I completely agree with this statement: the division among different social classes is apparent while the unification within a class remains definite. By allowing this alliance to form within a class, we, intentionally or not, take part in the exercise of excluding outsiders. We can relate this to fashion by asserting that the majority of society distinguishes themselves by their appearance. People who are fortunate enough to spend carelessly and dress in extravagant apparel (fur, diamonds, leather, etc.) are able to identify themselves in an exclusive “haut monde” group. However, the less fortunate are left to work hard so that they can live up to a certain caliber of lifestyle. We always want what we can’t have. Essentially, this division prompts individuals to strive to reach a dream unattainable for many.
“A women dressed by Chanel back in the twenties and thirties- like a woman dressed by Balenciaga in the fifties and sixties- walked into a room and had a dignity, and authority, a thing beyond a question of taste.”-Diana Vreeland
I am guilty of being a part of the masses when purchasing items just from my superficial knowledge of a particular brand. The significance of a brand is so powerful that it has the ability to render something ordinary extraordinary. Chanel, Prada, Gucci, and so on are brands that market themselves as an elite group. These products are from a different world; a world of social power and class. When we see a woman or a man wearing a certain brand such as these, our impression of them is instant and spontaneous. We perceive that person to be in a position of high caliber, due to their ability to afford these unattainable items.
“Fashion can be used in this way as a means to assert a type of visual and stylistic power by those who feel alienated from the main flow of political life, whether because of gender, class or ethnicity.”
Fashion can be a discriminative harsh society; which can either build you up or tear you down. The manipulation and judgmental factors of fashion generates a fear of rejection, but sustains power over our impression. Someone with a sharp clean cut suit, driving a BMW portrays themselves as a person with prestigious qualities. Although the suit might have been from Target, and the BMW could have been borrowed. The control that one has to manipulate their appearance is powerful. This is why I think fashion holds an invisible compelling hold on society.