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The Psychopolitics of Fashion

Conflict and Courage Under the Current State of Fashion


Otto von Busch

978-1-3501-0233-0 (online)
978-1-3501-0230-9 (hardback)
978-1-3501-0232-3 (epdf)
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What if fashion was a state? What kind of state would it be? Probably not a democracy. Otto von Busch sees fashion as a totalitarian state, with a population all too eager to enact the decrees of its aesthetic superiority. Peers police each other and deploy acts of judgment, peer-regulation, and micro-violence to uphold the aesthetic order of fashion supremacy.

Using four design projects as tools for inquiry, Von Busch explores the seductive desires of envy and violence within fashion drawing on political theories. He proposes that the violent conflicts of fashion happen not only in arid cotton fields or collapsing factories, but in the everyday practice of getting dressed, in the judgments, sneers, and rejections of others. Indeed, he suggests that feelings of inclusion and adoration are what make us feel the pleasure of being fashionable—of being seductive, popular, and powerful.

Exploring the conflicting emotions associated with fashion, Von Busch argues that while the current state of fashion is bred out of fear, The Psychopolitics of Fashion can offer constructive modes of mitigation and resistance. Through projects that actively work towards disarming the violent practices of dress, Von Busch suggests paths towards a more engaging and meaningful experience of fashion he calls “deep fashion.”