Consistent Inconsistency in Fashion Magazines: The Socialization of Fashionability in Hong Kong


  • Tommy Tse Department of Sociology, The University of Hong Kong



Creative labor, fashion, fashion magazines, Media and Cultural Studies, Hong Kong


Fashion plays a significant role in the global creative industries and in urban social space, and has recently evolved from a peripheral topic to a valued interdisciplinary subject coined as “fashion-ology,” investigating how fashion as an intangible and changeable meaning is systematically produced by and amongst different cultural intermediaries, and how it is cyclically diffused in society. As an exercise in understanding the conflictual notions of fashion in operation under the rubric of production inside a local fashion media organization, this study emphasizes how text and image in fashion representation can be multifarious and are intertwined with the commercial and capitalist logic of the fashion industry. This research supplements related ethnographic studies and discerns how industry practitioners actually negotiate fashion meanings and are constantly torn between encoding desirable (luxury) fashionability, while at the same time anticipating and serving different advertisers’ interests.

Fieldwork data portray partly conflicting, partly consistent notions of fashion among different workers in the fashion media. The focus was: What shapes the collective interpretation and production of fashionability within a media organizational setting? The responses demonstrate the effect of advertising on fashion editorial pages and its major role in shaping fashionability, in addition to the contradictory rules guiding how media people strive to present a preferred face of luxury fashion in the magazine and why such an attempt was unsuccessful in this case.






Part 3: Articles