From Fashionable Frivolity to Addicted Abandon: The Changing Moral Discourse on Fashions Excess from the Middle Ages to Today

by author] [No

Institution: Ryerson University
Year: 2017
Keywords: Fashion Moral and ethical aspects; Fashion Social aspects; Fashion History; Clothing and dress History
Posted: 02/01/2018
Record ID: 2153267
Full text PDF: http://digital.library.ryerson.ca/islandora/object/RULA%3A5993;


In Medieval and Puritan times, moralists framed the following of new fashions and the pursuit of novelties as frivolity, pride and excess, while today discourses about overconsumption, unsustainable industry practices, and distance from producers take on ethical and moral tones sometimes being attributed to greed or apathy. This research traces these moralizing discourses and the terms they use, comparing particular fashions or dress behaviours that were considered immoral on the basis of wastefulness of time and resources (including money) in each time period. In Medieval times, long trains and wide sleeves were often considered wasteful and frivolous by moralists. Likewise, in the Puritan era, the extravagant use of time in preparing complex appearances was condemned. Today, the Western worlds consumption patterns are seen to be problematic. This research looks for patterns and similarities among the damned fashion practices, and highlights the differences in ways the discourse is framed. For example, in Medieval and Puritan times, morality was framed in relation to God and sin, while present day discourses assume a common morality that overlooks God or religion.Advisors/Committee Members: Alison Matthews-David (Degree supervisor);.