Identity and style: Fashionable, collective, and personal


  • Laura T. Di Summa William Paterson University



fashion, style, identity, narrative, aesthetics


In this paper, I consider the relationship between fashion styles, with a focus on clothing and accessories, and identity. Specifically, I investigate the role played by fashion in three distinct, but often intertwined instances. First, I consider the relation between the choice of a given style and the establishment of collective identity. I then move to the analysis and comparison between what is implied by the possession of a “fashionable style” and by what is instead regarded as “personal style”. The goal is to show both how fashionable styles emerge and gain popularity and how personal styles affect the notion of personal identity. Importantly, I argue for the active role of fashion: a personal style does not simply underline character traits, it is constitutive of identity and can effectively shape who we are.

Author Biography

Laura T. Di Summa, William Paterson University

Laura T. Di Summa is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at William Paterson University, New Jersey, USA. Her book publications include The Palgrave Handbook for the Philosophy of Film and Motion Pictures (New York: Palgrave Macmillan) co-edited with Noël Carroll and Shawn Loht. She is currently working on a volume entitled: A Philosophy of Fashion through Film: On the Body, Style, and Identity (London: Bloomsbury). She has published several articles in the philosophy of motion pictures, narrative studies, and on everyday aesthetic practices and the self.