The Global Circulation of African Fashion (Dress, Body, Cuture Series)

Overview

Transnational movements of people, cultural objects, images and identities have played a vital role in creating an informal global network for African fashion - from clothing designers and tailors to dyers and jewellery makers. This book traces the changing meanings, aesthetics and histories of the thriving informal African fashion network through its multicultural cross-roads of Los Angeles, Kenya and Senegal.

In African communities, designers compete with each other to survive...

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Overview

Transnational movements of people, cultural objects, images and identities have played a vital role in creating an informal global network for African fashion - from clothing designers and tailors to dyers and jewellery makers. This book traces the changing meanings, aesthetics and histories of the thriving informal African fashion network through its multicultural cross-roads of Los Angeles, Kenya and Senegal.

In African communities, designers compete with each other to survive and often travel long distances in search of new markets. Such competition and bridging of cultures fuels creativity and innovation. From adapting western fashion magazines to combining 'ethnic' designs with dramatic new colours and techniques, artisans weave a variety of borrowed influences into their traditional practices. Rabine explores the interrelationship and tensions that exist between these popular and mass cultures, including the ways that global circulation threatens to destroy artisanal skills. With its unique insights into the operation and ethics of these global networks, this book offers a timely contribution to contemporary studies of fashion, transnationalism and globalization.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a landmark book in many ways. First, it grounds the study of global fashion in a way that sheds new and important light on issues of political economy, ethnic identity, and transnational aesthetics. Second, it moves far theoretically beyond the "disconnect" that often exists between understandings of production and consumption of fashion. And, Leslie Rabine illustrates - indeed models - the kind of scholarship that is so desperately needed at the interface of the humanities and social sciences: deep readings of cultural materials, coupled with courageous and self-reflexive ethnography." —Susan B. Kaiser, University of California at Davis

"Within the study are some fascinating details - not least a searing indictment of a particular World Bank discussion paper, published in its Africa Technical Department Series in 1993." —African Business

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781859735930
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 11/1/2002
  • Series: Dress, Body, Culture Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Leslie W. Rabine is at the University of California at Davis.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Glossary
1 Global Suitcases: The Informal African Fashion Network 1
2 Fashion and the Meanings of "Tradition" in Senegal 27
3 Fashioning Postcolonial Identities in Kenya 73
4 The World Bank, JCPenney, and Artisanal African Fashion in Los Angeles 107
5 Fact, Fabrication and Material Misreading: The Genealogy of "Authentic African Print Fabric" 135
6 The Entanglements of Exchange, the Pleasures of Production, and the Ethics of Export 169
Bibliography 197
Index 209
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