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Comsumption Fashion - Patrick Kennedy Midterm Essay#2...

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Patrick Kennedy March 12, 2007 Midterm Essay #2 Fashion is defined as the prevailing customs of style, dress, or etiquette. Throughout history, fashion has been used to define a wide variety of aspects including identity, nationality, social class, political views, and support for a particular group or movement. Fashion has driven consumption for centuries, beginning with the rise of consumerism during the Renaissance in the sixteenth century. Many countries, most notably France, has been heavily influenced both socially and politically by the concept of fashion. Although fashion for the most part has been a positive aspect, incidences of people resisting fashion have also caused controversies throughout history. France is the prime example of a country being influenced by fashion. Throughout its existence the French have been known as the fashion capital or the world. This is an association the French are very proud of, and an idea they have worked extremely hard to convey to the world. The French Renaissance of the sixteenth century developed as a result of the growing number of intellectuals and artists. This event sparked consumption, and drastically improved and increased the middle class. The growing middle class now held the majority in France, and with the Renaissance they were introduced into the fashion world, and would soon gain control. In order to understand the concept of fashion in France, one must understand the models of consumption which were in place pre and post Renaissance. The pre Renaissance system in place was called the coupon model of consumption. This model simply stated that the aristocrats were in total control of the fashion world. Nobility and birth status meant everything. They were in charge of setting fashion trends, which were
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then mimicked by the lower class. The rich controlled what was stylish for the certain fashion season, and the rest of society accepted and obliged. In addition sumptuary laws, which were laws limiting the consumption of goods based on class status, strictly hindered the lower classes role in the fashion world.
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