media. The media has played a crucial role in shaping fashion into the cultural phenomenon as it is now. But let us go back to the roots..

..Since the invention of photography, TV, films and most importantly the internet, we have shifted from a verbal culture to a visual culture. ‘We are living in a culture of images, a society of the spectacle, a world of semblances and simulacra.’ (Mitchell, 1995) The visual culture of this time is both omnipresent, so to be found everywhere, as complex. And it is getting more and more complex because of new technologies. The image does not stand on itself anymore, but it is usually integrated with text and music. This also counts for fashion. A fashion photograph is now accompanied by a text or a capture and a fashion show is not the same, interesting show without music.

When I was talking with somebody who is organizing international fashion shows he also mentioned that it is so nice to see that every designer is bringing his own culture to the event. You can see it in their designs as well as their habits. Because of this, a unique experience is added to the event.

Not only the art form of fashion says something about culture. The commercial aspect is as important as well. Maybe this is even more important, since you experience this in daily life. People in Africa are dressing completely different then us, just because of their cultural habits. So, when looking at all these facts, it is actually quite logical that fashion belongs to visual culture.

Visual culture is everywhere around you!

X Kim

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