Fashion and Power
Prof. Portwood-Stacer
With your group decide on a contemporary subculture that you feel has a distinctive fashion style.
(You don't have to limit yourselves to American subcultures.) Then answer the following
Name of the subculture and where it can be found:
What are some of the distinctive elements of this group's fashion style? Particular clothing items,
accessories, hairstyles, etc. that you associate with them?
How do you think these distinctive elements signify underlying values and attitudes of the group?
How do they represent the idea of difference from the dominant or mainstream culture?
Have any of their stylistic elements been reappropriated by mainstream, commercial fashion
entities? Give examples to illustrate.
What is this group's relationship to mainstream fashion and consumer culture? Do you think they
are attempting to transgress or subvert the mainstream at all?
Are members of this group likely to be drawn from particular social identity categories – in other
words are they likely to be people of a specific age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, class
status, etc.?
What are some of the social conditions and historical influences that you think this group might
be responding to? In other words, why this style at this point in time and this place in the world?
(For an example, recall Hebdige's discussion of the ways in which punk was a response by white
working class youth to cultural influences of black immigrants in Britain and to their own
economic and political disempowerment in the 1970s.)