Dress and Globalisation

Dress and Globalisation examines western style dress, specifically in women. Popular clothing items for women such as jeans and their origins are discussed. The novel focuses on different key components of globalization such as consumption, and cultural representation in the market. In addition, the novel takes into consideration women’s wants and needs in regards to environmental issues with clothing.

In his novel, The Consequences of Modernity, Anthony Giddens discusses the idea of abstract systems and their relation to modernity and globalization. Specifically, Giddens states, “Modernity is inseparable from the abstract systems that provide for the disembedding of social relations across space and time and span both socalised nature of and the social universe” (Giddens 151). In saying this Giddens is connecting abstract systems and relating them to globalization. Margaret Maynard, author of Dress and Globalisation has a similar idea regarding women’s fashion and the way the system is affected by globalization. Maynard views women’s fashion itself as a type of abstract system. Not only does the author view fashion itself as a type of abstract system, but also the different pieces of fashion. To further this idea, Maynard questions, “How, for instance, does dress relate to authentication of social categories, the legitimating and contesting of authority, engagements of class, the demarcation of age and gender, the formulation and performance of identity, the definition of nation and/or race, and in what ways is it implicated in political strategies?” (Maynard 16). In saying this, Maynard is using ideas such as social categories, authority, and engagements of class as abstract systems within themselves, and questioning what role this plays in the globalization of women’s fashion. One prime example of an abstract system that Maynard discusses is individual choice.

Maynard states that individual choice, “Although social and culturally mediated, does mean the construction of appearance is the direct result of specific decisions about identity and status, although these decisions may well be altered in the process of social encountering” (Maynard 19). This specific statement is key to understanding Maynard’s stance on the way fashion is globalized. It becomes evident that Maynard believes that personal choice is interchangeable in the world of fashion with key abstract systems. Maynard also takes a modern stance on women’s fashion. This stance is shown when she states, “Nowadays, stylish self-fashioning in the developed world is far more individualistic, frivolous, and hedonistic than before” (Maynard 19). In this way, Maynard deviates from her shared thoughts with Giddens.

Margaret Maynard provides readers with ideas about fashion globalization that are both insightful, and diverse. Maynard both agrees and disagrees with ideas that Anthony Giddens has regarding modernity and globalization. I think that Maynard’s ideas are much more clear and easy to comprehend. I look forward to using Maynard’s novel as textual support.

One thought on “Dress and Globalisation

  1. I would love to hear more about the origin and evolution of jeans! What I hear you saying is fashion changes with society. Men, women, and even children want to keep up with current fashion trends which usually keep up with societal factors and changes. Historical artifacts of clothing like corsets and shoes used for foot binding altered the body while making a fashion statement. Are there any other artifacts, garments, or even devices that exist today that are completely impractical like those examples?


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