Modelling Practice: The Inertia of Body Ideals in the Fashion System


  • Paolo Volonté Dipartimento di Design, Politecnico di Milano



Practice, Fashion, Fashion modelling, Thin ideal, Inertia, Cultural intermediaries


This article addresses practice-based theories with the goal to show that they can contribute substantially to the understanding of fashion modelling and, consequently, of the social phenomenon of fashion in general. Fashion modelling is a key component of the fashion system, and fashion models contribute to the innovation of the clothing landscape in contemporary Western societies much more than assumed by common sense. Yet, some features of fashion modelling, such as the incorporation of the thin ideal and the affected gait of the models’ walking on the catwalk, are puzzling if understood in the light of traditional sociological categories. If studied with the conceptual tools displayed by the practice approach, they appear as striking manifestations of the inertia that bodies, materials, routines, skills and meanings of the practice of fashion impose on its participants.


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How to Cite

Volonté, P. (2019). Modelling Practice: The Inertia of Body Ideals in the Fashion System. Sociologica, 13(3), 11–26.