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Fashion Culture: Creative Work, Female Individualization

Angela McRobbie
Feminist Review
No. 71, Fashion and Beauty (2002), pp. 52-62
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1396021
Page Count: 11
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Fashion Culture: Creative Work, Female Individualization
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Abstract

This article explores some of the key dynamics of the UK fashion sector as an example of a post-industrial, urban based, cultural economy comprising of a largely youthful female workforce. It argues that the small scale, independent activities which formed the backbone of the success of British fashion design as an internationally recognized phenomenon from the mid 1980s to the mid 1990s, represented a form of female self-generated work giving rise to collaborative possibilities and co-operation. However without an effective lobby or association (despite the expansion of the fashion media) and under conditions of rapid individualization and in an increasingly harsh climate of neo-liberalization, this creative economy has been overtaken and virtually demolished by the joint forces of a re-vitalized high street fashion culture and the aggressive presence of corporate fashion ('Prada-ization'). While the UK government celebrates the growth of the cultural economy, it also overlooks the processes making the livelihoods of its predominantly female workforce either untenable or else requiring de-specialization and 'multi-tasking'.

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