Dangerous Designs: Asian Women Fashion the Diaspora Economies / Edition 1

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Overview

In late-1990s Britain, the salwaar-kameez or 'Punjabi suit' emerged as a high-fashion garment. Popular both on the catwalk and on the street, it made front-page news when worn by Diana, Princess of Wales and by Cherie Booth, the wife of UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.
In her ethnography of the local and global design economies established by Asian women fashion entrepreneurs, Parminder Bhachu focuses on the transformation of the salwaar-kameez from negatively coded 'ethnic clothing' to a global garment fashionable both on the margins and in the mainstream. Exploring the design and sewing businesses, shops and street fashions in which this revolution has taken place, she shows how the salwaar-kameez is today at the heart of new economic micro-markets which themselves represent complex, powerfully coded means of cultural dialogue and racial politics. The innovative designs of second-generation British Asian women are drawn from characteristically improvisational migrant cultural codes. Through their hybrid designs and creation of new aesthetics, these women cross cultural boundaries, battling with racism and redefining both Asian and British identities. At the same time, their border-crossing commercial entrepreneurship produces new diaspora economies which give them control over many economic, aesthetic, cultural and technological resources. In this way, the processes of global capitalism are gendered, racialized and localized through the interventions of diasporic women from the margins.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'Parminder Bhachu is the most authentic and imaginative intellectual of the diaspora that I have come across. Parminder is on the cutting edge - a sophisticated analyzer of multilayered identities and cultural locations . . . and wears great salwar-kameezes too.' - Gurinder Chadha, Director of Bend it Like Beckham, Bhaji on the Beach and What's Cooking

'Simply put, this is must read for any Asian Woman reader ... Buy this book!'

' ...shows how the hardware of transnational networks enables competing discourses of fashion to project conflicting visions of modernity onto a global scale.' - Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415072205
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 12/18/2003
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
Acknowledgements
Introduction 1
Pt. I Travels of the suit 9
1 Cultural narratives of the suit 11
2 Ethnicized consumption 25
Pt. II Design narratives 37
3 Pioneering fashion entrepreneur: Geeta Sarin 41
4 Second-generation design globalizer: Bubby Mahil 56
5 Selling the nation: revivalist Indian designer Ritu Kumar 68
6 Selling art clothes in classed markets 83
Conclusion: national elites versus diaspora design entrepreneurs 93
Pt. III Suit marketers 99
7 Daminis: a commercial community mama's shops 103
8 Networking marketers of ready-made suits 115
Pt. IV Sewing cultures: sketching and designing 131
9 Diasporic sina-prona: sewing and patterning cultures 134
10 Designing diasporas through sketches 142
Conclusion: disruptive markets from the margins 169
Glossary 174
Notes 176
Bibliography 185
Index 190
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