Seeking 2 New Interns

Worn Through is looking for 1 – 2 new interns to start as early as September or October and preferably work with us for the entire 2014-15 school year.

We are particularly looking for people who are comfortable with Twitter, academic journal articles, and those who want to help with finding and posting CFPs, interesting videos, doing research with contributors, and other tidbits our readers would enjoy.

We need someone who checks email daily and can be fairly quick in response time, although this is the type of position where you can do many of your tasks in chunks (such as pre-posting weeks’ worth of CFPs). Therefore we can work with your workplace or school schedule as long as you are a good email communicator. The ideal candidates are involved in the research/academic/history & culture side of apparel studies and want to continue in those fields. Although someone in marketing/trend research or similar may be great too.

Worn Through is a volunteer network of individuals who work as thriving museums, schools and doing independent research projects of all sorts, so this is a strong networking and professional experience opportunity for a student or new graduate. Many of our interns move onto nice jobs and/or become contributors here at Worn Through. Internships are unpaid, however we have worked it out with schools in the past to do any paperwork needed to get credit if that is an option for you. Also note we have 30-40,000 hits per month and almost 1000 Facebook fans so your efforts will be visible to the public and your hard work recognized. Also upon a strong job we are happy to write letters of recommendation.

Please email Dr. Monica Sklar with your CV and brief cover letter by September 15. Goal start date is October 1 or 15 latest. 

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Reader Survey 2014

chk

We would like to encourage our readers to participate in a brief survey about Worn Through. Quite a few years ago we did a similar survey and it helped shape the direction we took the blog.

Here is the link to do the survey

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions. It’s brief and would only take a couple of minutes. To keep things quick for you we did not include a lot of open commenting, however, we invite you to add any further comments to this post itself, and after the survey is over we’ll pick one person who commented at random and I will send you a copy of my book Punk Style (it does not have to be a glowing review of the blog to get the book!).

I’ll post this a few times and we’ll wrap it up the first week of September.

Again here is the survey link.

Comments

Reader Survey 2014

chk

We would like to encourage our readers to participate in a brief survey about Worn Through. Quite a few years ago we did a similar survey and it helped shape the direction we took the blog.

Here is the link to do the survey

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions. It’s brief and would only take a couple of minutes. To keep things quick for you we did not include a lot of open commenting, however, we invite you to add any further comments to this post itself, and after the survey is over we’ll pick one person who commented at random and I will send you a copy of my book Punk Style (it does not have to be a glowing review of the blog to get the book!).

I’ll post this a few times and we’ll wrap it up the first week of September.

Again here is the survey link.

Comments

You Should Be Reading: Fashion and Textiles

fashion books from stellafluorescent.blogspot.com

This week’s Reading column looks at the material aspects of fashion: the production and consumption of textiles themselves. Textiles are of course used not only for the production of clothing but also for decoration and and functionality in our home environments. These four recently published articles, though, focus mainly on how producers and consumers relate to textiles as they are used for fashion and accessories. From an exploration of the Dorze weavers in Ethiopia and textile production in 14th century Greenland to contemporary uses for recycled textiles and the meaning of materiality in clothing, these articles examine how we make and use textiles for our clothing. We hope you enjoy!

1.  Ekström, K. M., & Salomonson, N. (2014). Reuse and recycling of clothing and textiles–A network approach. Journal of Macromarketing, 34(3), 383-399. 

The accelerated pace of consumption in the Western world has led to an increase in clothing and textiles disposed of in the garbage rather than being reused or recycled. The purpose of this article is to increase understanding of how clothing and textile consumption can become more sustainable by demonstrating how members of a network view and deal with this problem. The study is based on meetings over one and a half years and on a survey. Different views on the problem as well as various solutions on how to increase reuse and recycling of clothing and textiles are presented, including means and challenges. A macromarketing perspective, involving different actors in society, is necessary in order to make consumption more sustainable and for finding long-term solutions. The authors argue that understanding symbolic consumption and the fashion system can contribute to the macromarketing study of societal development from a sustainable perspective. – Paraphrased Article Abstract

2. Klepp, I. G., & Bjerck, M. (2014). A methodological approach to the materiality of clothing: Wardrobe studiesInternational Journal of Social Research Methodology, 17(4), 373-386. 

The material is not just ‘a carrier’ of different types of symbols, but an active element in the practices. Bringing this to the fore requires new research methods. This article discusses a methodological approach, we call it a wardrobe study, which allows for the analysis of the way in which clothes relate to each other on the whole or within parts of the wardrobe. More specifically, we discuss how this method can contribute to increasing the materiality of clothes studies. The theoretical point of departure for this approach is a practice theory in which the material enters as an integral part. First, the article briefly discusses developments within the study of dress and fashion. Second, the methods combined and developed in wardrobe studies are discussed. The emphasis here is primarily not only on the weaknesses of the individual methods in practice-oriented dress studies, but also on how they jointly can contribute to the wardrobe study. — Full Article Abstract

3.  Mathiszig, L. (2014). Dialog: The Dorze weavers of EthiopiaTextile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture, 12(2), 180-187. 

Ethiopia is a country with an ancient history and a rich tradition of crafts, still to be discovered by mainstream tourism. While traveling here, the author was impressed by the beautiful artisan work and the truly original craftsmanship she found, untouched by mass markets and fashion trends. These ranged from the unique leather clad baskets of the north and beautiful silver jewelry of Tigray to the highly skilled basketwork of the women of Harar and the extraordinary skills of the South Omo Valley tribespeople. However, it is the weaving tradition, which particularly interested her. Whether in the capital, Addis Ababa, or walking in the remote Simien mountains, simple textiles made with the most basic equipment are worn and used everywhere; unlike in many other parts of Africa, traditional handwoven fabrics have remained a part of everyday life. It is the Dorze people who are renowned throughout Ethiopia for their weaving tradition and skills, and the author went back to find out more about them, their history and craft, traveling to their homeland in the southern highlands of Ethiopia. – Paraphrased Article Abstract 

4. Smith, M. H. (2014). Dress, cloth, and the farmer’s wife: Textiles from Ø 172 Tatsipataa, Greenland, with comparative data from IcelandJournal of the North Atlantic, 6(6), 64-81.

Midden excavations at Ø172 (Tatsipataa), on the eastern shore of the Igaliku fjord in southwestern Greenland, produced a significant textile collection consisting of 98 fragments. This collection is important as it stems from a well-contextualized and well-stratified sequence, allowing significant insights into the evolution and nature of cloth production in Greenland. Analysis of this collection showed that while the earliest fragments mirror Icelandic counterparts of comparable ages, the Ø172 collection changes considerably by the 14th century. From this point onward, Greenlandic women wove a weft-dominant cloth unique to Greenland. This cloth type has previously been noted in other, later, Greenlandic collections, but the Tatsipataa collection provides new evidence for the date of its first production. The sudden appearance of this distinctive weft-dominant Greenlandic homespun in the mid-14th century suggests that its production was a domestic adaptation to the initial climatic fluctuations of the Little Ice Age. Overall, the Tatsipataa collection suggests that Greenlandic textile production did not follow the evolutionary trajectory of Icelandic textiles, which became a form of currency from the early to the later Middle Ages. Instead, Greenlandic textiles appear to have been consistently produced for household consumption, without the intense standardization for trade observed in medieval Icelandic collections. – Full Article Abstract 

 

Image Credit: stellafluorescent.blogspot.com

Comments

Reader Survey 2014

chk

We would like to encourage our readers to participate in a brief survey about Worn Through. Quite a few years ago we did a similar survey and it helped shape the direction we took the blog.

Here is the link to do the survey

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions. It’s brief and would only take a couple of minutes. To keep things quick for you we did not include a lot of open commenting, however, we invite you to add any further comments to this post itself, and after the survey is over we’ll pick one person who commented at random and I will send you a copy of my book Punk Style (it does not have to be a glowing review of the blog to get the book!).

I’ll post this a few times and we’ll wrap it up the first week of September.

Again here is the survey link.

Comments

You Should Be Reading: Fashion and Costume

fashion books from stellafluorescent.blogspot.com

This week’s column focuses on the word “costume” as a way of dressing for a specific event or role as well as the ensemble itself. What are the differences between costume and dress? What decisions do we make when consciously choosing a costume for an event? How can costume work to conceal or reveal aspects of our identities? These are a few of the questions tackled by the authors of this week’s recently published articles. We hope you enjoy!

1. Cole, S. (2014). Costume or dress? The use of clothing in the gay pornography of Jim French’s Colt StudioFashion Theory, 18(2), 123-148.

It would seem that one of the intentions of the viewer of gay pornography would be to see the sexual engagement of the participants (and perhaps the “money shot”) with a focus upon the gymnastics and writhing of bodies that constitute the practice and representation of sexual activity within the film. However, before nudity or nakedness is presented the “characters” are dressed. Using the films and photography of Colt Studio and its founder Jim French from the period 1967‐81 as a focus this article explores the ways in which the “characters” are constructed through their clothing and costuming. It will address the ways in which these “icons” of masculinity that had developed in the pre-liberation physique magazines and stag films reflected the prototypes, archetypes, and stereotypes of post-liberation gay identity and dressed appearance in the fifteen years following the Stonewall riots and gay liberation. Colt Studio was famed for its particular presentation of hypermasculine images and a “stable” of masculine actors that included Clone superstar Al Parker. This article will offer an analysis of the use of particular items of clothing and the iconic styles of leatherman, motorcycle cop, and gay clone in Colt’s output of this period. – Full Article Abstract 

2. Copeland, R., & Hodges, N. (2014). Exploring masquerade dress at Trinidad Carnival: Bikinis, beads, and feathers and the emergence of the popular pretty masClothing & Textiles Research Journal, 32(3), 186-201.

Over the past several decades, there has been a considerable shift in the form of masquerade costumes worn during Trinidad Carnival. With the growing popularity of Carnival, there are increasing concerns about whether the modern style of costume will lead to the disappearance of Carnival s traditional meanings. This study employs an ethnographic methodology to understand dress at Carnival in the context of a 21st century global society. Data collection took place in Trinidad during the Carnival season and employed the methods of participant observation, depth interviews, and photographic documentation. Data were analyzed for emergent themes, and an interpretation of the significance of changes in masquerade costume for understanding Carnival was developed. Further research on the role of the dressed body at Trinidad Carnival is needed to fully examine the power of dress to define Carnival and shed more light on its importance. – Full Article Abstract 

3. Moden, M. (2014). Layers of the ethereal: A cultural investigation of beauty, girlhood, and ballet in Japanese Shōjo Manga culture. Fashion Theory, 18(3), 251-296.  

The popularity of classical ballet as a cultural form grows apace in a global context. Even in a country like Japan, which has not been previously identified as a “ballet capital,” it is receiving wide public attention. As a conventionally female-dominated arena, ballet and the ideas that circulate around it reveal the complex interrelationship between femininity, beauty, and selfhood. A prime example is the understudied genre of “ballet manga” in Japanese Shōjo Manga culture. With the first examples published in the mid-1950s, the history of ballet-themed manga reveals that, particularly in the years following the Second World War, ballet was the epitome of a dream world, connoting luxury, beauty, and glamour. “Ballet manga” used this particular art form, its costumes, and romanticized, almost fairy tale-like settings of Old World Europe as a mix of femininity, rigor, and elegance remade for Japanese audiences. Since the 1970s, some authors have attempted to combine this imagery of ballet with the idea of feminine independence and agency, thus negotiating the paradox of reality and fantasy in lived experience. Ballet, therefore, is not presented simply on the stage but in Japan is frequently interpreted/experienced through Shōjo Manga. This distinctive situation deserves closer scholarly investigation. – Full Article Abstract

 

Image Credit: stellafluorescent.blogspot.com

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Book Review: I Love Those Earrings

cover i love those earrings

A pop history of collectables so often blends nostalgia and personal experience with historic research. The author falls in love with Legos, buttons, LPs, etc in his or her youth, saves up for the first or the elusive, and the rest is publishable material. I Love Those Earrings, by Jane Merrill and Chris Filstrup, is a love story to the earring. The typical pop history approach reminded me a bit of On the Button by Nina Edwards, a book I recently reviewed for DressBut where that book is as scattered as an overturned notions jar, I Love Those Earrings is structured in its historical content and perfectly balanced in its evident admiration for the subject matter. With some dramatic exceptions, I wear the same pearl studs every day. But while reading this book I started to reconsider the costume earrings I’ve carried with me through many moves, reserving for special occasions. Maybe they would work for every day, playing queen or noblewoman on the streets of Stockholm?

From "I Love Those Earrings" by Jane Merrill and Chris Fulstrup, 2014.

From “I Love Those Earrings” by Jane Merrill and Chris Fulstrup, 2014.

As the authors, skillful and familiar storytellers, introduce us to Earring History, we learn that fashionable styles reflect available materials, advancing technology, sumptuary laws. We meet the women who made the jewels famous (and vice versa), find inferences in social mores and are reminded of the earrings worn in Pretty Woman–would you be able to conjure up the shape and size of the earrings, or just the snapping of the jewelry box on her fingers?

Paraphrasing ancient history, myths as painted by Titian, royal marriages, French revolution, and Josephine Baker’s influence, this book flows. It has a charming way of relating these stories of lust and war to their subject: “The initial object of [Henry VIII's] ambition was Eleanora of Austria (1498-1558) who would have brought to England an extravagant collection of earrings.” (27) I enjoyed the juxtaposition that unintentionally created: Henry weighing Eleanora’s earring collection against the Spanish alliance he would gain from marriage with Catherine of Aragon–whom he eventually chose as his first wife for that reason.

From "I Love Those Earrings" by Jane Merrill and Chris Fulstrup, 2014.

From “I Love Those Earrings” by Jane Merrill and Chris Fulstrup, 2014.

The book is organized chronologically, which is logical and easy to follow. As is common for pop histories spanning huge amounts of time, the “early” chapters cover centuries and even millennia, whereas the later might discuss a two or three decades. The chapters are pleasantly organized in different manners, keeping the reader engaged: the sixteenth-century examines European depictions of famous women, the seventeenth-century chapter starts with a tour of Dutch portraits in American museums. The “Belle Époque” leads with a personal history of grandmothers and ends with “In the Colors of Feminism.” When we arrive in the twenty-first century, individual earring artists, almost all American, are given the stage. The book concludes with personal histories from women who love earrings, a short visual glossary of earring fastenings, and a bibliography.

Sushi earrings by Stephanie Kilgast. Pictured in "I Love Those Earrings" by Jane Merrill and Christ Filstrup, 2014.

Sushi earrings by Stephanie Kilgast. Pictured in “I Love Those Earrings” by Jane Merrill and Christ Filstrup, 2014.

The photographs and reproduced paintings included are museum quality, generally well edited. One drawback–perhaps a function of the image budget?–is that many paintings referenced meaningfully in the text are not included visually. But I especially appreciated the authors’ study of contemporary portraits, which gave the work a more academic feel–more than “just” a collector’s delight. As Merrill writes in her introduction,

Swirling quite carefree in culture and fun, I became drawn to earrings like a crow to a piece of silver foil. I consciously wanted to develop my sense of beauty as I had for carpets–and my pursuit became the earrings I saw in paintings, museums, fairs, expositions, and shops. …Playing detective, I would detect a whisper of pearl of pendant in a portrait, which might well not show up in a reproduction. (6-7)

Portraits are prized in this book, and the authors write short analyses of the importance and roles of these paintings in the history of earrings to augment the existence of the extant jewelry. Advancements or fashions in portrait painting as well as the skill of celebrated artists are noted for how they helped make certain types of earrings popular, proved the eminence of the portrayed figure, or highlighted the inherent beauty of stones and precious materials.

From "I Love Those Earrings" by Jane Merrill and Chris Fulstrup, 2014.

From “I Love Those Earrings” by Jane Merrill and Chris Fulstrup, 2014.

Here and there are teasers of other primary source materials, such as an eighteenth-century drawing, a design for Aigrettes housed at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, seen above. I wish there had been more of these less obvious sources for variety’s sake. Interestingly, as the decades pass in this volume, a greater portion of the jewelry photographed was courtesy jewelry dealers and private collections than museum collections. In the “Victorian Era” chapter, Merrill passes into a collectors’ state:

This brings me to my single, favorite pair of Victorian earrings, where whimsy is executed with perfect craftsmanship, resulting in utterly wearable fantasy. You see this pair of goldfish bowls that were a tour de force in rock crystal. If you’ve carried a goldfish in a bowl or plastic sack back from a country fair or amusement park, you know that the bowl sloshes and almost tips out the fish. The same giddy tension was embodied in these earrings. (101)

Her heartfelt description of “A Mother’s Jewelry Box” will be familiar to many young women (and men). This book is, after all, about (and arguably for) women. Men (or, “studs who wear them”) and jewelry fill one chapter, which also begins with a personal history: Merrill confronts her co-author–her ex-husband–with his adornment choices over the years.

From "I Love Those Earrings" by Jane Merrill and Chris Fulstrup, 2014.

From “I Love Those Earrings” by Jane Merrill and Chris Fulstrup, 2014.

From there we jump into ancient history and speed through the millennia to the seventeenth century. It is also an example of the abrupt endings found here and there in this book: that’s certainly not the end of male earring-wearing, and there is no concluding paragraph. The final line of the chapter concludes an anecdote about the Abbé de Choisy: “Even as he took on the celibate life of a clergyman, he continued to crossdress.”

While entertainingly written, there are some odd punctuation and interesting word-order choices; this may not bother other readers. The style is informal; historian Ion Grumeza personalizes his essay on ancient jewelry with the qualifying phrase, “Romania, where I grew up.” (20) And yes, you will find a few instances of the word “bling.” Sometimes the informality breaks the storytelling spell; the description of sixteenth-century collars as “his, the circus dog style; hers, the standing kind” (26) feels unnecessarily distancing. There are certainly examples of earrings here that could be conveyed as equally ridiculous.

From "I Love Those Earrings" by Jane Merrill and Chris Fulstrup, 2014.

From “I Love Those Earrings” by Jane Merrill and Chris Fulstrup, 2014.

While the visuals are strong (if relatively small), this book is meant to be read. Its value lies in the energetic storytelling, never focusing too long on one subject, time period, or style, but keeping today’s reader afloat on a river of anecdotes and examples. This is not a book from which to pull hard quotations for a term paper, but rather an admiring, playful tribute. There are no citations, and although the bibliography is good, sources quoted in the text are mysteriously not included there. There are not many books that focus on earrings and this is the most comprehensive in years. Books on “dress accessories” rarely include jewelry; books on jewelry are often focused on one designer or try to tackle All of the Jewelry That Ever Was.

The fashion historian might benefit from passages about trends in shape and material, such as how the girandoles of the eighteenth century were largely replaced by pendeloques by the turn of the nineteenth century, or why paste jewels were practical. But this is a book for the aspiring informed collector, and would be a helpful precedent for other writers working on similarly focused subjects. Like any excellent pop history, I Love Those Earrings places its object of affection meaningfully in the course of our accepted history, making that history all the more enjoyable and accessible.

 

Lead Image: Cover of I Love Those Earrings by Jane Merrill with Chris Filstrup. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, 2014.

 

Find more book reviews on Worn Through here!

Further Reading:

Evans, Joan. A History of Jewelry 1100-1870. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, 1989.

Mascetti, Daniela and Amanda Triossi. Earrings: From Antiquity to the Present. New York: Rizzoli, 1990.

Phillips, Clare. Jewelry: From Antiquity to the Present. London: Thames and Hudson, 1996.

Steinbach, Ronald. The Fashionable Ear: A History of Ear-Piercing Trends for Men and Women. Burlington, VT: Vantage Press, 1995.

Tait, Hugh, ed. 7000 Years of Jewelry. Richmond Hill, Ontario: Firefly Books, 2009.

 

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You Should Be Reading: Fashion and the Female Ideal

fashion books from stellafluorescent.blogspot.com

We all know that the ideal female body–its shape, form, styling, even its very presence–has varied dramatically throughout human history. Readers of this blog are aware of the discussions surrounding the unattainably thin female body that has been in vogue for the past two decades, but what of the ways that fashion trends play into that ideal? How is that ideal body clothed? How do those clothes reinforce (or rebel) against the ideal? How have historical clothing trends addressed changing ideals? And (as some of you may be wondering), “Why does it matter?” Here are three articles, published recently, that tackle these questions. We hope you enjoy the selection!

1. Church Gibson, P. (2014). Pornostyle: Sexualized dress and the fracturing of feminismFashion Theory, 18(2), 189-206.

This article is premised on the suggestion that there are now two separate Western systems of fashion; here the word “system” is not intended to evoke the model suggested by Roland Barthes, but rather to refer, quite simply, to a pragmatic “system” of design, manufacture, distribution, and dissemination, similar to the cultural studies’ “circuit of culture” model of analysis. A new, unacknowledged “system” of design and promotion has emerged in the last decade, which has its own fashion leaders in young female celebrities, its own magazines to chronicle their activities and showcase their style, its own Internet presence, and its own retailing patterns. These young women often resemble in their self-presentation the “glamour models” or pin-up girls of popular men’s magazines, whose “look” is a muted version of the styling associated by many with that of hard-core pornography. The “body ideal” of this alternative system is very different to that of high-fashion; once again, it resembles the look of the women pictured in magazines for men. Although one or two writers on fashion have noted this new trend, it is feminist scholars who have shown most interest; they see the new system as part of the “pornification” of contemporary visual culture. A number of these same scholars are avowed anti-pornography campaigners and the author argues that this could further damage the fragile feminist project, already riven by differences. – Paraphrased Article Abstract

2. Kayoung, K., & Sagas, M. (2014). Athletic or sexy? A comparison of female athletes and fashion models in Sports Illustrated swimsuit issuesGender Issues, 31(2), 123-141. 

Using a modified version of Goffman’s (Gender advertisements. Harper Colophon, New York, 1976) gender display as a conceptual framework, this study examined the gendered body images of female athletes and female fashion models. The authors investigated sexualized female body images by comparing athletes with fashion models in Sports Illustrated (SI) swimsuit issues. Specifically, they used images of female athletes and female fashion models from SI swimsuit issues (n = 1,099) over the past 15 years (1997–2011). The variables analyzed included four photographic image categories: photo shot location, facial expression, body display, and hand display. The findings revealed few differences in sexual portrayals between female athletes and female fashion models. – Paraphrased Article Abstract

3. Scarborough, A. D., Hunt-Hurst, P. (2014). The making of an erogenous zone: The role of exoticism, dance, and the movies in midriff exposure, 1900-1946Dress, 40(1), 47-65.

This study examined the evolution of midriff exposure in fashionable apparel between 1900 and 1946. There were two objectives: 1) to understand the cultural factors that influenced its adoption, and 2) discover its stages in becoming an erogenous zone. In this exploratory study, a content analysis was conducted on the fashion magazines Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar; these primary sources, plus analysis of selections from three newspapers, proved to be useful for the exploration of how the exposed midriff evolved from exotic dance wear to fashionable apparel. Cultural events assisted in the progression of fashionable exposure from underwear, swimwear, casual wear to evening wear in clothing that bared the midriff. Standards of morality were instrumental in the process of evolution. Production Codes established for motion pictures reflected and reinforced the morality standards of US society. Parts of the body deemed inappropriate for show in the movies were likewise considered inappropriate for fashionable dress. The 1940s was the turning point as popular culture and World War II helped to stimulate interest and more fashion pages featured women in midriff exposing ensembles. – Full Article Abstract 

 

Image Credit: stellafluorescent.blogspot.com

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You Should Be Reading: Fashion and the Designer

fashion books from stellafluorescent.blogspot.com

This week, Worn Through would like to highlight a selection of articles that explore the role of the designer in the fashion process. While these articles address a wide variety of issues surrounding designers, they all focus on what it means to be a designer in the 21st century. From facing problems caused by fast-fashion to working with trade associations, and from incorporating sustainability to tackling the ever-present “art vs. commerce” debate, these five recently published articles present an array of viewpoints on the role and importance of the fashion designer. We hope you enjoy! 

1.  Laamanen, T-K., & Seitamaa-Hakkarainen, P. (2014). Interview study of professional designers’ ideation approaches. The Design Journal, 17(2), 194-217.

In addressing the subject of ideation in design, this paper reports on a series of focused interviews with nine professional designers from the fields of textile, fashion and interior design. The study concentrated on the practices undertaken by the designers before they come to, or form, a tentative idea for the design project. The authors were interested in professional designers’ ways of ideating, the use of sources of inspiration and the effect of previous professional experience on ideation. During the interviews, designers reflected on their ideation phase using materials from their previous design projects. The interview data were analysed by qualitative content analysis; the classification scheme was theory and data driven. In the analysis, the authors found that designers used supporting practices (such as collecting, sketching and experimenting) and triggers (sources of inspiration, mental image and primary generator) for framing the design space. Further, the authors distinguished four approaches to ideation: graphic, material, verbal and mental. Results are discussed in the light of previous research and the needs of design education. – Paraphrased Article Abstract 

2. Leslie, D., Brail, S., and Hun, M. (2014). Crafting an antidote to fast fashion: The case of Toronto’s independent fashion design sectorGrowth and Change, 45(2), 222-239.

The fashion industry has undergone a profound transformation in business practices and production systems over the past several decades. These shifts include the globalisation of production chains and the emergence of a new model of “fast fashion.” This paper investigates the response of independent fashion designers in Toronto, Canada to the growing competition posed by fast fashion. It identifies a number of strategies utilised by designers to compete, arguing that they are increasingly adopting a new model of “slow fashion,” which opens up possibilities for forging locally and ethically based relationships in the fashion sector. – Full Article Abstract

3.  Palomo-Lovinski, N., & Hahn, K. (2014). Fashion design industry impressions of current sustainable practicesFashion Practice, 6(1), 87-106.

Sustainable practices in clothing have not, thus far, created a significant impact and instead continue to be largely marginalized within the fashion industry. The fashion industry continues to work in an inefficient manner that creates massive waste, exploits workers, and makes it increasingly difficult to make a substantial profit. There is wide disagreement among design environmentalists where energies must be focused to solve these problems. Many believe that consumers are primary instigators in change. Consumers do not understand any of the logistical or practical considerations of clothing design. Designers are, however, responsible for as much as 80 percent of any product that is introduced and have the ability to influence how fabric is sourced and how clothing is produced, cared for, and then discarded. This article explores professional fashion designers’ understanding and awareness of the current best practices in sustainable design. Thirty-five design professionals were surveyed about sustainability in fashion to assess what was missing in their education. The results are interpreted and analyzed as a basis for a new focus on curricula within the American college system and to create lasting and substantive change in the fashion. — Full Article Abstract 

4. Pedroni, M., & Volonté, P. (2014). Art seen from the outside: Non-artistic legitimation within the field of fashion designPoetics, 43, 102-119.

This article focuses on the relation between art and fashion—two fields of cultural production marked by contrasts and shifting boundaries—by investigating it in light of the perceptions of art among ordinary fashion designers. Drawing on an institutional perspective that conceives fashion and art as social fields, the authors summarize the effects produced between the two fields and outline the processes of identity formation and the legitimation of fields of cultural production. Empirical research on a sample of Milanese fashion designers allows the authors to determine whether or not fashion designers use art as a means to acquire legitimacy and to create an identity, thereby institutionalising their field of cultural production (fashion) as artistic. The authors’ argument is that identification with art is often rejected by ordinary fashion designers, who seek to legitimate their cultural production, not through art, but through a culture of wearability. The case of Milanese fashion adds breadth and depth to the theory of artification and to the production of culture theory by showing that comparison with the fine arts by actors in a field of cultural production in constant search of legitimation may come about through channels other than assimilation into the world of art. – Paraphrased Article Abstract 

5. Rantisi, N. M. (2014). Exploring the role of industry intermediaries in the construction of ‘local pipelines’: The case of the Montreal fur garment cluster and the rise of fur-fashion connections. Journal of Economic Geography, doi: 10.1093/jeg/lbu019.

The fur garment cluster in Montreal, Canada has been undergoing a gradual process of transformation in the last two decades, marked by the increasing incorporation of fashion design as a competitive strategy. This article explores the role played by a trade association intermediary, the Fur Council of Canada, to promote this design-led form of development. In particular, it examines a series of initiatives undertaken by the Fur Council in collaboration with other actors to promote greater links, or ‘local pipelines’, between the fashion and fur industries. Drawing primarily on semi-structured interviews, the article draws particular attention to efforts to reduce the cognitive distance between potential pipeline actors as a basis for pipeline construction. – Full Article Abstract

 

Image Credit: stellafluorescent.blogspot.com

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The International Journal of Fashion Studies: a new platform for non-English scholars

This week I had the pleasure of attending the UK launch of a new journal that focuses on the dissemination of fashion studies by non-English scholars at London College of Fashion. The International Journal of Fashion Studies aims to continue a long tradition of understanding fashion as a multi-disciplinary field by providing a much needed platform for work from international writers and thinkers whose first language is not English. In order to do this, the editors Emanuela Mora, Agnès Rocamora and Paolo Volonté, of which none speak English as their first language, have developed an innovative peer review system where contributions are scientifically reviewed in their original language before translated into English for the final publication. Languages currently covered are Danish, English, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbo-Croat, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish, however both the editors and Intellect, the publisher, hope this will widen out as more peer reviewers and contributors become involved in the journal’s development.

The first issue, which is available to download for free, includes contributions in French, Finnish and Portuguese covering a wealth of subjects including clothing worn by prisoners on their way to concentration camps in the Second World War, the geopolitics of fashion capitals and Brazilian fashion as understood by Brazilians. This and much more are brought together in a refreshing but thought provoking introduction by the three editors where they discuss both the linguistic and epistemological issues relevant to this new endeavor.

I had the opportunity to ask the editors Agnès and Paolo about what it was like to put this journal together. Both expressed great enthusiasm for the project, drawing upon editorial collaboration and the overwhelming interest by non-English scholars as positive highlights. While Agnès observed the unexpected but exciting arrival of a contribution in a language not covered by the existing peer reviewers, Paolo commented on the high level of demand for the idea which had overall made the whole process much easier than expected. Upcoming issues will focus on topics such as sustainable fashion and non-Western fashion.

I also managed to have a chat with Sarah Cunningham, Journals Manager for Intellect. Sarah commented on the rigour given to the peer review system and the opportunities the journal offers to researchers and scholars who may not have the resources to translate their work. Although contributors will initially fund the final translation, Intellect is looking at ways to be able to offer funding in order to broaden its international reach and establish relationships with those whose work may go unnoticed otherwise.

The International Journal of Fashion Studies is one of several fashion/dress/cloth related journals Intellect currently publish which include Critical Studies in Men’s Fashion, Clothing Cultures, Critical Studies in Fashion and Beauty and Fashion, Style & Popular Culture. It was exciting to see so many titles in the catalogue, expressing the diversity of approaches that make the study of fashion, dress and cloth both fascinating and relevant to our everyday lives.

The editors of the International Journal of Fashion Studies have also set up a Facebook page called Fashion Studies which can be found here and details for anyone interested in contributing either as a writer or an editor can be found on the Intellect website.

1. Top image used courtesy of http://exhibitingfashion.wordpress.com/2013/10/10/call-for-papers-international-journal-of-fashion-studies/

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