Schulich lecture looks at the world of fashion and profit

Just what is driving the unprecedented fascination with the world of fashion is the topic of the next seminar in the New Research in Consumer Culture Series on Friday, Nov. 30 from 10:30am to noon hosted by the Schulich School of Business.

Sociology Professor Elizabeth Wissinger (right) of Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York, will present the lecture titled "Models, Images, and Affect: A Discussion of Fashion Modelling as a Form of Affective Production".

Wissinger will look at the popularity of television shows such as Project Runway and America’s Next Top Model along with the media frenzy of recent fashion weeks in New York, Paris, Milan and London. She considers the success of those shows an indication of the unprecedented cultural and financial draw the fashion and modelling industries are receiving.

All this attention on the modeling and fashion industries could have something to do with the growth of what some scholars are calling affective production, work that feeds bodily and interpersonal energies into media networks that calibrate them for profit.

"Using interview and archival data, I explore how modelling work, emerging as it did from the post-industrial shift toward service work and consumerism, in which non-material goods such as services, ideas and images have become products of capitalist development and circulation, exemplifies tendencies that have been instrumental in the development of this type of labour as an economic force," Wissinger said.

"With reference to interview data, I examine how models work within various media to circulate and augment affects, in the form of attention, arousal, or interest, an activity that has become very valuable in contemporary economies."

Wissinger has written numerous papers and articles on fashion modelling and the cultural, social and economic aspects of the industry.

The lecture will take place in Room W357 in the Seymour Schulich Building.

For more information about this free seminar series, e-mail Detlev Zwick at