I realised I launched this blog without first explaining what Fashion Psychology even is. So let me provide you with some brief information to help you contextualise my current and future posts.
What even is Fashion Psychology?
Currently there is not a single agreed upon definition of Fashion Psychology, the governing body that UK psychologists would typically turn to for an understanding of different areas of psychology is the British Psychological Society. However, the BPS does not currently have a definition of fashion psychology nor does it list the emerging field as a career option for budding psychologists. But, not to worry, there are many areas of psychology that aren’t officially listed by the BPS 1) because it tends to only list fields in which you can become a chartered psychologist; meaning a psychologist who can legally practice under said title, and 2) because each core field has a plethora of sub disciplines or investigative areas.
So, in order to provide you with a definition, or at least rough explantion, I turned to the interweb. When you Google, “What is fashion psychology?” you are provided with the following definition:
“Fashion Psychology is the integration and utilization of the science of psychology and the industry of fashion to create manageable therapeutic tools that ultimately assist in the development of desired results in both clients’ perceptions of self, their behaviors, and moods as well as targeted objectives within the business model.“
Another explanation which I quite like was offered by Dr Aurora Paillard, course leader of the BSc Psychology of Fashion at the University of Arts London in an interview. Note, the University of Arts is the only establishment in the world to offer degree level courses in Fashion and Psychology, and was the first to do so.
When asked, Aurora describes the role of Fashion Psychologists as:
“Fashion Psychologists study the impact of fashion (clothing, cosmetics, accessories) on wellbeing but also on performance, they also assess consumer behaviour (brand loyalty, consumer decision making, stores atmospherics, etc.), and they work towards ‘Inclusive Fashion’ (a fashion designed for and about everyone).”
I like this definition because of how encompassing it is, and the inclusion of wellbeing, which for me is the crux and most important element of my work around Fashion Psychology, or rather Style Psychology as I prefer to call it.
For those interested in getting in to Fashion Psychology and new to the field of Psychology it is important to draw attention to the convoluted nature of Psychology.
After studying Fashion Psychology you may carry out phenomenal work and push the field forward in the way we need, but the title of chartered Psychologist is typically reserved for those meeting the BPSs criteria for chartered status. Typically, Psychologists are Doctors, meaning they have completed either a Phd or a professional Doctorate. Not all psychology professions require PhDs, like Forensic psychology, but even this requires a degree, a masters and completion of two years post qualification supervised practice.
Having a thousand letters after your name is not the be-all-and-end-all, but it is worth those of us within and linked to the field of Fashion Psychology considering the implications of the title and associated connotations. Like the title, medical Dr, it carries weight; It encourages others to trust in our words, opinions and advice. With such a title comes great responsibility, but not quite as much as Spiderman…
Perhaps, and hopefully as the profile of Fashion Psychology continues to increase, we will see more courses created, more chartered Psychologists showing an interest, more research in the area and perhaps one day Fashion Psychology will be listed by the BPS as a career option, amongst the greats.