Roland Barthes: Système de la mode [The Fashion System]

(1142 words)
  • Graham Allen (University College Cork)

Barthes researched and wrote the bulk of Système de la mode between the years 1957 and 1963. The study begins with a foreword, written at the time of publication in 1967, which already shows Barthes moving away from this kind of semiology towards a more post-structuralist understanding of the sign. The study is offered to Barthes's readers, therefore, as a moment in the “history of semiology” (The Fashion System, trans. Matthew Ward and Richard Howard, New York: Hill and Wang, 1983: ix). Barthes goes on to explain why his original intention for the study, a semiological analysis of actual clothing, was replaced by a study of written clothing, more precisely the fashion pages of a few women's magazines (…

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Allen, Graham. "Système de la mode". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 September 2002
[, accessed 29 November 2015.]