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Dress Code: The Naked Truth About Fashion

Mari Grinde Arntzen









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(Paperback | ISBN 9781780234397 | 240 pages)


Fashion makes us beautiful, or at least can make us feel beautiful. Its glamour attracts us, but its superficiality repels us. The term ‘fashionable’ can be at once a compliment and an insult.

How can we be so enthralled by the fashion world and at the same time appalled by the politics and practices of the garment industry? Dress Code: The Naked Truth about Fashion guides us through the major figures and brands of fashion today, showing how they developed such a powerful hold on our lives and continually propel us towards their ideas of beauty and style. Exploring affordable ‘fast fashion’ as well as the luxury market, trend forecasters, the media and the pressures faced by consumers, Mari Grinde Arntzen argues that the fashion industry is both a dictatorship and a democracy: it directs our shopping habits and our appearance and also enables unique, individual styles to flourish. This book looks at what happens when we get dressed: why fashion can make us feel powerful, beautiful and original at the same time that it forces us into conformity.

Dress Code strips off the layers of the industry, revealing fashion as a phenomenon, a business and an art. This is a lively and honest account of how the culture of dress dominates everyday life.


‘Arntzen writes passionately, clearly burdened by the urgency of the problem of how to square the important values in which fashion trades (beauty, belonging and self-expression etc) with the disastrous ethical and environmental costs it incurs.’

‘Brilliantly observed, Dress Code offers a timely expose of the influence of Fashion on everyday dress. A must read, even for those who think the way they dress has nothing to do with fashion.’
– Joanne Turney, Bath Spa University, and the author of The Culture of Knitting

‘As an introduction to fashion’s imperative, its glitz, glamour and fundamentally problematic position in our self-images, our private and public economics, and our shared environment, Dress Code is a pointed and sharp little helper.’
– Lasse Midttun, Morgenbladet