Mass-Individualism: Converse All Stars and the Paradox of Sartorial Sameness

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    Through a study of Converse All Stars sneakers, this article explores an apparent paradox in the notion of ‘individuality’ in current fashion consumption where the potential freedom of choice among consumers in Denmark appears to have led to a sartorial sameness rather than radical pluralism. The concept of mass-individualism is used as a vehicle for understanding this paradox that is heightened both by the social value attributed to individuality in much of contemporary Western society and the image of All Stars as a symbol of individuality and self-expression. The concept is seen as part of an ambiguous strategy of status representation operating on conditions of fashion democracy. The study is interview-based and focuses on consumers aged seven to 71 in the greater Copenhagen area in which All Stars may be considered a transplanted, American cultural icon. Themes of undercoding and visual assemblage run through the exploration of mass-individualism in contemporary fashion.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalClothing Cultures
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)127-142
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


    • individualism
    • mass fashion
    • fashion democracy
    • consumer behaviour
    • status representation
    • age
    • gender

    Artistic research

    • No

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