Commerce, Culture, and Consumers
Edited by Regina Lee Blaszczyk
Named "Best of the Best from the University Presses" in 2008 by the American Library Association
Narrated by Beth Richmond
Approximately 10 hours
Book published by University of Pennsylvania Press
Each essay in Producing Fashion is presented in full and has been selected from the original print edition. The essays answer the following questions and more:
How has Paris, the world's fashion capital, influenced Milan, New York, and Tokyo? When did the Marlboro Man become a symbol of American masculinity? Why do Americans love to dress down in high-tech Lycra fabrics, while they wax nostalgic for quaint, old-fashioned Victorian cottages?
Fashion icons and failures have long captivated the general public, but few scholars have examined the historical role of business and commerce in creating the international market for style goods. Producing Fashion is a groundbreaking collection of original essays that shows how economic institutions in Europe and North America laid the foundation for the global fashion system and sustained it commercially through the mechanisms of advertising, licensing, marketing, publishing, and retailing.
The collection reveals how public and private institutions worked to shape fashion, style, and taste with varying degrees of success. Nine expert contributors draw on original research and fresh insight into the producers of fashion—advertising agents, architects, corporate executives, department stores, designers, editors, government officials, hairdressers, haute couturiers, and Web retailers—in their bid for influence, acclaim, and shoppers' dollars.
Producing Fashion looks to the past, revealing the rationale behind style choices, while explaining how the interplay of custom, invented traditions, and sales imperatives continue to drive innovation in the fashion industries.
Regina Lee Blaszczyk is a visiting scholar in the Department of the History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania. Her books include the award-winning Imagining Consumers: Design and Innovation from Wedgwood to Corning and Major Problems in American Business History: Documents and Essays.
Beth Richmond (narrator) has narrated dozens of audiobooks for major companies.
“Producing Fashion takes readers on an international journey. The case studies, based on new original research, demonstrate the interplay between business enterprise and fashion. ”
—Journal of American History
“Producing Fashion demonstrates the importance of studying fashion, very broadly defined, from the perspective of business history. Case studies from several countries and from various periods during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries show how 'fashion intermediaries' in the business world developed new products and styles that resonated with consumers. Combining historical methods with models from cultural studies and other social science disciplines, these studies provide new insights into the environments that facilitated product innovation, the dissemination of ideas in the marketplace, and factors leading to cooperation or resistance on the part of consumers. ”
—Diana Crane, University of Pennsylvania
“At last, a collection of essays that considers fashion as both a commercial and a cultural phenomenon. Informed by recent approaches in the fields of business history, material culture studies, and the history of design, Producing Fashion offers a stimulating series of case studies... Anyone who has ever considered how and why fashionable trends emerge will find something of interest in its pages. ”
—Christopher Breward, Victoria and Albert Museum, London
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Part I. Organizing the Fashion Trades
1. “Rethinking Fashion” by Regina Lee Blaszczyk
2. “Accessorizing, Italian Style: Creating a Market for Milan’s Fashion Merchandise” by Elisabetta Merlo and Francesca Polese
3 “Licensing Practices at Maison Christian Dior” by Tomoko Okawa
Part II. Inventing Fashions, Promoting Styles
4. “American Fashions for American Women: The Rise and Fall of Fashion Nationalism” by Marlis Schweitzer
Part III. Shaping Bodies, Building Brands
5. “California Casual: Lifestyle Marketing and Men’s Leisurewear 1930-1960” by William R. Scott
6. “Marlboro Men: Outsider Masculinities and Commerical Modeling in Postwar America” by Elspeth H. Brown
7. “The Body and the Brand: How Lycra Shaped America” by Kaori O'Connor
Part IV. Customer Relations, Consumer Adaptations
8. “French Hairstyles and the Elusive Consumer” by Steve Zdatny
9. “Why the Old-Fashioned Is in Fashion in American Houses” by Susan J. Matt