Chapter 6: Being Fashionable in Today’s Tunisia: What About Cultural Identity?
Fatma Smaoui and Ghofrane Ghariani Fashion is today an important feature of the contemporary consumer’s life. Goods, services and different consumption areas are influenced by the ‘fashion system’ (Barthes, 1967). Solomon and Rabolt (2009, p. xi) describe fashion as a ‘driving force that shapes the way we live – it influences our apparel, hairstyles, art, food, cosmetics, . . . and many other aspects of our daily lives.’ By increasing the renewal of forms and the inconsistency of the realm of appearances, fashion enables novelty to be promoted (Lipovesky, 1994). ‘It is responsible for consumers changing their wardrobes, music systems, furniture and the cars they drive’ (Solomon and Rabolt, 2009, p. 5). Fashion also brings emotion to the purchasing act by adding to the utility function of the product, a hedonic function, related to fantasy and change (Lipovesky, 1994). The consumer–fashion relationship is complex and goes beyond the mere consumption of goods and services (Davis, 1992; Marion, 2003; Thompson and Haytko, 1997). Fashion meets consumers’ hedonist and communication needs and helps with building self and social identities, and expressing individual and cultural values (Marion, 2003; O’Cass, 2001; Sandıkcı and Ger, 2002; Thompson and Haytko, 1997). In fact, fashion reflects society, its culture and how people define themselves (Solomon and Rabolt, 2009). Consumers find in fashion goods symbolic resources which enable them to improve self expression and contribute to their communication with group and culture members. The fashion system is a part of the symbols and meanings characterizing a culture (Craik, 1994; Davis,...
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