The significance and value of fashion in the transition from childhood to adolescence

Date of publication: June 15, 1992


This paper takes its cue from research into the significance of consumption in adolescence. Specifically, the results of the research in question are presented in relation to the role and the significance of fashion in the choice and the purchase of articles of clothing by adolescents. Fashion, viewed more as "chosen product of the peer group to which the adolescent belongs" (a sign) than a brand name, represents a fundamental reference element, especially in the pre-adolescent phase. It is a support which qualifies itself as a point of reference at the time when a strong emergence of an urge for separation from the family emerges, but at the same time individual identity has not yet been defined. However, in the space between the need for distinguishing oneself from the family and at the same time the need for confirmation of a reassuring link, adolescents form various identifications and rely on various referents. In this context, fashion does not appear unique, just as there does not exist a single model to base oneself on, appearing rather as a structure with a number of different identifications cohabiting inside. The different articles of clothing (in the realm of fashion) call onto the scene different identifications and different referents. It is from precisely the interception of this process that indications emerge for identifying the criteria on which the adolescent mosaic is structured, what their references are and how they adapt to the process of choice.

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