Term 1: Kay’s Catalogue, Modernism and Fashion persuasion by Dene October and Greta Hauer

This lecture was a conversation on the aspects and influence of modernism on graphic design principals and fashion promotion. In selling to the all-important twentieth-century consumer, design strategies utilised rational and emotional approaches, activating a modern consciousness of looking (and awareness of being looked at). Since these promotions also circulated alongside wider cultural discourses, they can be seen as both reflecting as well as constructing ideals about class, style and gender.

Key words:

Consumerism, corporate branding, modernism, hierarchy, gender stereotypes, fashion persuasion

Essay questions:

Gender “is not a ‘given’, it … is created and manipulated through film, magazines, advertising and, of course, clothing.” (Christopher Breward, The Culture of Fashion). Discuss the construction of gender relating your analysis to images from Kay’s Catalogue over the last 100 years.

2. The project of consumer culture has required the re-education of people into new ways of relating to their bodies and identities. Discuss by referring to adverts / catalogue images from the first half of the twentieth century.

3.  Debates about graphic design and Modernism extolled the value of balancing illustration, copy and typography to create a favourable impression on the reader. Using research into graphic design debates, and images from Kay’s, discuss the impact of designed pages on the modern reader.

Reference list:

October, D.,  Hauer, G. (2015) Kay’s Catalogue, Modernism and Fashion persuasion. [Lecture to BA GMD Year 1] London College of Communication 23/11/15


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