What is fashion theory? Do we need it? Can we avoid it?From its beginnings in the fifteenth century, intensified interest in fashion and the study of fashion over the last thirty years has led to a vast and varied literature on the subject. There is now barely a discipline in the humanities or social sciences that does not take a position on what fashion is, what it does and how it works.This collection of essays surveys and contextualises the ways in which a wide range of disciplines (including sociology, cultural studies, anthropology, fashion history, gender studies and cultural history) have used different theoretical approaches to explain, and sometimes to explain away, the astonishing variety, complexity and beauty of fashion. Themes covered include individual, social and gender identity, clothes and the body, the erotic, consumption and communication.Each extract is introduced, placed in its historical and theoretical context and its significance for fashion theory is explained.By collecting together some of the most influential and important writers on fashion and exposing the ideas and theories behind what they say, this unique collection of extracts and essays brings to light the presuppositions involved in the things we think and say about fashion.Fashion Theory: A Reader is a timeless and invaluable resource for undergraduate students across a range of disciplines including sociology, cultural studies and fashion.Barnard, Malcolm is the author of 'Fashion Theory A Reader', published 2007 under ISBN 9780415413404 and ISBN 0415413400.