Argumentation in Fashion Communication
Fashion is about creating and telling stories using multimodal narratives that use verbal components but also visual, tactile and other components. Created within a network of communicative relationships between designers, fashion brands and potential users of fashion, these narratives include argumentation: ideally, in fact, they need to be attractive and persuasive but also based on well-founded reasons that permit establishment of trust, credibility, and identification on the long run. In this way, fashion proposes an experience that is aesthetic, artistic and cultural, based on powerful symbolic elements, which are constantly re-discussed and re-justified. In fact, the semiotic system of fashion is characterized by innovation, as based on continuous symbolic change: every time a new collection is created, there will be a reframing of the past, in a continuous critical dialogue with the cultural background. The course “Argumentation in fashion communication” explores two main areas: (a) how fashion works from a viewpoint of cultural semiotics and how symbolic resources are used in a culturally innovative and creative way by designers, fashion brands and fashion (creative) consumers; (b) how multimodal argumentation in (digital) fashion is created and what main arguments are used to address different segments of the audience (including commercial audience and broader society), with a specific accent on fashion controversy (e.g. around fashion sustainaibility). This course largely adopts a bottom-up laboratory approach and values discussion in the classroom. We will start discuss examples and introduce theoretical concepts for the empirical analysis of these examples. Interpretive models from argumentation will be introduced to enable a profound understanding of communicative phenomena in the field of fashion and digital fashion in particular.