Informations and abstract
Keywords: fashion designer, collection process, unity of direction, cultural intermediaire, diffuse creativity
Thinking about fashion designers as cultural intermediaries seems to be useful to find new perspectives on this profession. In particular I sketches three areas in which designers works and mediates among actors and objects: inspiration, collection process and production of value. In inspiration, fashion designer works as a translator of cultural forms into garments, using a large variety of sources and assembling existing artifacts and representations into new products, according to the register of the post-production. During the collection process fashion designer mediates among a high number of different actors competing, sometimes strongly, for the definition of what the new collection will be and trying to impose their criteria and preferences. In this case, the designer provides not much the originality of creations but the unity of direction of the process. Producing the symbolic value of fashion product means that fashion designer mediates between her proposals and consumer's attitude in a kind of "reversed" marketing and creating a genuine belief in the goods. In the last two areas, strong competitors are emerging: apparel merchandisers and celebrities. If fashion design as a profession took about hundred years to consolidate, in a changing context the man-in-the-middle's historical pivotal position is endangered.