The Anthropology of Fashion.
Or Fashion Anthropology.
Disclaimer: I am not an Anthropologist…Yet. Anthropology has become one of my great passions and i am still in the process of going back to college and persuing a degree. I hope to double major with degrees in Anthropology and Journalism.
Fashion Anthropology (and Anthropology in general!) is a topic i’m dying to write about, as soon as i’m well-studied and have more fieldwork experience under my belt. So stay tuned, and let me know what you are curious about!
Also, if any other Anthropology-majors stumble across this page, please let me know of any good colleges or universities you know of! Especially online colleges… I’m still on the hunt for the perfect place to continue my education–my biggest problem has been that i keep moving!
What is Anthropology?
Anthropology is (basically) the study of all things about all people, in all places, throughout all time. That’s how i most enjoy explaining it. It’s human-centric.
It takes a deep look into various cultures–with the intention of being objective and non-judgemental while observing–seeking to see things from the view of the people group being learned about–for the main purpose of finding differences and similarities, and ultimately discovering what it truly means to be human.
In America, it is traditionally separated into four main disciplines: Cultural Anthropology, Linguistic Anthropology, Biological Anthropology (Forensic Anthropologists come from this field of study), and Archaeology (or Material Anthropology).
It’s a discipline that we can learn a lot from. Because it takes into account so many aspects of human life, it’s a treasure trove of information.
Why Consider Fashion in Anthropological Studies?
How we dress is one aspect that we can use to understand who we are as people:
Why do we dress the way we do?
How do other aspects of life and culture (Such as relationships, socio-economics, and religion) affect what we choose to wear?
Why are some forms of attire acceptable in one culture, but not another?
Why are there so many different standards of “beauty” around the world?
What we wear is often considered to be an extension of ourselves: whether we are using it to protect or enhance our bodies, or to non-verbally communicate our inner self or our place in society. Fashion (including any form of body ornamentation or modification–from fabric-made attire, to jewelry, to beauty habits, to tattoos and beyond…) is with us wherever we go and we are rarely without it. It’s highly visual, and sometimes involves our other senses, so it’s very tangible. All cultures have their own variations of it, and humans are the only creatures who involve themselves with it. So, i think fashion is a subject that can bring a lot of understanding about humanity, therefore being a great topic for anthropology. And anthropology is an excellent discipline to study fashion through, because anthropology is objective and embraces diversity and understanding–treatment that fashion critique often does not receive.
Come back later to view the blog posts in the fashion anthropology category, where we will look into how people dress all around the world and why, suggesting answers to the above questions and more.
I’m so excited to jump into studying this with you!