The Wednesday Word: from Mendes and De La Haye

“The ephemeral nature of fashion distinguishes it from other modes of dress such as ceremonial, occupational and ethnographic. . . . Fashion’s inherent obsolescence, whereby clothes are discarded on the basis of the desire for stylistic novelty rather than for utilitarian reasons, generates passionate response from consumers and theoreticians alike.  Fashion has been held up to ridicule, dismissed as a merely frivolous aesthetic phenomenon – since it is forever changing, it can be of no lasting value. . . Fashion has attracted the attention and endorsement of an expanding range of academics, increasingly fascinated by its multi- and inter-disciplinary significance. Thus the work of psychologists, anthropologists, economists, philosophers, sociologists, theatre and film designers, as well as dress historians, has bestowed an academic validity to fashion.”

— Valerie Mendes and Amy De La Haye, 20th Century Fashion (1999)

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