Episode 7: Fashion and Social Life

Deconstructing Fashion Podcast
Episode 7

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Review: Association of Dress Historians  Conference.
‘Interwoven:
dress which crosses borders and challenges boundaries’

We discuss our stand-out papers presented at the Association of Dress Historians conference in October. Emma McClendon’s (FIT Museum) paper Branded Bodies discussed the power dynamics of uniforms from the workplace to the catwalk, and from the seductive allure of military tailoring to the corporate logos of DHL and McDonald’s. Katy Canales’ (V&A Museum of Childhood) talk on gender and children’s clothing emphasised how early divisive gender roles and differences are encouraged and demonstrated through children’s clothing design and marketing.

The Historical and international aspects of the fashion and textile trades were also stressed at the conference. From south-east Asia to west Africa via the Dutch empire, as well as the exchange between Japan and Europe, in the 19th and 20th centuries, fashion and dress was a key aspect of international exchange. Kenisha Kelley’s (Vassar College) paper on slave carnivals in 19th Century Jamaica also stood out, tracing the West African routes of ceremonial and performance costume.

Discussion: feathers and fur, fashion and sustainability

Lindsay discusses her recent Masters thesis about the anti-fur and anti-plumange movements, and the links between the fashion industry and environmental and animal welfare protest. Who does sustainability matter to today? Is it an important ethical issue, or just a marketing buzzword? We question how to truly live sustainably and ethically in a capitalist society.

Fashion and emotion

With all this focus on history, context, and provenance, it’s important not to lose sight of how garments make us feel. Lucia Ruggerone’s 2017 article ‘The Feeling of Being Dressed: Affect Studies and the Clothed Body (from Fashion Theory 21:5) discusses how to measure our personal emotional and physical responses when wearing garments.

Research: Representations of femininity onscreen

Siân tells us more about her PhD research on the contemporary women’s film, and the roles of different creatives within the film industry. Catch up on Siân’s PhD journey on her blog!

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Credits
Podcast music: Pheori
Editing: Siân