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Material Fetishism

Lace Trends In The Bridal Market And Beyond

It's a fetish-friendly time in the fashion industry. Commodities, the material component of capitalism, are the medium by which we understand value. When material commodities become scarce, the capitalist tendency is fetishize their worth (we do this when they are not scarce but the process is exaggerated when things beginning running out. See the 'limited edition' phenomenon in retail for more). We see these tendencies in the textile industry first.

One of the most poignant shows from the Fall 08 season was from Prada. Lace was at the forefront of the collection and it is this textile, fetishized with or without a recession, that stands as an example of how material culture can represent socioeconomic circumstances. Lace is treated as a kind of 'special' textile simply because it is associated with 'special' Western rituals, like weddings and funerals. WWD reported today on the increasing popularity of the textile, seen from Fall 08 and now Resort 09 collections and it is, quite frankly, not a surprise. We like our commodities, we want to keep them, when they begin running out, we exaggerate the remains so that they become exclusive and valuable. Queue lace, ribbons, skins, and fur. Fashion's response to this recession and the upcoming Spring 09 collections should be quite interesting indeed.

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