Postmodernism in 20th Century Fashion

Topics: Modernism, Art, Postmodernism Pages: 4 (1161 words) Published: March 6, 2011
Postmodernism in fashion has developed over the past twenty years with designers such as, Comme des Garçons, Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood demonstrating its key elements. So how is Postmodernism still relevant in fashion today?

Postmodernism has been widely used over the past two decades, but trying to pinpoint one definitive meaning for the term is very difficult indeed. Taken literally Postmodernism means “after the modernist movement”, but there is more to Postmodernism than that. One thing that is certain is Postmodernism is a flexible term that can cover a wide range of art forms. Critical theorists use Postmodernism to refer to a point of deviation for works of literature, drama, architecture, cinema and design.

Originally, Postmodernism was a reaction to modernism. Malcolm Barnard explains “where modernity conceived of the object in terms of production, Post modernity conceives of it in terms of consumption”. This means that all forms of art are made with the sole purpose of being ‘consumed’ and with a main target of postmodernism being to appeal to a wider audience the two go hand in hand. Postmodernism can also be used to describe the society in which we live in today:

“[p]ostmodernity is a globalizing, post industrial world of media, communication and information systems. It is organised on the basis of a market-orientated world of consumption rather than work and production…it is a world of culture in which tradition, consensual values…universal beliefs and standards have been challenged, undermined and rejected for heterogeneity, differentiation and difference.” (Bernard, 2007)

Postmodernism can be seen as an artistic style, or an approach to the making of things. The way something is constructed, the silhouette created and the status it gives the wearer or user. Andrew Hill points out, “clothing is no longer associated with the type of social hierarchies it once was”. For example, exposing female flesh in 19th century gave the...
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