Op-Ed | Fashion’s Democratic Disease

The needs, desires and intentions of consumers have become important pieces of legislation in the false democracy of fashion, evolving at dizzying speeds and enlisting an army of fools.

Maison Martin Margiela x H&M Silent Manifesto March | Source H&M

TEL AVIV, Israel — Several months ago, an elaborate event was held in New York to celebrate the launch and international debut of Maison Martin Margiela’s collaboration with fast-fashion retailer H&M. Judging by the flurry of press releases, and the photos and videos distributed by news agencies, the event was executed by the book: guest celebrities sporting items from the collection; an exotic location and a vaguely-authentic, yet certainly disproportionate, sense of  enthusiasm — the kind that can only be sparked by couture for the masses. Sarah Jessica Parker, who owes her own fashion profile to the legendary Sex and the City series, successfully summed up the buzz in a single line: “I think it makes luxury available for people and I think that’s wonderful and very democratic.”

Ms. Parker’s insight is not unusually perceptive, seeing as H&M’s entire high fashion collaboration concept is based on the ‘affordable luxury’ paradox. What is interesting is her use of the word democracy — a term used to describe a form of government — in the context of fashion, and specifically, in relation to a giant conglomerate like H&M. Parker isn’t the first to do this, and her off-the-cuff remark represents additional confirmation of a growing movement in the discourse on fashion, namely the application of democratic values to the manner in which we view, interpret and consume fashion.

In recent years, fashion discourse has, to a large extent, become a discourse of rights. The democratic quality associated with the renowned fashion collaboration concept reinforces an important outlook that has developed in the current era: the masses’ right to consume elite fashion; the right of the less-fortunate to partake in this ample goodness, usually reserved for those with means. As citizens of the same society, shouldn’t the same opportunities be available to us all?

Fashion, however, is not about the distribution of social rewards. One could even claim that clothes (and fashion, in this sense, does not describe the physical items but rather the spirit behind them) do not represent the opportunity for such distribution. They are a human creation, much like any other craft. Some are more commercial, some less; some finely made, and some veritably cheap. Either way, even if it serves to promote romantic ideas, there is nothing democratic about H&M’s capsule collection, or about fashion as a whole, which itself has nothing to do with democratic rights (or human rights, if you favour a pathos-filled version). In fact, the mere combination of the two terms is degrading to both.

Linking Social Protest with Trend Adaptation

The current unparalleled visibility of fashion, supported as it is by retailers invading all vacant real-estate, has cultivated an outlook which maintains that every person has the right to maximum fashion at any given time. The multitude, nay, the veritable oversupply of options,  function similarly to tiny parliamentary factions, each asserting the right not only to be heard, but also to realise themselves in the public domain. In a similar vein, there is an imagined democratic right for everyone to purchase luxury (or at least, something that looks like luxury). Thus, the needs, desires and intentions regarding clothing, or designer creations, have become important pieces of legislation in the false democracy of fashion, evolving at dizzying speeds and enlisting an army of fools.

Described as heroic acts parallel to the US Declaration of Independence, fashion collaborations (motivated by purely economic incentives as they are) are not alone. Nearly every action in the current fashion dominion is backed by seemingly legitimate and apparently elementary pleas to fashion manufacturers. For instance, one prevalent anathema is known as ‘Trend Adaptation.’ It denotes frightfully cheap, integrity-deficient, renditions by brands and fashion retailers of designer clothing. Considered shameful just a decade ago — nothing was worse than buying a cheap knockoff — this trend has become an integral part of civil economic dissent and general protests about the cost of living. Trend Adaptation has received moral approval through the popular claim: “I have the right to buy the clothing advertised in Vogue at lower prices.”

One can also examine the expanding ‘Plus Sizes’ category to comprehend how it uses a similar discourse. A quick glance at the fashion journalism of recent years reveals a near-obsession with the term ‘Real Women’ (which has appeared on magazine covers, in headlines and talk-back comments), with fashion for ‘big and tall’ men, and with overweight fashionista bloggers. Apart from being a profitable vocation for content editors — and in the age of food abundance, this is surely a high-rating sector — and despite the notion that fashion is legitimate in any form, this discussion is set in motion by an allegedly opinionated worldview. It is based on the right of men and women who perceive themselves as overweight, and thus politically excluded from the world of fashion due to limited fitting alternatives, to express their desires by wearing fashionable clothing.

Though there have been no attempts to define a suitable alternative, limited options join forces with imagined rights, fostering an intentional confusion between the ability to purchase an item, and the right to do so. Therefore, as one person’s right is another person’s duty, making demands has become par for the course. And while the representation of versified body-types may sound like a legitimate demand, complaints against a specific brand’s range of sizes are utterly absurd. It may seem otherwise, but no-one owes anyone almost anything. Fashion designers are not obliged to offer plus sizes, or petite sizes, or shirts designed for left-handed people, just as customers are not obliged to purchase them. They may do so, assuming the financial or emotional reward is worthwhile for either side. This is fundamentally different.

The Democracy that Destroyed Fashion

The democratisation of fashion, which is based on demands for $40 jeans or infinite sizes of a particular dress, is ultimately destroying fashion itself.

Objectively, there is nothing wrong, from any moral point of view, with any clothing size. The size is merely a statistical datum printed on a tiny label on the item. Quality fashion is equally fashionable in XS as it is in XXL. But that element is lost in the current discourse, which concentrates on the amount of fabric rather than the style and aesthetic expression of the garment. True, we can’t take society’s prevalent aesthetic values out of the equation, and nobody is claiming that those can’t be challenged. But it is the other demand — the one for cheap, yet beautiful clothing — that has eliminated solutions such as tailor-made pieces from the game.

The so-called right that indirectly sanctifies and confirms Trend Adaptation has also taken its toll. The demand to buy a lot for a little —fashion retailers’ entire demagogy is based on this simple conception — and to buy ‘designer-like’ clothes at lower prices, has created a constant downward spiral. Even if we could ask workers at the Bangladesh sweatshop that recently burnt down what their opinion of such a democracy is, the joke is on the consumers. You want your cheap clothing? You got it. The truth is, the majority of product sold in current retail chains is so withered and pitiable, so revealing of its unkempt sources, that there is nothing more cynical, or even ironic, than a polyester shirt that can be purchased for pennies.

Unfortunately, fashion journalism has adopted the very same values. Fashion critics have morphed into marketing journalists. Rather than encouraging a creative discourse, many of them critique collections based on their readers’ index of desires, needs and challenges — is the collection sufficiently affordable, and what body type could successfully squeeze itself into such items? The expectation that fashion should provide solutions to these needs not only diminishes the discussion, but also sterilises it. It is equivalent to examining a piece of art based on its practical qualities — is one painting better than the next because its physical dimensions will better fit the majority of walls in the nation’s homes?

Worst of all, the democratic discourse promotes a decrease in creativity and production. Unique brands that do not apply to a wide common denominator, based on price, style or supply, come under attack; meanwhile, larger brands are avoiding setting their sights on smaller audiences with more original taste patterns. In fact, in the name of pluralism and due to the illusion of endless options, the reality that in fact emerges appears to promote a very singular taste. Indeed, there has doubtfully been no other period in the history of fashion when so many clothes have been offered to so many people in similar price ranges and surrounding the same themes. The black-and-white trend welcoming shoppers right now at every retail chain, or the conservative trends displayed at recent world fashion weeks, sufficiently illustrate this point.

Liroy Choufan is a consultant and reporter based in Israel. This article was originally published in Hebrew at fashion.walla.co.il

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  1. Very insightful article. When the discourse of democracy, that great equalizer, enters fashion in the guise of a discourse of consumer “rights” to fashion at the prices – and in the sizes – they demand, who stands to lose? Apparently not only consumers, as the choice and quality offered to them tends towards the lukewarm, but also fashion labels and the designers behind them, including the great “democratizers” – the large chain stores which “translate the trends” for the masses oh so quickly, thereby undermining the entire industry, whilst at the same time allegedly propping it up and making it more “popular”. An interesting point indeed and one that should definitely give pause, to consumers, designers, and critics alike.

    Daniel from Ramat Gan, Tel Aviv, Israel
  2. Pendulums are always swinging between extreme movements, this is how societal evolution occurs; Liroy is right, we’ve gone from an era of parisian designer houses being inaccessible to a world where we can get knock off versions within 72 hours at Zara. Quality and values have been overlooked for speed not just at Primark, but also at designer labels where they have to turn around so many collections in such a short time. But I see a shift toward centre ground. In its most recent issue, the Economist’s “Intelligent Life” magazine has called for a Slow Fashion Campaign. In their words, women want “more style and quality, less speed and splitting seams.” Surely this is good news for everyone.

    jennifer wirth from London, London, United Kingdom
  3. Even though the article does make some interesting and veritable points, I find that the thesis is wrong.
    The word’s meaning is merely that of the public’s hold of something. And that much is more than true in every way nowadays, from high end to high street etc. It doesn’t have to with rights and protest per se.
    If the public could really move things (and multi billion businesses) in such a way, the world would a different place to say the least. The meaning of democracy the article uses applies mostly in terms of what you do with what everything that you are offered.
    And when it comes to Art, I wish someone could decide and verify once for all: is fashion art, yes or no?

    Kara from London, London, United Kingdom
  4. I see your point, Liroy, but I also have to disagree. Firstly, I do not think that something like cheaply produced fashion from Bangladesh can solely be blamed on consumers. Fashion as any other businesses participating in the global market are subject to offer and demand. Brands themselves and companies, huge conglomerates also have the responsibility, as well as consumers of course, for ethical and fair fashion.
    Secondly, I think very many people go back to tailored clothing, just because they want better quality in fabric and tailoring itself, they want it to fit better. I haven’t seen a vanishing of tailors or similar in recent years.
    Compared to 60 years ago, of course, things have changed. But I don’t think that looking back at the Paris’ couture days from the 1950s is anything else than unnecessary nostalgia.
    Regarding Fashion Journalists, it would interest me, who you are talking about? Fashion ‘Journalists’ from the beginning of fashion and lifestyle media on, have been nothing else than a tool of marketing to the brands collaborating with them. That is the only reason why fashion media came up in the first place – to promote clothes and nothing else. Journalists working for Newspapers and the likes, is something else, as they are real journalists.
    Lastly, already from the 1930s on the Paris collections were copied, mainly in the US, with the support of the big houses in order to supply the American mass market. Zara is not a new phenomenon, they have just taken it to another, global level.
    I think there is such a great variety in fashion and style nowadays, that by limiting your view only on the international catwalks, is the view of someone who bought into the whole marketing of PPR and LVMH. “Louis Vuitton, come and rescue me, with your handmade leather bags from France!” or what is the intention of the conclusion? Just go out and explore the world, open your eyes. The big collections that we see are for a mass audience, because they have to make money. And it is okay. If you want something more unique, then go to your local tailor and ask them to do something for you, or search for all the small labels, that dress musicians etc, but don’t show in Paris. Why should you in return have an exclusive right to Margiela? I don’t understand that whole discussion.

    Vinz from London, London, United Kingdom
  5. No one in fashion, or has been in fashion for awhile, will ever write an appropriate intelligible article or response to the idea of democratization in fashion. The article is riddled with peaks of elitism, superiority (of the self and of the upper class), and borderline prejudice as you throw in “plus size” women into the mix. Until someone can write as if they’re not loosing some beloved sacred child or privilege of theirs there is no point in trying to approach the topic.

    You portray the majority of the world, those who can’t afford high fashion, in a terrible light, as they are not privileged enough to partake in fashion but for some reason have decided they deserve to. Where could this idea of want come from? Its not like fashion magazines are wide spread, or images of skinny girls are placarded in malls, tv, and city centers…

    Fashion knowingly created “want”, as a wonderfully undemocratic capitalist laissez-faire, it was obvious to support their companies it was necessary. High fashion is not a cheap business, with all his praise McQueen still died in debt. This created the immense want that supports the fashion industry but that also bites away at people and demonizes people who can not afford it.

    You also disregard any history as the idea of democratization of fashion just appeared out of nowhere but people tired of not being able to afford it. Neglect the work of Yohji Yamamoto in the 80s, and Helmut Lang when he first showed of a collection online before the runway, neglect even the whole advent of the internet and the boom in fashion media and writing, blogger culture, that brought about.

    Fashion writers who really want to write about this, need to look at it at least as economists. Need to let go to the idea of your stolen elitism, its shows the real ugly nature of fashion and the fashion media, especially when they start to demonize the mass of consumers who support the industry through purchasing magazines, mid-level clothes or these designer collections, the ones who spend so much time to save up for a piece of it. Need to stop segregating them as you do, and thats what’s actually going on here.

    Raf from Ajax, ON, Canada
  6. I would largely agree with Vinz in saying that ‘I do not think that something like cheaply produced fashion from Bangladesh can solely be blamed on consumers’. Consumers did not initially demand cheap fashion and were in fact introduced to it by brands such as Zara and Primark, and H&M with it’s designer collaborations. However, consumers have grown to quite like the idea that they can get clothes at extremely low prices and now it is almost expected- that brands say there is a “demand” for cheap fast fashion has come about because consumers know that brands can provide it. However, we must remember that the idea of fast fashion is a relatively new concept and this way of consuming fashion was not always the case. I agree that people should be able to wear affordable fashion but due to the “democratisation” of fashion there has definitely been a demise in the quality of the garments that are produced which ultimately means that there is going to be higher rates of consumption due to clothes becoming unwearable at a faster rate- it appears that the world of affordable clothing is a vicious (and unsustainable) cycle…

    Catherine Wells from Croydon, Croydon, United Kingdom
  7. Very well written and intelligent, but I think we should not forget, or take out of the equation, the fact that most designer clothes are as cheap ( if not cheaper, cue the Givenchy sweats) than most of H&M’s offerings, designer collabs or otherwise, because big brands spend so much money just being big they need to rake profit any way they can, usually by killing quality in most of their products. And the fact that most people not totally blinded by the power of the label realize how cheap expensive things can be is one of the reasons a lot of us are driven to cheaper alternatives, especially when there isn’t even a shred of an idea to go with the cheapness. I’m prepared to spend for genius, but I want my rags cheap, thank you…

    riccardo from Lonato, Lombardy, Italy
  8. There were a few decent points but I agree a lot more with the critical comments in the article. I found it to be slightly elitist and poorly researched.

    For example; being plus-sized isn’t always due to food abundance. Medication, hormonal imbalance, thyroid problems, stress levels, genetics are all factors in what size a person is. I think that comparison really shot down the credibility of the entire article because it assumes that anyone who doesn’t fall into the measurements of standard sized RTW eats too much.

    Also, stating that consumers want cheaply made clothing; everyone I know complains that clothing is more poorly made than it used to be. There is no blame on the fast-fashion stores for marketing the look for less. Even high-end brands are using cheaper materials and shoddy construction these days. They’re still charging premium prices. That is not due to the demand of the consumer; more the dismay. It is because of that factor that the thesis of the article is wrong. When styles are dictated by the consumer and the products at price points that are reasonable for the level of effort and quality of materials start showing up on the market and the buyers, editors, and trend forecasters (which are the “elite” and in a lot of ways the dictators) are without jobs then and only then will fashion be a “democracy”.

    Jenni from Stockholm, Stockholms Län, Sweden
  9. Thank you for pointing the lies of all this PR-culture and the intrinseque destructive nature of this system.
    “demos crates” means power to the people, it never meant the disparition of all differences.
    Today, words’ meaning are deeply perverted by the emotional fascists : “terrorism”, “love”, “democracy”, are deprived of substance and used as beacons, to point the cattle at whats right and whats not. Logic is cast out of the public discourse and only psychotic decisions are encouraged, to make sure consumers dont realise the uselessness of their spending before its too late.
    H&M’s luxury collections probably brought as much “democracy” as the “war on terror”…

    namename from Paris, Île-de-France, France
  10. A well-written response to fast fashion.

    There is another definition for the democratization of fashion, beyond size and price: that is the democratization of taste. Mentioned briefly here, choice in fashion is largely regarded to mean abundance of selection. The argument goes something like this: “every street corner and internet search query is riddled with brands and designer choices, more than ever before.” Be that as it may (and I do not totally agree with this), luxury and mass fashion survive on the narrow pretense that as artists they set the trends and the world should follow. The problem with this logic is that it smites individual expression and “democracy”.

    Consumer choice, in the elements of design, runs against the grain of prevailing fashion houses’ need to sell curated ready-to-wear, and thus is overlooked. BUT in reality haute couture began as a dressmaking craft for the individual, where individual sensibilities and tastes were imbued into every stitch (I am thinking Chanel and Balenciaga). If we want to get romantic, I think we should also talk about how tailoring and craftsmanship disappeared after the 1970s when women began working and largely ceased to make their own clothes. What was left in the divide was women with less time buying ready-to-wear into the 1980s and 1990s. Individual choices regarding the product’s intrinsic design have largely disappeared. The democratization of choice and taste is the inevitable next frontier, and this article appears to come from a ready-to-wear lens that currently dominates the industry.

    Aubrie Pagano from Boston, MA, United States
  11. Isn’t it true of all eras that their is ‘singular taste’? That is why it is so easy to categorise fashion history in terms of decades and centuries, and in these times fashion creativity was obviously abundant, I infer from your overarching nostalgia, You may be observing our age’s shift to trend based fashion, differing from the silhouettes of the 90′s and excess of the 80′s. I agree that they may be sold in the same vein though the ways in which clothes are worn are ultimately more diverse than any time in fashion’s history.

    Che from Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom
  12. The democratization of fashion is in the mainstream of fashion itself. Personally I think fashion brands and mere commercial laws brought fashion in a bad way by no-others then themselves.
    There’s nothing to blame on fast fashion retailers because they were born from the ashes of fashion and the lack of creativity. Nowadays usually brands follow a unique trend every season despite the original differences and their essential based values, what sells is what it worths.

    This lack of creativity and meaning has brought fashion in an ‘ easy to copy’ way and a ‘democratization’. Fast fashion retailers, to sum up, are simply doing what top- brands do to themselves at lower prices.

    The problem is that people do not have the knowledge to understand the philosophy and the long-life research of brands histories also because parisianne based fashion couturier, mainly, do not follow anymore who they were and accordingly their prospectives in the future.
    It seems that no project has been followed and every season is recently becoming a single life one without a wire that conceptually links.
    all of this ‘shame’ comes especially by the hunger of new economic empowerments such as BRIC countries which want and desire something closer to their tastes… Very poor of creativity and just made to show off to summarize.

    Sorry for my english, trying for the best!

    gio from Siena, Tuscany, Italy
  13. Fashion that does not reach the street is not fashion.

    - Coco Chanel

    Alex from United Kingdom
  14. I’d also add that the UK, being a leader in global high street, has seen its’ youth subcultures/tribes diminish and falter due to this ‘democratisation’ in recent years. In the past, youth subcultures and ‘tribes’ developed by rejecting and bastardising the ruling hegemony’s values and symbols of this, including clothing – Think Glam Rock, Punk, New Wave, New Romantics, Acid etc. Each tribe took and re-invented elements of clothing with imagination and formed a tribe, that in turn, influenced general fashion. NOW, we have a willing youth market waiting to be spoon fed designerism at high street prices – there’s no reactivism, ergo, no new UK ‘subcultures’ of influence. Even vintage clothing has become a sought-after commodity rather than a means of invention and subversion. There’s no coincidence, I fear.

    Katie Chutzpah from Worcester Park, Sutton, United Kingdom
  15. What an elitist piece of drivel.

    That Chanel quote posted by Alex pretty much sums it up.

    Vanessa from United States
  16. Interesting article, but I’m having trouble because Choufan seems to be damning the consumer for what he sees as the fashion industry’s problems. As a consumer, someone who works every day and has multiple responsibilities, why is it so wrong for me to want to find quality at a great price? Why is it wrong for a person who’s overweight to complain that a label has nothing in their size? These consumer gripes and complaints are natural. It’s the industry’s buying-in to their consumers’ complaints that’s the problem Choufan is talking about. And let’s think about that. A brand listening to their customer – not an original idea. This, again, is quite natural for a business to do. So the question becomes, in today’s socio-economic environment, how does the fashion industry meet consumer needs and make money while maintaining that image of being unattainable by the masses? Is that image positive and is it something that we even want maintained? I don’t know, but what I do know is that every consumer has the “right” to do whatever they want with the money they make. Whether they are privileged enough to spend a whole bunch of it on a Louis Vuitton bag is a separate issue and one which I think Choufan should have focused.

    Don’t get me wrong. I do get the artist’s point-of-view here in that the artistry of fashion is waning, but fashion is the mixture of art and commerce (as Zac Posen likes to say on Project Runway). Maybe they cannot truly exist on the same plane. So if you take the commercial aspect away and just leave fashion as art, then how do these designers then make a living? Going by that we could say that the downward spiral didn’t start with the demand to buy ‘designer-like’ clothes at lower prices, it started with the designer deciding to make a profit off of their talent.

    Jarrod King from Philadelphia, PA, United States
  17. This is a quite peculiar article on a quite important aspect of fashion discourse. I am, in a number of ways, disappointed that the article made it onto the site in this form (what I am inclined to think of, in fact, as ‘draft form’).

    Firstly, it appears to be a rather shoddy translation (however, lacking Hebrew, I am unable to say this conclusively). And secondly, both the structure and expression of the article are below BOF’s usual high standard – most especially with regard to the very imbalanced and cursory glance at the fashion industry Mr. Choufan appears to have used as preparation for his writing.

    The article announces itself as a critique of the contemporary adoption of ‘democratic’ as a term of currency in relation to fashion, but goes on to conflate this issue with the economic reality of the fashion industry, and ultimately descends into an emotionally-charged rant against something which the author has arbitrarily decided he does not like – namely, the fact that “overweight fashionista[s]” and others who are “less-fortunate” (economically) are able to “partake” in fashion, which (in the author’s view) ought to be “reserved for those with means”. As if this preposterous idea that those without ‘means’ ought to be clothed in sacks was not enough bombast for one article, Mr. Choudan proceeds to imply that poor people who try (in their “ironic way”) to be fashionable are somehow responsible for causing the deaths of Bangladeshi factory workers.

    Mr. Choudan appears to be blithely unaware of either what capitalism means economically or what democracy means politically, as well as the history of both capitalism and democracy. We might possibly forgive him that, writing on fashion as he is, but for the fact that his comprehension of fashion itself is also woefully inadequate.

    He rails against horrible commoners copying the fashions of nice, respectable, wealthy people. In fact, it is imperative for fashions to be copied. According to Webster, a fashion is “a prevailing custom, usage, or style”. The avant-garde introduces something new and unfamiliar; trend-setters adopt this new ‘thing’; the mainstream want to be part of the trend and so adopt it. Mainstream adoption familiarises our ‘thing’ and renders it ‘old’; once again the trendsetters look to the avant-garde for something new; the cycle continues ad infinitum. To return to Webster, if the mainstream did not adopt the style, it would not be ‘prevailing’. If the style is not ‘prevailing’, it is not fashion. Therefore, no mainstream adoption – no fashion.

    Thus, it is clear that Mr. Choudon does not understand fashion’s nature. He also does not know it’s history. His sniffy asides regarding poor people and their cheap fashion being inferior to the bourgeois and their fashion designers/fashion houses give him the air of a sycophantic neophyte. A hundred or so years back, aristocrats and their court dressmakers derided these gauche new creatures, with their shops, their ready-made clothes and their vulgar hawking of fashion just as Mr. Choudon now derides the latest round of newcomers. In the ages before that, secular kings and princes of the church enacted sumptuary laws to prevent ‘common’ people dressing in imitation of their ‘betters’. At every point in human history, our societies have contained hierarchies. Those lower in the hierarchy seek to emulate those who are higher. (And this seems to be especially so with regard to clothing). I shall allow those two main points of criticism remain my only two, as I have neither the time nor the space to dissect the assumed value system and cynical manipulation of morality which Mr. Choudon employs (amongst the other criticisms I have of this article).

    I will now presume to offer my own comment on this idea about ‘democracy’ in fashion. Firstly, I will return to Webster’s a second time for a slightly older definition of fashion: “the make or form of something”, or as a verb “to give shape or form to”. This older meaning is seldom invoked in the context of clothes and the industry which sells them to us. However, fashion is essentially about the ‘form’ of the body and how we, as individuals and societies, give shape and form to our bodies through the medium of our clothing. Democracy (without even resorting to Webster!) is “rule by the majority”. ‘Democracy’ in fashion, to my mind, speaks to this older definition of fashion and implies the power to shape bodies with cloth being transferred to the majority, rather than remaining with a minority (be they kings, aristocrats, designers, celebrities or any other group). Pluralistic modern fashion, then (which encompasses ‘bespoke fashion’, ‘designer fashion’, ‘high street fashion’ and ‘online fashion’, provides a myriad of choices to every type of consumer and hands every person the power to construct their own image and shape their own body as they please), is certainly democratic on these terms. However, this democracy of fashion and precisely how it plays out in the context of the modern fashion industry (which, in turn, plays out against a backdrop of contemporary, ‘Western’, growth-driven capitalism) is a subject which is widely open for interpretation, discussion and debate.

    So, to revise my opening statement for the close – Mr. Choudon has written a quite peculiar article on a quite important aspect of fashion discourse and, in the process, very much missed his opportunity to provide something meaningful for his readers.

    Jonathon Harris from Bilston, Wolverhampton, United Kingdom