Taste and consumption are strongly connected. Taste as a preference of certain types of commodity directly affects the choices we make and these choices in turn have an impact on markets. The causal link between taste and consumption is also influenced by a number of other factors including multi-media advertising, class, wealth and the availability of goods, so on and so forth. However, the theories of taste which build on the ideas of competitiveness, social status and emulation, such as those advocated by Bourdieu and Veblen are not the only criteria involved in fashion. Standards of taste and status are likely to be important to some, but many people do aspire to some form of individuality. We humans are not all the same. In addition, fashion tastes do not necessarily begin with the upper classes as Bourdieu and Veblen suggested. The Bohemians for example bulwarked against the status quo and devised their own form of ‘dandyism’. Hippies and beatniks were far from representative of the upper classes. There has never been a more exciting time to enjoy fashion.
Fashion is an art form. People who enjoy fashion treat their body as if it were a canvass or a Temple. There is nothing wrong with this providing it is carried out freely and without obligations to external forces and providing it does not infringe peoples’ rights.
Imagine a world without trends and fashion it would be a pretty dull place. There would be little to inspire us towards innovation or change.
Historically, fashion and taste for Immanuel Kant were merely a mark of social distinction. Kant did not include fashion in his aesthetics. Obviously the era of mass consumption has made taste and fashion more diverse and more interesting. The world has become more colourful and inspiring place through the changing fashions.
[Illustration: Mail Art Brownie Pie by Ungala].