The field of fashion is: ‘situated at an intermediary positon between the artistic field and the economic field’ (Boudieu and Delsaut, in Lynge-Jorlen (2012) p. 11) Fashion media makes meaningful connections between things that seem to be essentially independent, they give them social lives by creating an imaginary world around them and they create awareness in participants of the field of fashion in which they work.
Fashion media plays a major role in ascribing cultural, symbolic and aesthetic value to the product, circulating ideas about what is fashion through selection and presentation therefore fashion is mediate before reaching people. Fashion media not only maps key shifts in fashion they all reflect and contribute to the socio-cultural and commercial moment in which they were produced and consumed. The appearance of fashion media may change through time but their messages remain the same.
Moeran explains how fashion media provides historical and aesthetic order in a product world that is seasonal, has ‘chaotic quantities’ and that might otherwise go unnoticed (Moeran, 2006:738). Fashion always has a lot going on from creation to reaching closets, fashion media helps to establish what is in trend and guide people’s choices in what to purchase as well as make them aware of options and what has been created for the season in a more stream line approached with categories and easy to read articles and visual ideas.
Rocamora goes on to explain “Fashion websites have become key platforms of the circulation of fashion discourse” (Rocamora 2015) fashion websites such as blogs allow for more information to be published by a wider group of people with various features and opinions as well as faster than traditional forms of media such as magazines as it can be published immediately and not waiting for a new copy of the magazine to go out as well as printing time etc. Blogs also allow anyone to post content without having qualifications or previous writing experience as well; as nog being restricted by a higher head when it comes to publishing they are in control of what they produce and share.
Fashion magazines provide readers with a sense of shared community but they also punish readers: they remind us constantly of our fashion shortcomings, our failures and our lack of capital in all its forms. And each month they promise to solve our problems by revealing ‘secrets’ to make us our better selves. As well each month we are encouraged to buy the newly fashionable products displayed in their pages thereby maintaining the fashion media’s authority in the discourse along with the fashion industry’s profitability, and the cycle of production-dissemination-consumption.
Moran agrees fashion magazines don't present fast they present fashion industry legitimating and delegitimises certain people and brands, also situates fashion in relation to other cultural fields age film, music, publishing, art and entertainment /9/2006:735 which makes fashion socially relevant and legitimises fashion.
Bartlett explains ‘Fashion words and images are central to the production, circulation and dissemination of fashion’ (Bartlett 2013); presenting these words and images in magazines as they are a ‘pillar of support’ for the fashion industry (Angela McRobbie, 2000). Fashion magazines support the industry by: Circulating its images and messages to a wide audience with various different people reading them for different reasons. They also legitimize the fashion product and define what fashion is including trends, brands and aesthetics. Fashion Magazines also educate readers about fashion history, news of the industry and translating and ordering coherent information from the plethora of products available to consumers and readers.
A discourse is a way in which knowledge is articulated in society by, for example, the various institutional forms it takes. Knowledge produces and transmits power and includes social practices- ways of producing meaning- and all types of control. Each discourse is part of a wider network of discourses. The media is another example of a powerful institutional discourse. “Fashion magazines represent the fashions shown in the catwalk collections. In so doing, they create ‘a discourse of fashion’ whose key evaluative terms are used by different people across time and space to mark out and contest semantic territory in which local cultural preferences engage with globalizing norms of fashion taste.” (Moeran 2013 120) Discourse is a way of thinking about a topic that is socially constrained and that shapes our perspective on that topic, become evident through language.
Bourdieu: a major theoretical voice on; cultural practices and objects of high/low culture that are embedded in ‘everyday life’, the aesthetic value of these practices, the impact on social processes. Bourdieu sought to expose the underlying structures within social and cultural life, particularly looking at the struggle for power and capital what influences/shapes taste and orthodoxy.
“The material production of cultural objects is only one aspect of their production; the other is symbolic production or the production of value of the work, or, which amounts to the same thing, of belief in the value of the work” (Rocamora 2009:54). Bourdieu argues multiple institutions participate in the process of symbolic production whose role is to institute reality or teach us how to interpret and understand the stuff of culture, fast magazines do this through fashion discourse, a particular kind of celebrity discover that describes and prescribes at the same time.
Media legitimizes brands and helps establish them. ‘Made a hundred times, by all those who are interested in i, who find a material or symbolic profit in reading it, classifying it, deciphering it, commenting on it, combating it, knowing it, possessing it’ (Bourdieu in Rocamora 2015:235).
Globalization is often conflated with cultural imperialism, in which a powerful country imposes its values, culture and cultural products on less powerful countries, and implicitly claims superiority by doing so. Foucault’s concept, understanding how social institutions work, fundamental concepts, assumptions and methods w accept them without question, Foucault claims that rather than simply accepting these concepts, assumptions and methods. Western media circulates its cultural products and their ideologies and discourses –representations of the West as well as the Western interpretation of cultures and ethnicities that are not Western. Characterized by an uneven distribution of cultural media products –the cultural sphere of one country is being infiltrated by products of another country/ culture without a similar flow in the opposite direction.
In fashion media (and arguably the industry at large), the dominant cultures are Western (USA, UK, France, Italy) as the economic capital and cultural capital of the industry is concentrated into the hands of corporations and publications based in these countries. This replicates the myth that fashion is Western and tied with Western modernism (think of the ‘Big Four’ fashion cities- New York, London, Milan, Paris): ‘Fashion is more than a white, bourgeois (upper middle class), heterosexual female affair. Yet the stories that get told and retold reinforce the myth that fashion is only Western or white or female’ (Kaiser, 2014: 34)
“Cultural imperialism implies a fairly passive, receptive stance on the part of viewers [...] instead, our research so far among various ethnic groups in Israel and America supports our hypothesis that the viewing process is actually active and social [...] if we are right, a complex process of cultural interaction is going on” Liebes and Katz, (1993) The Export of