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Fashion Industry, Theoretical Controversies

For over half a century, scholars have identified the notion of “industry” as a producer of ideologies and material goods for audiences. In an early seminal work on the topic, “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception,” Frankfurt School theorists Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer propose that a “culture industry” produces and reproduces mass culture, effectively homogenizing cultural products and audience identities. Along the lines of these theorists, the fashion industry can be considered a contemporary culture industry. The fashion industry can be viewed as comprised of cosmetic/beauty, fashion, and other companies/industries that propagate Western cultural values of female beauty.

The fashion industry promotes narrow messages of female beauty, thereby functioning to socialize people and mediate their reality; the fashion industry's function thus carries economic, political, ...

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