In the psychological game of fashion, there are only winners and losers. As much as fashion helps build self-esteem and propels desire and seduction for the winners, it thrashes and harasses the losers, shattering their social status, self-esteem and self-image. Shifting focus from the inherent qualities and identity and representation, to the dynamic game of envy, jealousy, status and violence may highlight the immediate and urgent connection between dress and the self. The psychopolitics of fashion aims to unpack the competitive desires enacted through fashion, and how they affect our mental and social environment under the surface of “shallowness.”


Social regulation and the Preos of fashion violence

Fashion is an aesthetic signifier of social hierarchies and belonging, but also an opening for emotional affects and connections between people. As clothes are used to mark out distinctions, they also open passages for emotional signaling and connection. On an abstract level, my branded shirt may signify an identification with certain values of the brand, …

The social stigma process of exclusion

With theories of interactionism, the focus on social relations is aimed at the processes which continuously reconstruct and guide social interactions. Norms and differences are made and remade, and people are dynamic beings who go in and out of relationships, associate in fluid and changing ways. Social psychologist Robert Thornberg (2013) has in a paper …


Below we will add interviews of scholars, professionals and influencers to discuss how fashion is drawn into struggles of desire, competition, rivalry and exclusion.

…and much more…


About FashioPolitics

Fashion is per definition a social phenomenon. It is a quality we only can come to know in correspondence and comparison with others. But it is also a temporal distinction, to be amongst the first to wear something new. But for someone  to be “first” others have to follow, and for anyone to be “in” others have to be out. Psychopolitics of Fashion is about this desire, rivalry, competition, envy, and violence residing at the very heart of fashion, under the surface of fashion’s perceived “shallowness.”

Thus under the surface of fashion lurks a dark sibling of desire. In FashioPolitics we try to unpack fashion as a vector of rejection, bullying and violence in interpersonal and group dynamics, to better learn how fashion can cultivate social nonviolence.

Fashion’s iceberg of emotions

Fashion is the aesthetic dynamics of competitive desire, and this makes fashion not only concern my own inner world, but my world is in continuous confrontation with the desires of others. Thus fashion is not simply related to social psychology as it can never be neutral, but by its very nature, it is required to be an asymmetrically distributed asset or sensibility.

By suggesting a ‘critical psychology’ for fashion design, and addressing the social mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion through a political lens, we will examine the psychological implications of status dynamics in everyday use of fashion. Here, fashion and clothing acts as interpersonal interfaces for rivalry and possibly aggression, where the very “shallowness” of fashion becomes an excuse for marginalization, rejection and punishment. This affects self-esteem and self-knowledge, psychologically wounding and reducing the victim. Thus the psychopolitics of fashion traces the mental processes of social hierarchization and interpersonal power-play. Yet, we also hope to address possible ways to reduce the violence which is seemingly inherent in fashion.