Fashion is per definition a social phenomenon. It is a quality we only can come to know in correspondence and comparison with others. But it is also a temporal distinction, to be amongst the first to wear something new. But for someone to be “first” others have to follow, and for anyone to be “in” others have to be out. Psychopolitics of Fashion is about this desire, rivalry, competition, envy, and violence residing at the very heart of fashion, under the surface of fashion’s perceived “shallowness.”
Thus under the surface of fashion lurks a dark sibling of desire. In FashioPolitics we try to unpack fashion as a vector of rejection, bullying and violence in interpersonal and group dynamics, to better learn how fashion can cultivate social nonviolence.
Fashion is the aesthetic dynamics of competitive desire, and this makes fashion not only concern my own inner world, but my world is in continuous confrontation with the desires of others. Thus fashion is not simply related to social psychology as it can never be neutral, but by its very nature, it is required to be an asymmetrically distributed asset or sensibility.
By suggesting a ‘critical psychology’ for fashion design, and addressing the social mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion through a political lens, we will examine the psychological implications of status dynamics in everyday use of fashion. Here, fashion and clothing acts as interpersonal interfaces for rivalry and possibly aggression, where the very “shallowness” of fashion becomes an excuse for marginalization, rejection and punishment. This affects self-esteem and self-knowledge, psychologically wounding and reducing the victim. Thus the psychopolitics of fashion traces the mental processes of social hierarchization and interpersonal power-play. Yet, we also hope to address possible ways to reduce the violence which is seemingly inherent in fashion.