Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Creative Arts


School of Music

Committee Chair

Travis Stimeling

Committee Co-Chair

Matthew Heap

Committee Member

Katie Baker Jones

Committee Member

Michael Vercelli


This thesis builds on recent scholarship explaining the relationships between music, advertising, and society through a series of focused case studies in the clothing industry. Globally ubiquitous and reaching all socioeconomic strata, the fashion industry offers a useful focus because, in addition products, it also sells identity. Fashion is a means for individuals to create and express identity by associating themselves with certain brands and styles that help express social, political, economic, and ethical standings as well as gender, sexuality, race, and religion. This thesis considers the ways that sound and music influence the aesthetic and mood of recent fashion industry commercials. Focusing mainly on North American commercials and video advertisements (including those airing on television and across internet streaming services), it explores the various methods and approaches to contemporary commercial music that the fashion industry uses to craft careful messages about environmental sustainability, social power dynamics, and contemporary politics, explaining the ways that these issues are linked. Eschewing an Adornian critique of the culture industry and instead considering all music and sound to be important, regardless of how utilitarian or commodified it may appear to be, this thesis suggests that music plays a key role in linking social issues to music in fashion industry commercials.

Included in

Musicology Commons