From the style statements of Michelle Obama, Beyonce, Jimi Hendrix, Gothic Lolitas and Hussein Chalayan; to those created by internet gamers, 'foodies,' supermodel 'corpses,' Jamaican designers, and spandex-wearing disco divas; to those worn by Congo immigrants in Italy, Russians stalgic for the Soviet empire, Chinese women of the Republican era, and Dutch women reconciling the dictates of Paris with life in the Netherlands, fashion is a critical aspect of the zeitgeist of modern society. Reflecting contemporary preoccupations, fashion transmits cultural identities, mentalities, anxieties, and uncertainties as individuals seek to define, challenge, or reinvent cultural selves and dictums. The study of fashion is actually the study of fashions, hence the title Fashions: Exploring Fashion through Cultures. Culture threads its way through the fourteen chapters of this interdisciplinary book, which is divided into three sections: Transformations, Transnationalism and Transgressions. Representing a broad range of disciplines, the book's contributors dialogue with each other about the variety and complexity of fashion as a shared, patterned, and stylized form of cultural expression that provides meaning, order, identity, livelihood, aesthetic enjoyment - and frustration and challenges - to human lives.
Jacque Lynn Foltyn, Ph.D., is Professor of Sociology, National University, La Jolla, California, and is Chief Editor of Catwalk: The Journal of Fashion, Beauty and Style. She has appeared on CBS 48 Hours and the BBC, been featured in Allure and More magazines, and a variety of newspapers, from The New York Times to The Sydney Morning Herald. Her current project is a longitudinal study of beauty.