Fashion: Exploring Critical Issues

Edited by Barbara Brownie, Laura Petican and Johannes Reponen
ISBN: 978-1-84888-148-8
File type: eBook: pdf

This ebook is an inter-disciplinary collection of topics representing conventional and unconventional approaches to fashion studies, exposing a wide variety of methodological perspectives from fields including anthropology, history, art history, sociology, and material culture. The chapters assess the evolving meaning of fashion, as explored through politics, music, art, media and consumer culture, and comment on its role in socio-political matters of gender, sexuality, class, race, age and identity. Its contributors examine the practice, tools and present methodologies for studying fashion and consider future directions and trends.


Fashion is a statement, a stylised form of expression, which displays and begins to define a person, a place, a class, a time, a religion, a culture, subcultures, and even a nation. It speaks through form and varying degrees of function to identify both its creators and its wearers in a localised time, place and demographic. Its language is at once specific and universal, implicating its producers and consumers in a global exchange of evolving modes of identity and communication. Its materiality reflects innovation in craft and technology while appealing to an essential human response to texture and sense. Its reach extends from the street to the annals of academia and it persists as a fundamental cornerstone of everyday life and cultural expression. This collection of inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary chapters explores the historical, social, economic, political, psychological and artistic phenomenon of fashion, a powerful component of contemporary culture. Fashion lies at the very heart of persons, their sense of identity and the communities in which they live. Individuals emerge as icons of beauty and style; cities are identified as centres of fashion; the business of fashion is a billion dollar global industry, employing millions of people. This collection assesses the history and meanings of fashion; evaluates its expressions in politics, business, law, pop culture, the arts, consumer culture, and social media; determines its effect on gender, sexuality, class, race, age, nation and other sources of identity; and explores future directions and trends in the study and creation of fashion. Its contributors offer a broad range of disciplinary perspectives on fashion practice and methodology, extending from anthropology and sociology to history, art history and studies in material culture.

Table of Contents

Fashion: Exploring Critical Issues
Barbara Brownie, Laura Petican and Johannes Reponen

Part 1: Modelling Fashion

Pandora in the Box: Travelling around the World in the Name of Fashion
Lydia Maria Taylor

The Subliminal Code of Fashion Cracked: The Self-Possessed Pre-Raphaelite ‘Stunner’
Yildiz Tuncer Kilic

Representing Twiggy in 1967: Twiggy as a New Icon
Betsy Thomas

Part 2: Staging Fashion

Shared Garments and Forced Choreography
Barbara Brownie and Caroline Stevenson

Constructing the Visual Self: Dressing for Occasions
Renata Strashnaya

Aristophanes/Hadjidakis’ The Birds (Ornithes): Two Costume Case Studies
Sofia Pantouvaki

Part 3: Identifying Fashion

Body Art: Yoruba Women’s Tattoo Fashion and Memories
Evelyn Omotunde Adepeko

Where Have All the Flowers Gone? Unisex Hair Salon Form and Function
Donna Louise Bevan

Han-Centric Dress: Fashion Subculture or a National Identity for China?
Linda T. Lee

Interwoven: Identity and Dress amongst Sedentary and Nomadic Peoples of the Arabian Peninsula
Thomas Roche and Erin Roche

Metamodernism in Fashion and Style Practice: Authorship and the Consumer
Julianne Pederson

Part 4: Locating Fashion

Montreal, City of Fashion: Comparison of the Perceptions, the Visions and the Expectations of the Fashion Designers with Those of the Local Consumers
Michèle Beaudoin and Manon Arcand

Modes of the Metropolis: The City as Photography’s Fashion Icon
Jess Berry

In Fashion: Venues for Sybaritic Parades in Italy and Beyond
Annette Condello

The Colombia’s Sub-Culture of Mexico
Amanda Watkins

Emplaced/Displaced Dress: Diasporan Dress amongst South Asian Immigrants in West Virginia
Mario J. Roman and Charlotte Jirousek

À la Mode? Fashion Design Protection in Canada
B. Courtney Doagoo

Fashion Nation: Contemporary Italian Art and the Baroque-Centric Language of Fashion
Laura Petican

Part 5: Accessorising Fashion

Marlies Dekkers: Lingerie Epitomising Post-Feminist Identity
Daniëlle Bruggeman

Intimate Paradoxes of Victorian Lingerie: The Cases of George Sand and Amelia Bloomer
Dinu Gabriel Munteanu

All Tied Up: The Cravat and the Evolution of Men’s Fashion in Nineteenth-Century France
Leonard R. Koos

Enid Collins Handbags: Branding, Nostalgia and the Power of the Purse
Jacque Lynn Foltyn

Footwear: Transcending the Mind-Body Dualism in Fashion Theory
Alexandra Sherlock

Fashion as System or Action Net in ‘Fashion in All Things’: A Case in Colour Design of Mobile Phones
Yanqing Zhang and Oskar Juhlin

Part 6: Experiencing Fashion

Fitting in When You Are Different: Work-Based Dress and Asperger Syndrome
Linda Shearer

Sellers of Experience: The New Face of Fashion Retail
Marco Pedroni

The Evolution of the Retail Space: From Luxury Malls to Guerilla Stores: Tracing the Change of Fashion
Cecilia Winterhalter

Going beyond the Obvious: Engaging Fashion Design and Fashion Communication Students in Reflection and Self-Motivated Investigation
Claire Allen and Claire Evans

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About the Authors/Editors

Barbara Brownie, PhD, leads online postgraduate study at the School for the Creative Arts at the University of Hertfordshire, and Contextual Studies at the Cambridge School of Performing Arts. Her previous research outcomes relate to typography, graphic design and costume.

Laura Petican, PhD, earned her doctorate in Art History from Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany. She also holds an MA in Art History from the University of Western Ontario, London, Canada, where she is currently Postdoctoral Fellow, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Her research focuses on postwar and contemporary Italian art and the intersections of art and fashion.

Johannes Reponen is the editor in chief and publisher of Address - Contemporary Fashion Criticism that exists in print and online and is exploring fashion criticism as part of his PhD research in London College of Fashion. Johannes is also a senior lecturer in fashion communication and fashion design as well as a freelance fashion writer and consultant.


Fashion, fashion capitals, consumerism, moguls, fashion history, design, designer, costume, wear, wearability, performance, stage, art, body art, men's fashion

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