Is Fashion Important to Society?

[This post is part of our “Curriculum of Questions” series]

This week we are heading to the Victoria and Albert Museum to take a look at the world of fashion!  When I asked the kids if they thought fashion was important to society, the answers ranged from one extreme to the other.

high angle view of shoes

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Yes, of course!  It’s important because it allows you to express who you are” (12 year-old girl).

What?!  No way.  Fashion is a waste.  We do not need fashion in this world” (9 year old boy, and maybe a 38 year old girl, if I’m honest).

So they will be digging a bit to see if they can support their gut reactions (me included) with some actual evidence.  One of the first questions I ask when posing a new question is, “What questions will we need to ask in order to answer our question?”  (Not as confusing as it just sounded).

Here is a list of some secondary questions that the kids will have the option to dig into in order to give them more insight as to whether or not fashion is important to society:

What is fashion?

Why does fashion exist?

What role has fashion played in history?

What kind of financial impact does fashion have on society (i.e. what is fashion “worth” in revenue, jobs, etc.)?

What does a person’s attire say about a person?

What message do you hope to convey in what you wear?

Is there a connection between identity and fashion?

Is there such a thing as “good” or “bad” fashion?

What is the connection between brand and fashion?

Is fashion a world-wide phenomenon?

Do different cultures have different fashion sense?  Why/why not?

What is the relationship between fashion and sexuality?

What are the potential pitfalls of the fashion industry?

Does fashion influence mood/emotions?

What impact has the Internet had on fashion?


So, as you can see, our simple question can get deep, fast!

At first glance, it seems like perhaps this would be a question that would only strike a chord with fashion-minded individual.  But anyone who is interested in economics, social justice, marketing, manufacturing, world cultures, psychology, and more will want to weigh in on this topic as well.  The beauty of having a Curriculum of Questions is that we get to learn and think deeply right alongside our kids!  

Here’s our ongoing discussion using Padlet as a collaborative platform.

What’s your gut reaction?  Is fashion important to society?  Now go do some digging!

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