NEW: Carnivalesque Dress
Carnival traditions exist in many of the world’s cultures. An annually recurring period of ludic excess that inverts social structures and values to highlight their necessity, carnival utilizes incongruous methods of performance to entertain and edify. Dress is a key element within carnival because it is deeply expressive and elicits emotive responses from audiences. This article considers the changing role and meaning of carnivalesque dress, from the harlequin and pierrot of the Comédie-Française, to the costumes worn by participants in contemporary lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual/allies (LGBTQIA) parades.
NEW: Cultural Appropriation in Fashion, Dress, and Appearance
The following article summarizes different academic approaches to the topic of cultural appropriation and considers how they can be used in the examination of fashion, dress, and appearance. In reviewing some of the more controversial examples of cultural appropriation within fashionable dress and appearance, the article examines efforts by the industry to address its perceived transgressions and to be a force for cultural appreciation.
Although it has been suggested that dress reform had no influence on fashion, or that it ended when the American Amelia Bloomer gave up her trousers, that is not the case. Dress reform was not a government activity, but rather grass roots efforts of feminists, educators, artists, and others in Britain, America, and parts of Europe from ca.1851 to 1920. For reformers, fashion was a symbol and major cause of women’s political and economic oppression. The breadth of reform activity reveals the difference it made to future fashion.
The literature for Chinese dress extends over two and a half millennia and deals with an area now occupying the fourth largest of the world’s nations. This literature both shapes and challenges our definition of what is meant by the word “Chinese.” While it can be an ethnic signifier, it is clear from the earliest writings that dress is also a defining political tool. Negotiating that distinction is critical to the use of historical and many contemporary written resources.
Indian Madras Fashion
Indian madras is a brightly checkered or plaid cotton fabric most closely associated with Ivy Style, which includes Ivy League, Preppy, and Trad. Indian madras moves into and out of fashion, but maintains a consistent place in the seasonal offerings of retailers such as Brooks Brothers, L. L. Bean, the Andover Shop, and Ralph Lauren. Indian madras is so ubiquitous in American dress that it is often overlooked in historical surveys of fashion, however it has played a supporting role in fashion since the 1880s until today.
Islam is the second-largest religion in the world with nearly two billion adherents. While a small number of verses in the Qur’an enjoin both men and women to dress and behave modestly, it contains little guidance on how their clothing, accessories, and bodies should look; this allows for a wide variation in styles of dress. Over the last ten years, there has been a rapid expansion in the body of academic literature on this topic, focusing largely on contemporary politics, media representations, gender, migration, and the Islamic fashion industry, along with regional variations in Muslim dress.