Claire Smart – MA History and Culture of Fashion
The Rise in Fashion Consumerism in the Context of the Changing Social and Cultural Fabric of Society in the Period 1947- 1957
This dissertation examines the retail industry within the decade between 1947-57. It will discuss the rise in the consumer culture seen after the war and discuss the conditions in which this was possible. It will first examine the changes in the social and cultural fabric of society that was greatly influenced by both the decades at the beginning of the twentieth century and the effects of the war. This will inform how it was possible for a post-war society to accept the rise in consumption. The second chapter details the history of the industry, which led to the formation of the mass-market and the development of the industry. This will explain how it was possible for the rise in consumption to occur within this industry and how the industry itself aided in its formation and success. The third chapter consists of a case study of the John Lewis flagship store in Oxford Street within this decade, as an example of a site of consumption. This case study looks at how the retailer introduced new methods in order to cope with the rise in consumption and the manner in which the retailer used these new methods to encourage this increase in consumption. The conclusion of this dissertation conveys how this study has led to a greater understanding of the complexities of post-war period, and how the rise in consumerism seen here was influenced and affected by all sectors of the industry. The rise of consumption was not smooth or easy and, although many processes were put in place to support it, these did not always benefit the industry or the consumer.