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Dress, Body, Deconstruction: A Philosophical Perspective. Interview with Flavia Loscialpo

Vittoria Sisca
Question -First of all, I would like to start with a very general question: Why is it important to think about the theme of dress from a philosophical point of view? Answer -Dress, or fashion, is a privileged window on our culture and society. It in fact embodies the Zeitgeist, the spirit of the era it is rooted in. Wearing clothes is a universal experience, with fashion being the cultural form that is closest to our bodies, defining individual and collective identities. In this sense, there is
more » ... his sense, there is no aspect of fashion that does not follow under the aegis of philosophy. In a very concrete way, the centrality of the theme of dress, or fashion, also to the philosophical exploration, can be observed in relation to an interesting example, that is, Karl Marx's coat. In Capital, Marx writes about a coat to introduce complex concepts of use value versus exchange value, and unravel his own theory of commodity fetishism. 1 Fashion, or clothing, was for Marx, the motor, product, and metaphor of the capitalist system. What is interesting is that Marx had to frequently pawn his own overcoat, due to economic struggles. Deprived of the coat, he could not present himself in a respectable way in order to gain entry to the British Museum's reading room, where he wrote Capital, and thus of the role of the coat in world history. An emblematic metaphor in Marx's Capital, the coat is also a necessary garment and social symbol in Marx's life. 2 The way we dress reflects the changes informing our society, and always embodies a Weltanschauung, which might be informed by individual and collective beliefs, or issues, whether philosophical, political, economic, religious, ethical etc. So many examples can illustrate this. Just to mention one, we can think about the Constructivist or Futurist programmes, where clothes were part of the aspiration to a total renovation of life. As Elizabeth Wilson observes, fashion is "an aesthetic medium for the expression of * Independent Scholar (Italy);
doi:10.6092/issn.2611-0563/11156 fatcat:zmmrkttstvfpxcghf4tsvcjifq