Example of a Critical essay on Social issues about:
fashion / identity / clothing / communication / perception
The affect of fashion on every person and the analysis of fashion as an integral part of a personality’s identity.
What is the main tool every man uses to stand out from the crowd? How does clothing become a part of the self-realization of people? Why is fashion for both men and women associated with their identity?
Clothing is basically a covering designed to be worn on a person's body. This covering is a need, a necessity that is dictated by the norms of social conduct.
Fashion and Identity essay
Table of contents:
2. Fashion and identity
1. Communication through fashion
2. Impact on outer perception
3. Men, women and fashion
1. Women and clothing
2. Men and fashion
4. Symbolism of clothing
5. Culture and fashion
“…Fashion is more powerful than any tyrant”
Introduction: For hundreds of years people have put some message in the type of clothing they wore. Long ago people started wanting to stand out from the “crowd” and be different from other people by means of changing their clothing. Some examples of these “standing out” became very popular and were followed by more people. This was the moment when fashion appeared. Nowadays, fashion is sometimes defined as a “constantly changing trend, favored for frivolous rather than practical, logical, or intellectual reasons”. Nevertheless, it is necessary to say that at the present moment fashion has a deeper influence on the life of people and possess more than just frivolous reasons for its existance. Clothing has become an integral part of self-realization of every person. It is no longer just an “external shield” and a frivolous attitude towards it may cause loosing a very important physical, psychological and social aspect of a person’s life. The harmony attained by the combination of the inner world of a person and his “exterior” makes it very hard to say not even being a professional in this sphere that fashion is just about looks. Clothing is basically a covering designed to be worn on a person's body. This covering is a need, a necessity that is dictated by the norms of social conduct. This “necessity” brings a lot of variety into the lives of people and makes their image more complete. It is not about people serving fashion; it is about fashion being a slave of people.
2. Fashion and identity. The type of clothing completely depends on the person who is wearing it; therefore it becomes a reflection of his perception of himself, which leads us to the term – personal identity. Lately a lot is being heard about personal identity and its meaning in the life of every single person on the planet. The choice of clothing and accessories (clothing that is worn or carried, but not part of a person’s main clothing) is as important as identification through the color of hair, height, skin and gender. Clothing nowadays is a media of information about the person wearing it [Barnard 21]. It is a cipher; a code that needs a decryption in order to understand what kind of person is underneath it. The present time offers a great variety of these “ciphers” and therefore gives people a large number of opportunities to reveal their identity. As every cloth carries a strong message about its owner, every owner “nests” a certain value in it depending on his temperament, mindset or today’s mood. Therefore, the clothing of a person is a mean of communication with the outside world. It is the way of telling people about the “state” and the ”status” of it owner [Barnes& Eicher 125].
2.a. Communication through fashion. Communication by its definition is supposed to be bilateral. So if a person carries a strong personal message to the people outside what is the response from their side? The response is the reaction on the clothes the person it wearing. It can be acceptance or complete outcast and a misunderstanding. This especially touches extraordinarity in clothing (a very expressive personal identity) or an obvious lack of taste and vulgarity. Malcolm Barnard in his book “Fashion as communication” makes a great work by outlining cultural roles, rules, rituals, and responsibilities that are maintained and constructed by fashion [Barnard 13,34]. Fashion is compared to art. It is like an architector that gives his creation any shape he desires and at the same time is the reflection of the architector’s belonging to a certain social level, a certain psychological condition and so on. One of the questions concerning the communication through fashion is whether the message possessed by fashion is the reflection of the internal or external identity. There are arguments that support each of the sides; therefore it goes without saying that fashion is a “polyhedral being” that intersects numerous internal and external aspects of any personality. The message that clothing contains is basically a way of nonverbal communication with gender, ethical and power aspects.
2.b. Impact on outer perception. Clothes have an immense impact on the perception of people around and on the perception of the person wearing them, too. A suit can make a person feel more confident and organized, which would eventually change even the gestures and the manner of talking of the person or for instance wearing jeans after a suit may change the conduct of a person to a very liberal and feeble one [Hollander 58]. The perception of people around can be very predictable in terms of their reaction on a person wearing this or that style of clothing. Fashion is one of the most powerful means of communication, which sometimes may play a vital role in the life of a person; it especially concerns the cases of getting a desired job. Therefore fashion may not only carry a message, it can also create a “pseudo-message” that is required by a situation the person finds himself in. This can be simply proved by analyzing the reaction of the people on the street on people wearing different types of clothing. The preference is always given to people dressed in “business style”, personifying their dignity and seriousness in everything. This is one of the primary reasons that even the smallest companies make wearing a suit one of their requirements for their employees. The customers feel more confident in such “consultants”. So, fashion is a very keen tool of manipulation while communicating besides its importance in social class, culture, sex and gender relations of people.
4. Men, women and fashion. Clothing is a fundamental part in the image of a contemporary man or a woman [Crane 47]. The image is constructed for various reasons and has various manifestations. Dressing has become a way to create, to reveal and to conceal information from the external observers. Fashion has always been considered to have more of a women based orientation. As soon as women realized that experimenting with their clothing might bring them the results they need they became the most interested consumers and the demand on women’s production increased greatly.
4.a. Women and clothing. In spite of all arguments fashion remains possessing an ambivalent entity. Women, have a great impact on the development of fashion worldwide. Of course one of the primary messages clothes carry is the social message. Women throughout the time have tried to make the clothing look more luxurious. Historically the social message has wildly transformed. It is very easily trace in Diana Crane’s book “Fashion and it social agendas”. Nowadays clothing is not an attribute of belonging to a clan, or to a restrained social level though it still can tell a lot about the financial status of a person. A person, especially a women is always greeted according to the way is dressed up. Therefore women may cause desirable reaction by knowing the expectations of the “opponent”. Historically, women wore traditional dresses, which signified their cultural and social status [Guy& Green 76]. As for now, traditional clothing has been completely subdued by “fashionable clothing”. Women clothing in the past had a lot to do with emphasizing femininity, neglecting man-like forms of dressing. Analyzing the way of dressing today it is necessary to say that ”fashionable clothing” has made a great “kick” to femininity. Women become less ladylike but more aggressive and businesslike. A woman is opposed to a man; it is no longer an “addenda” to a male, but a force able to contradict him and to compete with him. Women have accepted a lot of clothing styles that propagandize masculinity. Of course there still are women that are the embodiments of tenderness and femininity preserving women’s sexuality but nevertheless the general tendency of feminization in today’s society has done its work. Equality at work, business and politics has transformed the image of a woman greatly.
4.b. Men and fashion. Throughout the history starting with the middle ages men’s fashion has changed a lot. If the era of Renaissance was characterized by increased femininity in men’s clothes, the end of the twentieth century became the moment of maximal revealing of masculinity for men. Nowadays, identity has brought a lot of specific changes in the perception of a contemporary man. An open manifestation of sexual orientation has brought the image of a feminine man into fashion. The adaptation of feminine tendencies into men’s fashion is transparent. Men tend to choose practical clothes as casual clothing and suits as their “working uniform”[Hollander 43]. The whole image of a man is not brusque and rough anymore. It has become more flexible and soft. The construction of a man’s wardrobe starts with choosing from the variety of images offered by culture and class today. The gender boundary is gradually “wiped” off. Nevertheless, clothing remains the primary criterion of the evaluation of the opposite sex. While being very liberate towards the type of clothing of other men, they demonstrate especial criticism towards women’s clothing. This happens due to the variety and abundance of women around. Analyzing men’s fashion is like dealing with a complexity. This complexity is constantly changing and adjusting to the surrounding of tendencies.
4. Symbolism of clothing. It is no surprise to any of the people who at least know what fashion is that the clothes that people wear are usually very symbolic. The symbolism of clothing is another part of delivering the message that a person tries to put into it. The symbolism may touch any sphere. For instance: music, sexual orientation, some kind of club and so on [Barnard 62]. Originally, a symbol is a facility that is used to express feelings or belonging to some group of class often dealing with power and wealth. Every observable symbol may carry a deeper meaning than it is visually understandable. Expression of symbols through clothing is a very popular tendency nowadays. Symbolism in clothing may point to the profession the person is dedicated to, supporting the “cipher” theory. The perception of symbols is not the same as the perception of the whole clothing image of an individual, because people may interpret the same symbol differently and therefore the understanding of the carrier of the symbol will be completely different. For instance, a man with a tiger on this T-shit may seem aggressive to one person and a Green Peace member for another one. A bird may be a symbol of freedom and somebody can view it a symbol of light-mindedness. Every person has to be very careful with the symbol while visiting a foreign country, due to the double meaning of the symbols that may be offending to the culture the person is in. Though the goal of every symbol is to share information, nevertheless some symbols may be inappropriate. Particular articles of clothing also contain messages with give information about the person possessing them. For example a veil interpreted as mourning or an extreme aloofness. A walking stick may be necessary to the health condition but may also be a “sign of luxury”.
5. Culture and fashion. As every person belongs to a definite culture and has the right to reveal it, personal identity may sometimes be replaced by cultural identity. Cultural identity is the type of identity that is related to a certain culture or a separate group. It brings people belonging to a culture definite highlighting differences with other people. Clothing in terms of culture is to reveal either the historical roots of a person or the roots the group he belongs to. The oriental-followers are easily defined from the crowd by the specific collars and style of dressing they hold on to. Demonstrating a belonging to a certain cultural community is the free right of every person like people that freely declare who they are going to vote for. Talking about culture it is possible to mention that nowadays exists ”material culture” that dictates its own ways and code of dressing [Crane 51]. The liberation of culture off the borders made the cultural fashion developments increase dramatically. The “freedom of word” has found a place in every single cultural attribute nowadays. Wearing a cowboy hat may not be a sign of being from Texas, but a sign of political preference.For instance it is very easy to distinguish a European from a Hindu by the style of dressing or an Indian woman from an oriental woman by the distinctive spot on the forehead of an Indian woman and a veil worn by Moslem woman. Fashion has taken the best part of the traditional costumes of every culture and sometimes this leads to propagandizing a definite cultural group. For instance, the brightest example is the increasing interest towards the Moslems and oriental culture nowadays.
Conclusion:Fashion and identity are inseparable companions. Fashion with all its symbolism and attributes form an outstanding base for personal and cultural identification. Identity is a necessary process of a healthy personality as it is a part of self-realization of a person that is so much required for finding a place in life of every person. Fashion has become a tool for achieving harmony with the inner world and a way of revealing or concealing peculiarities. Fashion possesses a specific meaning and the more diverse is the society around us the more fashion-trend will appear and surprise us. As long as it does not hurt people around fashion symbols are acceptable, nevertheless while thinking about fashion and identity it is necessary to remember the ethical side of the issue. Fashion and identity through it still remains a twofold issue but there are a lot of positive aspects one can enjoy and share with other people.
Established in 1975, Zara is one of the most successful retail merchants of today ‘s universe. Their clear focal point and vision has made them to tap the power of the manner. Operating in 62 different states it has about about 2500 shops all over the universe. Zara under the flagship of Inditex, ( a keeping company located in Northwest Spain ) is a manner impersonator, it comprehends what its client ‘s desire and so designs and industries harmonizing to their outlooks. Zara ‘s concern working theoretical account is rather diverse from the other retail merchants ; this makes them put out in the market. It has promoted the message of high manner at a lesser cost across all states through its alone and different merchandising techniques.
The Sustainability of Zara
Understanding and comparing the Business scheme and the fiscal differences of Inditex and its major rival will assist in understanding the sustainability of Zara in the international dress market. Gap which is one of Zara ‘s major rivals sells the same scope of ware with a less voguish manner. H & A ; M ( Hennes and Mauritz ) a baleful rival excessively has been speedy to “ internationalise ” , which allows them to derive gross revenues in states outside their native Sweden. H & A ; M besides is more attentive when come ining new markets and tends to come in one state at a clip, as opposed to Zara who multitasks globally.
Furthermore it ‘s been known that H & A ; M has 85 % current assets in its concern where as Zara has merely 50 % of current assets. This shows that Zara has more of fixed assets and its current assets are rather fast traveling as seen in its concern theoretical account.
Spain ‘s well-liked trade name Zara, aims to offer the latest catwalk manner at the most low-cost monetary value. Zara ‘s adult females and work forces ‘s aggregation is divided into three classs.
With a alone merchandise scheme Zara comes up with 14,000 designs per twelvemonth, with new designs looking in the shops globally, twice a week.A It by and large focuses on executing cardinal activities otherwise in its supply concatenation which is 2-2.5 months that makes it sustainable and sets challenges for its rivals. The cardinal factor that makes Zara ‘s design sustainable is the broad mixtures of whisking budget readings of catwalk merchandises as clients these yearss prefer disbursement on instruction, health care, electronics and travel, so on vesture due to recession.
Another factor that makes Zara prolonged is its shop location and layout. Although merchandises are at cheap rates, their blue shop ‘s layout makes it experience sole as they are big, classy and centrally located. The company does n’t pass much on advertisement as it believes to give the added value to their clients instead than passing on trade name publicity. While its challengers start be aftering their lines on mean nine months before they hit the shelves, Zara has a repute for instant reaction to manner tendencies and rapid restocking of shops. Zara can do on new line, from the initial construct to when it arrives in the store, in merely three hebdomads.
In add-on theA Zara engineering makes the interior decorators in day-to-day contact with shop directors, discoursing which points are most in demand and which are non. ( Bmelie, 2006 ) . Zara recruits talented immature interior decorators and trains them to take fleet determination. This manner it has re-thought the manner concern and developed into a construct of its ain and its attempts are hence focused on cut downing the clip between design and sale which means that its production rhythm is wholly different from manner sector norms. The focal point on market alterations means that 85 per centum of merchandises are manufactured in the season they are sold.
The Retail Environment
In the retail environment, the rhythms of merchandises, gross revenues volume and analysis and way of locations are conveyed to the interior decorators by shop director and sals associates so that Zara interior decorators in Spain can rapidly react to clients ‘ penchants during seasons.
Furthermore, “ no stock keeping ” construct has seen to be the most outstanding thought of Zara ‘s retailing scheme while remainder of manner retail merchant maintain carry oning traditional map of purchasing and keeping stock. This scheme indicates that Zara requires a rapid interaction with current manner tendency. All new points are introduced twice a hebdomad and presented in shop shelves in merely two hebdomads. Reducing the cost by commanding stock improved Zara ‘s net incomes and retailing efficiency.
In footings of fabrication, “ Zara beginnings ‘grey ‘ cloth to acquire the most flexible in-season updating ” , and to turn it into assorted sorts of garments really easy. In add-on, the best benefit is that ‘grey ‘ fabric suits for its basic black aggregation. Additionally, Zara buys fabric: un-coloured and semi-processed one based on the immediate their interior decorator ‘s demand which colours up near to the merchandising season, twosome with doing the apparels itself. These help Zara ‘s fabrication fast, no more than few yearss, while other rivals ‘ companies take up to months ( Dutta, 2002 ) . Therefore, Zara is competent to develop a new merchandise line within three hebdomads. ( Michael A. Hitt, 2008 ) ( Ghemawat, 2003 ) . Zara has first-class international schemes both in fabrication and retailing which been organized and conducted good leads Zara go one of most successful instance in manner industry.
A Customer orientation and the paramount lissomeness organize the bases of Zara ‘s concern theoretical account. Its 480,000 square metre centralized distribution system is capable of managing 60,000 garments per hr. The market vesture is ever in development and motion. The distribution channel is the web which links manufacturers with users yet international distribution schemes are hard to pull off since distribution constructions differ from one state to the following ( Keegan & A ; Green, 2003 ) .
Below is the theoretical account picturing the factors on which 1 can find the sustainability of Zara.
The Win- Win Strategy
Discussed below are the ways in which Zara has shown its influence on the retails trade names and the manner market. These impacts can be seen every bit affirmatory every bit good as negative. In the high-velocity racing with manner industry, there is no 1 that is better than ZARA. So what makes Zara a true victor amongst others?
The reply is:
Zara has extremely affected the manner industry in a short span of clip. It has fashioned a place for itself in the center of the crammed full retail market. There are a figure of cardinal positive influences of Zara ‘s theoretical account in manner industry. First, Zara ‘s extremely effectual supply concatenation can acquire merchandise to hive away in a hebdomad, whereas traditional vesture retails spend more clip, normally one or three months. This provides clients with latest aggregations each clip they visit the shop and besides more options to pick from. Second, Well-developed IT syste has certain benefits: it increases productiveness, which accelerates to better quality, increases the work strength and the complete IT system provides the package support for the successful operation in the manner industry.
Zara ‘s successful concern theoretical account non merely maximizes the net income and saves clip but besides they provide an first-class concern illustration for the whole manner industry. Finally ; Zara ‘s successful concern scheme provides as a survey illustration for the other manner companies around the universe. For illustration, China ‘s celebrated manner trade name -Metersbonwe, follows Zara ‘s theoretical account. In 2009, Metersbonwe costumes opened Terminal Direct-oriented work, which was a immense accommodation to their retail web and for which they spent about one billion Yuan in a countrywide purchase.
As the adage goes ” every coin has its two sides ” , there are some unconstructive impacts of Zara in manner industry. First of all, confronted with such a thorny issue, Zara has been accused of crying pricy, which it denies. And there ‘s possibly a certain sum of snobby in the deduction that a company from an vague corner of northern Spain has no right to ape catwalk manners ( Mark Tungate, 2005 ) . In add-on, Zara ‘s design, they straight collect and copy the new manner information all over the universe through the web. Zara might necessitate paying a big compensation due to Plagiarism job. This has earnestly affected the unity of the manner industry. US market poses as a large unique challenge for Zara, as it ‘s non able to hold the same impact over America as it has on the remainder of the universe. In the present extremely disconnected nature of manner retailing it has become necessary for Zara to distinguish itself from its rivals in the North American market. All these troubles oppose Zara to set up themselves in the culturally diverse background and to hold an impact on the US market.
Giving a tufa competition to the luxury trade names such as Dior, Channel, Armani and many others Zara is come ining into the luxury trade name market through its stigmatization and selling scheme. It dresses adult females, work forces and childs in a sexy retail environment which might look to look rather expensive and sole than what it really is. A well-known U.S publication establishment ; in one of their releases referred to a really singular construct: “ fast manner ” , and predicted that Zara will be the consumer tendency for the following decennary. However, under the economic crunch, Zara is confronting unprecedented competition and challenges in planetary manner market. It genuinely is a planetary manner trade name and the twenty-four hours is no far when it will be considered as a manner icon in the manner industry.
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