- Publication Type:
- Mcneil Peter 2009, 'Twentieth-Century fashion', in NA (ed.), Berg Publishers, Oxford and New York, pp. xv-xxxi.
- Issue Date:
Many explanations are presented for the social role of fashion in modern life. The structure and form of Western European clothes are not simply a matter of adornment, or social interaction, nor are they vessels for pre-existing social attributes. Rather, they actively shape and make possible shifts in the lives of men and women at times of dynamic social change. Echoing some of the ideas proposed by the nineteenth-century critic Charles Baudelaire for the role of fashion in urban life, in 1969 the sociologist Herbert Blumer wrote that 'fashion operates as an orderly preparation for the immediate future' and that 'fashion is a very adept mechanism for enabling people to adjust in an orderly and unified way to a moving and changing world which is potentially full of anarchic possibilities'.
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