Exploring research space in fashion

The fluidity of knowledge between designers, individuals and society

Authored by: Harah Chon

The Routledge Companion to Design Research

Print publication date:  October  2014
Online publication date:  October  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415706070
eBook ISBN: 9781315758466
Adobe ISBN: 9781317636250


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Research involving fashion theory, or the consumption and use of fashion products, requires a study into material culture as the communication of symbolic values. Within the study of fashion, material culture is defined as a meaning-making process developed through the exchange of symbolic values embedded within fashion objects (Crane & Bovone, 2006). While the perception of fashion, as a social phenomenon, has been positioned by users and researchers in relation to modernity, its social relevance is beginning to see a shift from an over-emphasis on interactions towards adaptability and longevity within diverse social groups (Buckley & Clark, 2012). This chapter addresses the interdisciplinary roots of fashion studies and introduces a research framework proposing the meaning-making process as a step towards achieving relevance and longevity. Following a sociological approach to fashion research, the role of fashion objects in everyday life is discussed as communicating design intent and extending into the construction of new meanings.

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