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Posted on September 20th, 2012, by

The development of fashion and design as well as art at large in the 20th century was characterized by dramatic changes. In this respect, it should be said that changes affected the style and trends in design and art consistently leading to the emergence of new movements and interpretations of design, fashion and art. In this respect, it is possible to refer to the article by P. Sparke, “Postmodernism and Design”¯[1] and the article by M. Barnard, “Fashion, Clothing and Meaning”¯[2].

On analyzing the article by P. Sparke, it should be said that the author provides a detailed overview of the evolution of the 20th century design, paying a particular attention to the shift from modernism to postmodernism. The author underlines that the first signs of such a shift had appeared during the inter-war epoch[3], when the new trends had started to emerge in the design. Speaking about the major differences between modernist and postmodernist design, the author points out that the return to ornament in postmodernism, instead of the total rejection of ornaments in modernist design. In the course of the 20th century, the postmodernist trends grew stronger and became dominant by the late 20th century[4].Ā  One of the remarkable features of such a change was the return to aesthetics, which had been almost lost during the epoch of the domination of modernist design.

As for M. Barnard, the author is more concerned with the understanding of modern fashion and clothing. The author attempts to trace the evolution of views of different specialists on the meaning of fashion and clothing. In this respect, he singles out possible meanings of fashion and clothing. In fact, the author argues that the meaning of fashion and clothing can be interpreted from the external point of view, from the view of the audience who observes clothing[5]. At the same time, he argues that fashion and clothing can have internal meaning, which is the interpretation of fashion and clothing from the point of view of an individual who actually wears the clothes[6]. However, such a view on meaning is apparently limited and the author apparently understood that it is necessary to extend the concept of meaning for clothing and fashion. This is why he introduces concepts of meaning developed by such specialists as Saussure, who argued that there is a denotative meaning, i.e. the direct, proper meaning, and connotative meaning, which is implicit and conveys message which can be ciphered in a symbolic form.

In such a way, both articles reveal the evolution of views on design and fashion in the course of the 20th century. Obviously, the emergence of postmodernism had changed consistently design, while fashion had developed more profound concepts of meaning. At the same time, it is not only design that change but it is also interpretation of design and fashion that evolved in the course of time. As a result, by the end of the 20th century, the postmodernism became the dominant trend, while the concept of meaning has been enlarged consistently.



[1] Sparke, P. 2004. Postmodernism and Design. In An Introduction to Design and Culture (1900 to Present). London: Routledge, 181-197.

[2] Barnard, M. 2006. Fashion, Clothing and Meaining. In Fashion as Communication. London: Routledge, 69-95.

[3] Sparke, P. 2004. Postmodernism and Design. In An Introduction to Design and Culture (1900 to Present). London: Routledge, 181

[4] Sparke, P. 2004. Postmodernism and Design. In An Introduction to Design and Culture (1900 to Present). London: Routledge, 185

[5] Barnard, M. 2006. Fashion, Clothing and Meaining. In Fashion as Communication. London: Routledge, 70.

[6] Barnard, M. 2006. Fashion, Clothing and Meaining. In Fashion as Communication. London: Routledge, 76.

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