What is Special in the Collections? Fashion Brands and Semiotic Saturation

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When we look through the pages of fashion magazines we can admire sophisticated ads that are thought to trasmit to us the unique and exclusive mood of the represented brand. If we look again through those pages we can recognize clusters of brands that communicate to us through quite similar visual codes. Similar visual codes sometimes are used by brands that are positioned at really different levels of the fashion pyramid, at the top (luxury brands) as well as at the bottom level (mass market). We are facing something that could be called semiotic saturation, according to the process Simmel identified at the beginning of the XXth century as typical in the diffusion of fashion among social classes. What makes different the present occurence of the phenomenon is that it doesn't imply in principle the abandoning of the saturated images by the luxury brands. On the contrary it contributes to the stabilization of the mainstream fashion visual mood of a certain period. The result seems however to be the lost of uniqueness and exclusiveness of communicated images of brands. A first exploratory research program, carried out with a convenient (40 people) sample of respondents balanced as far as regarding gender and age, showed that people feel disoriented when asked to recognize the brands associated with blind submitted images. 40% of the intervieweed couldn't accomplish the job. A second survey administered to a convenient sample of 161 respondents through a questionnaire with new brands showed that people (between 20% and 35%) had the same type of difficulties The paper presents and discusses the main findings of the research program and upholds the hypothesis that semiotic saturation represents the final stage of a culture of fashion that is mostly based on a pure commercial imagery.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteFrom Production to Consumption: The Cultural Industry of Fashion
EditorMarco Pedroni
Numero di pagine15
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2013


  • advertisement
  • consumption
  • fashion
  • semiotic saturation


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