Nowadays fashion is usually linked to a particular group or social trend this can become one of the primary focuses for the younger generation. Young people from 16 to 30 now often want to visit designer shows, look at pictures in top magazines and make friends with people who share the same interests, and thus become part of this community.
This topic is socially important because the problem of identity and referring oneself to a particular community concerns each member of society. The choice of social group, circle of friends and areas of interests identifies the way each individual will behave. In future it might affect the welfare of the country and the image of the state. Fashion Weeks, presentations and catwalks become an important part of life of the residents of every big modern city. Representatives of the fashion industry are idols for the younger people. Younger people write blogs about fashion, visits fashion shows, and observe and imitate trends in in their personal lives in education and the development of general creative skills. As Kavamura mentioned « the fashion community is a closed system which produces a symbolic line between what is fashionable and what is not, and determines what can be qualified as an officially recognized aesthetic taste» [1, p. 109].
As Workman & Studak consider, individuals in a social system may be more closely related by lifestyle patterns, interests, and value systems (e.g. valuing change, newness, originality) than by socioeconomic status [2, p. 66]. When a new style is first introduced to the public by the fashion industry, diffusion is likely to occur mainly in the most innovative social systems. After the style diffuses within the most innovative social systems, it may begin to diffuse across other social systems. The style penetrates the least innovative social systems after it has reached a peak of acceptance throughout the mass population.
Each social system has its own innovative communicators, fashion innovators, fashion opinion leaders, and fashion followers, according to Sproles . However, a person classified as a fashion follower within an innovative social system might be a fashion innovator in a less innovative social system. Thus, an individual’s fashion consumer category is dependent on his or her social system. Even the most innovative social system will have fashion followers.
The sociological theory of fashion is the base for collective behavior. Infinite variability of fashion serves as the indicator of a group accessory, social status and the degree of a consequence of an individual. Fashion goes from top to down – from exclusive classes to those who stand at the bottom of the ladder, getting desire of the lowest classes to imitate, and constant aspiration of the highest classes to differ . The fashion is formed by an exclusive layer of society as its representatives constantly need the confirmation of the high status by means of clothes and appearance.
Fashion community can be regarded as a social organization. According to Smelser, “social organization is a specific social unit that unites individuals in a group realizing a common goal”[5, p. 189]. The social organization arises when the achievement of individual goals are carried out through the advancement and the achievement of common goals. According this approach, the organization is a system of exchange between the whole part and its elements. The structure of such an organization includes the organization’s goals, participants, organizers, the rules governing the behavior of people, given sequence of actions. Achieving the goal is the end result of activities of all organizations. However, realization of the purpose of the organization is necessary in the hierarchical construction and control, according to Prigozhin. He mentioned that a team has a decisive influence on the structure and functioning of the organization. Thus, cohesion, collective conflicts, stability, skills and awareness of employees, business activity, and discipline – all of these components determine the effectiveness of the organization [6, p. 47].
The hierarchy is defined as the universal principle of all organizational systems. Hierarchy is manifested as a human attitude, namely as a unilateral personal relationship between two people. It means the impact of some channels on other people. The possession of such a channel is psychologically motivated by the possibility of self-affirmation, self-realization and a higher prestige. The social value of the status increases in the hierarchy from level to level, as Prigozhin mentions. The fashion community organizers can be put on top of the hierarchy. Due to their decisions and policies community will evolve and it may become clear who enters the community and which roles they have. However, people within this community might have the same roles and positions regardless of social status.
In society the communication process reveals special characteristics when the ruling element is afraid of both the internal and the external environment, according to Lasswell . In gauging the efficiency of communication in any given context, it is necessary to take into account the values at stake, and the identity of the group whose position is being examined. In democratic societies, rational choices depend on enlightenment which in turn depends upon communication and especially upon the equivalence of attention among leaders and experts.
Communication can also be hierarchical with the priority of direct communication and democratic of oriented feedback. There are two basic communicative actions: an order and a conviction . In general, communication is a process of exchange of information in society. Communication implies some activity.
On the one hand, the communicator is interested in the transmission of certain information, on the other hand, the recipient spends some effort to decipher the information. To maintain a harmonious environment in the community all of its members should be interested in establishing contacts and competent roles. It is clear that fashion promotes communication in society. Looking at the appearance it becomes easier to identify people belonging to the same class, who have similar benefits, interests and are characterized by a certain lifestyle.
Most of the messages within any state do not involve the central channels of communication. Such messages take place within families, neighborhoods, shops, friends, and other local contexts. With the help of the relevant information people can get important sources for their entire life. It is possible to establish a list of values appropriate for any group chosen for investigation. Further we can discover the rank order in which these values are sought. The rank might establish the members of the group according to their positions in relation to the values [7, p.221].
However, the fashion community is a live organism and can not live without the conflicts. The topic of the conflict in the social sphere is an actively developing area of knowledge. Nowadays views on the nature and the form of the conflict are various. The conflict is a collision of two or more multidirectional forces for the purpose of realization of their interests in the conditions of counteraction. The fight for the bigger attention, the best places on rows, photos in society columns and special vip-service leads to conflict situations during fashion weeks.
To sum up, people can get into this community by relations with influential people; however, they do not necessarily become a part of it. Only professionally oriented groups have an opportunity to be involved for a long period of time. Bloggers have a close relationship to the fashion experts from the one side and to the audience of consumers on the other side.
Fashion events provide a role model for the young generation. There are some idols and fashion icons, trends and in general a special community with similar interests. It becomes an exemplar of ideal social-being.
- Kavamura, U. Fashionology: An Introduction to Fashion Studies. Minsk: Grevtsov Publisher, 2009.
- Workman, J. E., Studak, C. M. Relationships among fashion consumer groups, locus of control, boredom proneness, boredom coping and intrinsic enjoyment// International Journal of Consumer Studies. 2007. Vol. 31
- Sproles, G., Burns, L.L. Changing Appearances. Fairchild, New York, 2011.
- Linch, A., Shtraus, M. Changing Fashion: A Critical Introduction to Trend Analysis and Meaning. Minsk: Grevtsov Pablisher, 2009.
- Smelser, N. Sociology, 1994.
- Prigozhin, A. Modern Sociology of Organization, 1995.
- Lasswell H. D. The structure and function of communication in society// Communication in society. 2007.
- Kuznetsov, V. Public Relations: Theory and technology. М.: Aspekt Press, 2008.