CFP: (Re)Thinking Fashion Globalization


Seminar co-organized with The Transboundary Fashion Seminar

15-16 February 2019

Bunka Gakuen University Tokyo

Deadline: 15 September 2018


There are few histories as entangled as ‘global fashion’ in terms of crafting identities, negotiating change, developing technologies and making communities. Diverse ‘world’ fashion histories have often remained largely undocumented, outside of global fashion histories, or framed as traditional, ethnic and/or unchanging; that is, stereotyped and stigmatized as non-fashion. This has meant that the social, political, historical and contextual ‘global’ narratives of these ‘other’ fashion histories have been excluded from global fashion discourses.

Too often, these fashion systems—perceived of as outside the dominant global fashion city networks—are seen to have only recently earned their rights to join a global fashion discourse, mainly due to socio-economic changes that have created a convergence with the West, and/or through their successful engagement with fashion as both consumers and producers. It is crucial to refrain from thinking that this has suddenly emerged in the past few decades as the result of globalization and the growth of new middle classes.

‘Fashion globalization’ too often refers to European fashion trends that have been adopted by the rest of the world due to processes of globalization, and generally ignores the large diversity of fashion systems around the globe in their own right, with their own histories and global connections. Fashion globalization, as it has come to be understood, frequently perpetuates Eurocentric biases in fashion discourse on a wider geographical stage. The seminar ‘Rethinking Fashion Globalization’ aims to explore processes of de-globalization, as much as it calls for new interpretations of global(ised) fashion.

We invite proposals for papers from any discipline and perspective that help to rethink theories of fashion globalization as well as papers that consider the alternate and multiple languages of fashion globalization. Panel  strands  include,  but  are  not  limited  to:

Redrawing the Map

  • when fashion moves between centres and peripheries
  • fashion boundaries and borders are broken
  • migration and its new modernities
  • shifting long-held perceptions of fashion

Rewriting Narratives

  • when and where and how new sartorial languages are used
  • where and when new values are inscribed into fashion histories
  • how histories are rescripted

Rethinking Fashion Discourse

  • when fashion is inclusive, diverse and decentred
  • how decolonial aesthetics are shifting global aesthetics
  • sustainability, local economy and craft revivals an new micro-narratives

The Transboundary Fashion Seminar (TFS, https://transboundaryfashion. was founded in 2014 by “Scientific Research on Transboundary Contemporary Japanese Fashion” (JSPS  KAKENHI Grant 26370177, 2014-2016, Prof.Yoko Takagi of Bunka Gakuen University) and continues by “Research for Building Theories on Transboundary Fashion and for Promoting International Collaboration” (JSPS  KAKENHI Grant 17K02382, 2017-2019). Since the 1980s, fashion has become a medium used to express individuality and, beyond the realm of clothing design, has deployed itself in various art forms. When we look at the process from production to consumption, a new cultural expression is being created when crossing national and regional borders. In this context, TFS consists of a number of collaborative seminars. Each time, a theme will be decided upon which focuses on “transboundary” aspects of fashion, inviting a variety of experts, academics, designers, curators, journalists, industrial professionals and students from home and abroad, to accumulate case studies and to form a global research exchange.

The Research Collective for Decolonizing Fashion (RCDF; formerly known as the Non-Western Fashion Conference) was established in 2012 to disrupt fashion discourse beyond the stubbornly persistent Eurocentric and ethnocentric underpinnings of dominant fashion discourse and to construct alternative narratives. The RCDF recognizes that fashion systems are diverse, span world cultures, and have long histories. It engages with critical investigation and dialogue into that often denied, forgotten or otherwise hidden diversity, as it explores interconnections among fashion systems outside the dominant fashion cities. It approaches diverse fashion systems around the world through multidisciplinary and multicultural forums and seeks through its research new critical paradigms within cross-cultural perspectives.

The TFS and RCDF propose that this themed seminar and publication will centre on new definitions, debates and approaches to an ‘old’ topic, acting as a reflection and refraction of what ‘fashion globalisation’ means. In this way, we consider redrawing maps, rewriting narratives, and rethinking ‘fashion’ as inclusive, diverse, multilingual, and decentred for a truly global fashion shift.

300 Word abstracts are due by the 15th of September 2018 and should be submitted by e-mail (preferably in a Word format; please refrain from using footnotes and/or any special formatting, characters or emphasis) to with ‘TOKYO19 ABSTRACT SUBMISSION’ in the subject. Abstracts should include the title of the paper, the author(s)’s name, affiliation, email address, bio (200 word) and five keywords. Receipt of the email will be acknowledged within one week. If you do not receive a confirmation, please assume that it was not received correctly and send it again.


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