Thursday, August 19, 2010

FASHION-A Public Good?

On a very humid day, sitting in my intermediate level summer school microeconomics lecture (gag!) I came across a small thought. Quite odd. I should have been concentrating on my mini graphs prepared for revision.

My prof went on, and on. And described a public good. Being an economics student I had encountered the term before but still listened somewhat eagerly.

A public good is one which is both "non-excludable"--once produced/sold to one person all can have access to it, sort of like a radio station and "non-rival"--more than one person can have the same good; me having it doesn't mean you can't have it.

So Why on earth am I giving an economics lecture?! Well I'm not. I just wanted to state that in my opinion, FASHION is a public good. Sounds wierd I know-just imagine free loading off your friend if she recently purchased a classic Chanel and claiming it to be non-excludable-it'll make you laugh for sure. But I don't mean that either. That purse would be an item of fashion, a physical creation which has to be paid for by each person to be owned(well unless it's a gift, but you get the point.), but by no means is it a public good.

However, fashion in my opinion is not just an item-it's an art form. A designer expresses his or her vision, and the medium through which it is executed are clothes, purses and such. The medium may not be a public good, but fashion itself, I insist is a public good.

Once a designer reveals a collection for a season it is available to all interested. The designer has worked very hard at putting inspirations on the ramp but I can indulge in the show and enhance my knowledge for free.

In a broader sepctrum, think about it.

1920's. When we think about it most people who hold an interest in fashion imagine highwaisted skirts, romantic tops paired with hats and agentic jackets-a very liberation inspired era.

When we think 1980's we think big hair, drama, bold.

1970's we think disco, druggies, bell-bottoms.

These are trends. But trends emerge from fashion, trends are the product of indulgence in the public good termed fashion. I am a huge lover of high fashion, and I believe that it has had an enormous influence in shaping eras.

Yes, owning a pair of Lady Dior may not be "non-rival" or "non-excludable" but the knowledge of fashion as art, as inspiration, as shaping an era is, again I insist a public good.

A public good that totally makes me swoosh. <3


1 comment:

  1. I too like this public good of yours! and the blog as well :)