Being Roman Now: The Time of Fashion: A Commentary on Walter Benjamin’s ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’ XIV

Walter Benjamin’s writings on fashion need to be read as engagements with the problem of historical time and a related politics of time. The aim of this article is to develop this position. Its point of orientation is Thesis XIV from the Theses on the Philosophy of History. What is argued is that close attention to the temporality of change and novelty within fashion may allow an insight into a conception of interruption and the ‘new’, however, it cannot yield a politics. Moreover, the link between fashion and utopianism allows for the development of a critique of the utopian dimension of Benjamin’s thought. The basis of that critique is the inherent politics of time in his own writings.