CFP: Constructing National Identity Through Fashion @ 2nd International Non-Western Fashion Conference, November 21 – 22, 2013

2nd International Non-Western Fashion Conference
Constructing National Identity Through Fashion

London College of Fashion, UK
21-22 November 2013


In today’s rapidly globalizing world, dichotomies like ‘traditional’ versus
‘fashionable,’ ‘tradition’ versus ‘modernity’ and ‘non-West’ versus ‘West’
can no longer be justified and fortunately a new generation of fashion
scholars is acknowledging the existence of different (non Euro-American)
fashion systems. They realize there is a growing urgency for fashion
theory to rectify its ethno- and Eurocentric approach and no longer assume
that non-Western dress is (automatically) outside the realm of fashion
dynamics. Fashion designers from Asia, The Middle East, Latin America and
Africa are increasingly influencing global fashion dynamics, but
surprisingly still little is known on the effects these developments will
have on fashion as we know it today.

Therefore the aims of this annual conference, which is part of a larger
international interdisciplinary cross-regional research project set up in
2012, is to establish a broad network of scholars focusing on non-Western
fashion systems (without explicitly excluding research on Western fashion
systems), to stimulate international cross-regional comparative research
and to mobilise scholars across disciplines to engage in primary and
archival fieldwork on (emerging) non-Western fashion centres. The project
aims to meet a new intellectual and public interest in more local models
of fashion production and consumption.

This second edition of the Non-Western Fashion Conference will focus on the
construction of national identity in fashion and the roles of so-called
‘tradition’ and ‘modernity’ in this process. Fashion designers are
increasingly branding their national heritage/tradition as a successful
marketing tool, while simultaneously reinventing/modernizing it. On the
one hand, in a globalizing world, it allows them to differentiate
themselves on a highly competitive international fashion market, while on
the other hand, on a national level, it seems to make them successful as a
result of a general revaluation of national culture as a counter reaction
to increasing foreign cultural influences. However, when non-Western
designers use their cultural heritage as a source of inspiration, it is
considered ‘traditional
identity’ whereas when Western fashion designers brand their cultural
heritage, it is considered ‘fashion identity.’

This conference not only wishes to be interdisciplinary but also
cross-regional, assembling researchers who are engaged in creative and
critical rethinking of (non-Western) fashion systems in a wide scope of
geographical areas in ways that may include, but certainly are not limited
to the ideas above. Please note that all papers will be presented in
English, and no translation will be available.

Keynote speakers for this edition are:

*        Jennifer Craik (RMIT University, Melbourne)
*        Yuniya Kawamura (Fashion Institute of Technology, New York)
*        Leslie Rabine (University of California)
*        Emma Tarlo (Goldsmiths, University of London)
*        Sarah Cheang (Royal College of Art, London)
*        Reina Lewis (London College of Fashion)

300 word abstracts are due by the 30th of June 2013.

Emails containing the abstracts should be submitted to and entitled: NON-WESTERN FASHION ABSTRACT SUBMISSION.

Please include the author’s name, affiliation, email address and the title of the abstract. Please send PDF, Word or RTF formats, using plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and any special formatting, characters or emphasis.

Receipt of the email will be acknowledged within one week. If you do not receive a reply, please assume that it was not received, and send it again. A selection of the papers will be invited to feature in a hardcopy edited volume following the conference.


Author: Camara Dia Holloway

I am an art historian specializing in early twentieth century American art with particular focus on the history of photography, race and representation, and transatlantic modernist networks. I earned my PhD at Yale University in the History of Art Department. Besides my leadership role as the Founding Co-Director of the Association for Critical Race Art History (ACRAH), I am recognized for my expertise on African American Art, particularly African American Photography, and as a seasoned consultant for exhibitions, museum collections, and symposia/lectures planning.

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