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What is in the name of the fashion designer?

Ferrero-Regis, Tiziana (2008) What is in the name of the fashion designer? In Art Association of Australia and New Zealand Conference, 5-6 December 2008, Brisbane. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Today fashion quite comfortably covers the space between unique pieces and serialisation, mobilising as necessary the discourses of art or commerce. However, like many other creative practices which occupy the spheres of both commerce and art, the question of what is a fashion designer remains open. Fashion theory still lacks a re-conceptualisation of the designer that encompasses the discourses of art versus commerce and provides a useful analytical framework that accounts for fashion design activities. Notably, Pierre Bourdieu has attempted an analysis of the position of the fashion designer within the fashion field and in relation to the social field. With his “structural homology” between different fields of luxury goods, Bourdieu has provided a useful theory that accounts for fashion change in terms of synchronisation between revolutionary styles and revolutionary society. However, Bourdieu’s analysis of the fashion field was heavily influenced by the historical circumstances of French haute couture. His clear-cut distinction between the sub-fields of large-scale production and restricted production still mirrors the division between high art and popular culture. Historically, the image of the fashion designer has been constructed within a heroic and romantic narrative centred on the concept of designers as artists and hence authors. The recent development of the fashion industry as an image-driven industry, on the one hand, and the placement of fashion in museum contexts on the other requires a re-conceptualisation of the function of the designer. This paper argues that Michel Foucault’s concept of the function of the author-name provides a useful analytical framework that explains the recent mobilisation of artistic discourses as commercial performance and strategy within large-scale production.

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ID Code: 18120
Item Type: Conference Paper
Keywords: Fashion, Design, History, Fashion Theory
Divisions: Past > Disciplines > Fashion
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > Institutes > Institute for Creative Industries and Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 [please consult the author]
Deposited On: 20 Feb 2009 11:49
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2013 10:48

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