The Fashion System

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University of California Press, Jul 25, 1990 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 303 pages
In his consideration of the language of the fashion magazine—the structural analysis of descriptions of women's clothing by writers about fashion—Barthes gives us a brief history of semiology. At the same time, he identifies economics as the underlying reason for the luxuriant prose of the fashion magazine: "Calculating, industrial society is obliged to form consumers who don't calculate; if clothing's producers and consumers had the same consciousness, clothing would be bought (and produced) only at the very slow rate of its dilapidation."
 

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THE FASHION SYSTEM

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In Mythologies, Barthes hinted that fashion magazines might provide a ready field for semiological analysis. In The Fashion System (published in France in 1967), he appears at his semantical worst ... Read full review

Contents

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Page xi - Calculating, industrial society is obliged to form consumers who don't calculate," writes Roland Barthes; "if clothing's producers and consumers had the same consciousness, clothing would be bought (and produced) only at the very slow rate of its dilapidation...
Page xii - In order to blunt the buyer's calculating consciousness, a veil must be drawn around the object - a veil of images, of reasons, of meanings; a mediate substance of an aperitive order must be elaborated; in short, a simulacrum of the real object must be created, substituting for the slow time of wear a sovereign time free to destroy itself by an act of annual potlatch.
Page xii - ... what is remarkable about this image-system constituted with desire as its goal is that its substance is essentially intelligible: it is not the object but the name that creates desire: it is not the dream but the meaning that sells.

About the author (1990)

Roland Barthes was born in 1915 and studied French literature and classics at the University of Paris. After teaching French at universities in Romania and Egypt, he joined the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique, where he devoted himself to research in sociology and lexicology. He was a professor of the Collège de France until his death in 1980.

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