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Analysis of Fashion as a Nonverbal Communicator of Identities

Autor:   •  April 12, 2018  •  Thesis  •  1,268 Words (6 Pages)  •  323 Views

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 Words aren’t the sole key to art of effective communicating.  As a process, communication entails the effectual usage of nonverbal cues.  Clothing is a familiar form of nonverbal communication, of which fashion is an imperative element.  The way one chooses to dress, the choice of clothing mirrors many indications about the personality, cultural background, political and socio-economic status of the person. Thus, fashion becomes a medium of communication.  Clothing has helped as a mode of compound and understated communication since the times bygone.  It has served as a means to develop an identity.   This paper is a qualitative analysis, employing the method of content analysis, to analyse how people have used, and continue to use fashion as a tool of communication and as an instrument to develop symbolic connotations; and qualitative interviews, which aid in empirical understanding of the topic.  The rhetoric of fashion and its role in the social and communication systems have been in part interpreted, and the meanings of the same have been explicated from the perspective of communication.

Analysis of Fashion as a Medium of Nonverbal Communication

The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘nonverbal communication’ as: “Not involving or using words or speech.”  Two-thirds of all communication is nonverbal (Hogan and Stubbs, 2003.)  Interaction between individuals has been a major point of focus when studying nonverbal communication.  For pedagogic purposes, nonverbal communication here has been classified into three major topics: environmental conditions where communication occurs, physical characteristics of the communicators, and behaviours of communicators throughout the interaction. It includes the methods of encoding and decoding; as in verbal communication forms.  Encoding can be termed as the act of producing information and decoding, as the interpretation of information from received sensations from prior experiences (The Concise Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology and Behavioral Science, 2004.)

The term ‘fashion,’ as a part of popular cultural practice encompasses not just clothing, but also footwear, accessories, make-up, body art, piercings et al.  Systematic analysis of fashion can provide a plethora of information about people; the cultures they belong to/ identify with, their financial status, religion, political ideology, social groups they identify with.  They may also express the moods, age group, interests, sexual identity of the subjects.  In this, they help in construing and demonstrating identities, from the standpoints of psychology and sociology.


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