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Fashion Cultures between Art and Commerce. Illustrate your essay with specific examples.

Introduction

In this assignment we will be looking at the ways in which fashion cultures are influenced by both art and commerce. We will be looking specifically at the ways in which the perception of clothing has changed throughout cultural history and progression and how these changes have occurred in conjunction with the dominant philosophical approaches involved with social and artistic reasoning that have formed the various conditions into which the perception of fashion has found itself. After looking at some seminal notions of change how that has influenced fashion cultures, we will attempt to broach the contemporary artistic and socio-economic reality into which fashion manifests and presents itself within current culture, whilst addressing the role that art and commerce play in relation to this before given a rationale as to the current relationship between all of these crucial factors.

With this definition we can see a relationship between art and commerce and how it manifests itself with the capitalist hierarchy of fashion. Basically, we see that artistic endeavour is employed by the high level fashion elites who, knowing the meaning and significance of the accessories, designs, colours, styles and artefacts, adorn the next movement throughout fashion and ultimately create the next image, which is sold at a very exclusive rate and is employed by high end corporate business and enterprise. This aesthetic and its many colours and styles are then filtered down into lower level culture and sold at a much smaller rate often employing sweat shops and other cheap means of reproduction from which the consumer can then chose free of the knowledge of why or how it was produced. The fundamental concept here is the temporary nature into which the new image falls. In terms of aesthetics, this leaves the individual with a choice that is free from any kind of ideology or meaning rendering their choice of image. At a high level art and design is created for aesthetic purposes and ideology and meaning does not come into be until it filters through a social process. Essentially, we can see that the choice in how to adorn one's image at a low level has become a temporary one that constantly changes and is reproduced by the ever changing aesthetic of high culture, and so completely aesthetic. Essentially, the individual represents the fractured part of the purely aesthetic art created by the artists and fashion designers of high culture. The image itself is a temporary one that may incorporate other cultural styles, or perhaps the styles of season, to keep a constant state of change and reproduction, which then leads to great change and choice at the lower end of culture. This notion of temporality, made so important in post modernist philosophy, can be seen by this perspective as a by product of the desire and whim of high cultural art and fashion and it's pursuit of the greater aesthetic, whilst being perceived by the consumers of low culture as the premise of freedom of choice and individual expression.

In this assignment we have seen how art has become aligned with fashion from the philosophy of the aesthetic principle, through the blurring of the distinction between where art ends and life begins, to the founding premise of the post modern image. Similarly, we have seen how commerce has affected the adornment of social groups and has reflected back a degree of images associated with affluence, social status and opportunity all relating to capitalist production. We have seen through the growing cross cultural nature found in the current state of globalisation and high modern fashion, how the image is now open to a myriad of possible signifiers, accessories and meanings. We can see how both art and commerce dictate the need for constant changes and choices of fashion items and images. We have seen how one perspective is able to claim that this is the rise of the new individual with his/her ability to create and fashion their own image out of an almost limitless number of possible cultural signifiers. We have seen how this is no longer the pursuit of an aesthetic quality but a reflection of individual identity amongst a limitless culture. We can see that through such choice in culture that the individual can fashion their own image offered to them through constant reinterpretation afforded by the post modern condition. However, we can also see from a counter perspective that this is the essential side effect of high fashion and high culture's whim. Essentially, from this perspective we have seen that it is the artists and designers of high end commerce that choose the aesthetic of greater culture. This is then brought into life by the people of society as consumers as they adorn themselves with the styles and colours brought into being by these artists. This greater 'mass ornament', as Kracauer puts it, is then not the premise of choice or individual identity but a casual and meaningless choice made by the people to reflect their part in the greater aesthetic of cultural life. In this sense, life is the aesthetic object of art and the artist is the fashion designer. However, in either case, we have seen that there is a fixed bond between art, commerce and fashion and that all three are rigidly inter-related and can legitimately be seen from this perspective as part of the same organism.   

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