Korea Vs Paris: There is no Fashion, Only Image or How to Make Fashion Identity

Wessie Ling

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It is true, to a certain extent, that "the identity of a fashion centre is constituted not by a particular national style or regional costume, but by the localised capabilities that produce new styles or redefine old ones. Such capabilities include the presence of key industry activities – production, design marketing and distribution… [and] the interaction and coordination between industry actors" (Rantisi 2015: 261). For a viable fashion centre, several key factors are believed to be fundamental (ibid). They can be categorised as (a) place-specific elements, namely training and research institutes, cluster of skill and specialised subcontractors, promotional infrastructure and links between fashion and other cultural industries (Scott 2002); (b) fashion centre as a site for consumption (Gilbert 2006) and (c) the interaction and coordination within the fashion industry. In recent years, emerging fashion centres from Seoul to Stockholm to Shanghai to Hong Kong have taken production, design marketing, distribution, consumption and links within and across the fashion industry as key infrastructure for the construction of their own fashion system. Yet, can an identity for a fashion centre be constituted without a distinctive look and/or an outstanding style? How did a recognisable style or look be constituted in the first place? Is there a mechanism for its construction? This article discusses the construction of fashion identity through two cases: Paris and Korea. While Paris provides a definitive checklist constituting to a viable fashion identity, the rise of Korean fashion provides an alternative insight into its making in the 21st century.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCultures, Fashion and Society's Notebook 2016
EditorsRoy Menarini
Place of PublicationMilan-Turin
PublisherPearson Italia SpA
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9788867741731
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


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