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This article deals with the phenomenon of fashion in an epistemological perspective. It approaches fashion phenomenologically in the attempt to reach a better understanding of fashion in general and of contemporary fashion in particular. 1) Based on a phenomenological investigation of the unfashionable, it undertakes to render manifest the experiences that are incarnated in the unfashionable object. It demonstrates that the sensation of the unfashionable in fact comprises the aesthetic experience of the social powers of fashion itself; a confrontation with temporal and social dynamics that undermines individual autonomy. 2) Next, the article seeks to show that contemporary fashion represents a popular expansion of this phenomenology. In the light of the theory of culture of Georg Simmel, it seeks to trace which cultural dynamics might lay behind this dissemination. Using Michel Maffesoli’s concepts of postmodernity, of the tragic, and of the secret as inspiration, it undertakes to contour new forms of consciousness of time and of the self. 3) The article conceives of fashion as a fetishist relation: Fashion dynamics constitute an object with no real objectivity. Thus, finally, the article seeks to show how this fetishism, when seen in a phenomenological framework, constitutes a suitable opening for the study of the relation between sociality and materiality.


  • camp
  • fashion
  • Maffesoli
  • retro
  • Simmel
Bjørn Schiemer
This is the latest publication of the author on cairn.
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