To What Extent Are Modern and Post-Modern Consumers Similar or Different?


The consumption of fashion to a certain extent has always been present in the society because clothes perform the basic function of covering up the human body. However, over the centuries the process evolved and became more complex, thus transforming into the idea of consumerism. The following phenomenon is defined as a social and economic order and ideology that encourages the acquisition of goods and services in ever-increasing amounts. The two basic points of references for the research are modernism and post-modernism because these time frames are best to illustrate the process of changes in consumer behavior as well as the remained similarities. Therefore, the research will explore the effects of the industrialization, second-hand stores, trickle-down and bubble-up effects, the democratization of fashion, the power of labels, semiotics, neo-tribalism, psychological classifications and consumer loyalty to answer the question, “To what extent are modern and post-modern consumers similar or different?”

Modernity vs. Postmodernity

A German sociologist and philosopher Jürgen Habermas states, “The project of modernity formulated in the 18th century by the philosophers of the enlightenment consisted in their efforts to develop objective science, universal morality and law, and autonomous art, according to their inner logic.” As a result, modernity can be viewed as an approach and a lens through which people viewed the world. It is obvious that the process of changing happens gradually, however, the beginning of post-modernism is considered to be in 1979. A French philosopher Jean-François Lyotard was the first one to give this name because he noted a change of approach in the worlds of science, art, and literature. In terms of fashion, the difference is hold in the rapid consumption and production rhythm that is currently present, illustrated by the fast fashion stores, semi-annual sales, outlets, etc. Moreover, in the postmodernist period, there is a significant shift from a rational to a symbolic system. (Venkatesh 1992: online) Lastly, a great individualism and fragmentation also enter the concept of postmodernism, which are concepts that did not exist before. (Raaij and Schoonderbeek, 1993, p. 479-484)

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Dandyism in Modernity

“To define is to limit.” 

-Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray


It is a rainy English afternoon. An extravagant young lord is gracefully walking thorough the stone-paved street. He catches the eyes of the passers right away with his screaming simplicity and independence from the settled norms. The fresh smell and confident appear set up a rather intriguing milieu. Ladies and gentlemen, you have just encountered lord Brummel or it should better be said, the first dandy in history. A man who has never been a subject to fashion does not suspect what an influence he will attain in the centuries to come. Thus, in the beginning of the eighteen hundreds fashion has not yet gained a multifaceted identity and an international equilibrium seen today, where innovations are taken bravely and admiringly. Nevertheless, one aspect of it has been kept constant– the joy of astonishing others. Continue reading “Dandyism in Modernity”