Fashion in Popular Culture (Book)

Literature, Media and Contemporary Studies

When we open our closet doors each morning, we seldom consider what our sartorial choices say, whether we tend toward jeans and a well-worn concert t-shirt or wingtips and a three-piece suit. Yet, how we dress divulges more than whether we crave comfort or couture; our clothing communicates who we are and how we relate to our culture. But how does a Balenciaga bag or a tough leather jacket topped by liberty spikes signify these things? Fashion in Popular Culture considers this question. Combining fashion theory with approaches from literature, art, advertising, music, media studies, material studies and sociology, contributors from across Europe, Australia and the United States consider the function of fashion within popular culture. Fashion, they show, has the capacity to both influence and be influenced by popular culture, and its meaning is also contingent upon context. Chapters in the book cover both historical and contemporary concerns, addressing a variety of other questions, including the role fashion plays in subcultures. For students and scholars of fashion and popular culture – or anyone fascinated by what clothing can convey – Fashion in Popular Culture offers an engaging, interdisciplinary analysis.


Joseph Hancock II is associate professor in the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design at Drexel University. He is the editor of the journal Fashion, Style and Popular Culture, also published by Intellect.

Toni Johnson-Woods is a senior lecturer in the School of English, Media Studies, and Art History at the University of Queensland, Australia.

Vicki Karaminas is associate professor of fashion studies and associate head of the School of Design at the University of Technology, Sydney, in Australia. With Toni Johnson-Woods, she is coauthor, most recently, of Shanghai Street Style, also published by Intellect.

Introduction – Joseph H. Hancock, II, Toni Johnson-Woods and Vicki Karaminas List of Figures Fashion in Contemporary Culture Chapter 1: Brand This Way: Lady Gaga’s Fashion as Storytelling Context to the GLBT Community – Joseph H. Hancock, II Chapter 2: Navigating Cultural Anxiety: Strategic Ambiguity in Lisbeth Salander’s Style-Fashion-Dress – Susan B. Kaiser Chapter 3: Australian Gothic: Black Light Angels, Appearance, and Subcultural Style – Vicki Karaminas Chapter 4: Fashionable Addiction: The Path to Heroin Chic – Alphonso D. McClendon Fashion in Media and Literature Chapter 5: Dames and Design: Fashion and Appearance on Pulp Fiction Covers, 1950–1960 – Toni Johnson-Woods Chapter 6: Territories of Knowledge and Nostalgia in Modern Fashion Designer Life Writing – Ilya Parkins Chapter 7: Looking for Mr. Benson: The Black Leather Motorcycle Jacket and Narratives of Masculinities – Marvin J. Taylor Chapter 8: Fashion Photography, Phallocentrism, and Feminist Critique – Louise Wallenberg Chapter 9: ‘He Can’t Love Me if I’m Ugly’: The Recurring Theme of Popular Beauty in the Television Soap Opera Days of Our Lives – Andrew Reilly and Nancy A. Rudd Chapter 10: Redressing the Devil’s Wardrobe: Representing and Re-Reading the Darker Side of Fashion in Chick Lit Novels – Anne Peirson-Smith Fashion in Historical Context Chapter 11: Redeeming the Voices of Reform – Patricia A. Cunningham Chapter 12: The Language of Luxury in Eighteenth-Century France – Paula von Wachenfeldt Chapter 13: The Devil of Fashion: Women, Fashion, and the Nation inEarly-Twentieth-Century German and Swedish Cultural Magazines – Andrea Kollnitz Chapter 14: Rome: Eternal City of Fashion and Film – Eugenia Paulicelli

'If you enjoy fashion, anthropology, sociology or simply want to get to know your favourite icons a bit better, then this book is an excellent choice.'

Amanda Kay, West End Magazine

'This book is fascinating'

Todd Robinson, UTS

'The anthology 'Fashion in Popular Culture' adds much-needed voices to the interdisciplinary discussion of fashion and popular culture' 

Journal of Popular Culture, Scott Stalcup
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