Seminar (Re)Thinking Fashion Globalization, Tokyo 15-16 February 2019


Seminar co-organized by

The Transboundary Fashion Seminar &

the Research Collective for Decolonizing Fashion 

Bunka Gakuen University Tokyo

15-16 February 2019

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.

The Seminar will include 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) 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.

Download the seminar’s booklet here including the programme and abstracts


Friday 15 February 2019

9h00  – 9h30              Registration (c building 4th floor)

9h30  – 10h00                       Welcome and introductions

10h00 – 11h00           Panel I: Global/Local

Moderator: Angela Jansen

Location: room C041

Yoko Takagi & Saskia Thoelen

Kimono Migrating Across Boarders: A Preliminary Study into the Discovery of Wasō Culture Outside of Japan

Kyoko Koma

Discourses of Several Actors on Globalising Non-Western Kawaii Fashion in the 21st Century

11h00 – 11h30          Coffee

11h30  – 12h30          Panel II: Global/Local (continued)

Moderator: Toby Slade

Location: room C041

Angela Jansen

‘Tribalization or the End of Globalization’: Rethinking Cultural Homogenization Through Fashion Globalization

Harriette Richards

Melancholia at the Margins: Place and History in the Fashion of Aotearoa New Zealand

12h30 – 13h30          Lunch

13h30 – 14h30          Visit Kimono Exhibition at the University Museum

14h30 – 15h30          Panel III: Mapping Fashion

Moderator: Kyoko Koma 

Location: Room F48

Sarah Cheang and Elizabeth Kramer

East Asian Global Connections and Fashion Histories

Jenny Hughes

Body Mapping: Cross Cultural Influences in the Studio

15h30 – 16h00          Coffee

16h00 – 17h00          Panel IV: Mapping Fashion (continued)                  

                                   Moderator: Sarah Cheang

Location: Room F48

Daan van Dartel

Surinamese Kotomisi: Multiple Identities of Fashion

Abby Lillethun and Linda Welters

Coats and Trousers: Redrawing the Map to Rescript the Narrative

Saturday 16 February 2019

9h30 – 10h30            Panel V: Fashion Systems

Moderator: Angela Jansen

Location: room C041

Chepkemboi J Mang’ira

#OWNYOURCULTURE – Decolonizing Fashion Through Traditional Jewelry

Osuanyi Quaicoo Essel & Malika Kraamer

Dress Fashion Posters in Consumer Fashion Choices and Preferences in Ghana

10h30 – 11h00          Coffee

11h00 – 12h00          Panel VI: Fashion Systems (continued)

                                   Moderator: Sheila Cliffe

Location: room C041

Yuniya  Kawamura

Ethnic Dress Styles as New Sustainable Luxury

Katalin Medvedev

Once Again, Politics Wraps Budapest Fashion Scene in a Shroud

12h00 – 13h00          Lunch

13h00 – 14h00          Panel VII: Migration

Moderator: Sarah Cheang

Location: room C041

Deirdre Clemente

“Our Clothes Told Everyone Where We Were From”:  Nineteenth-Century Immigration, Ethnicity, and the Changing Language of Dress

Courtney Fu

Negotiating Identities: Fashions of Nyonyas (Straits Chinese Women) in Early 20th Century Singapore

14h00 – 14h30          Coffee

14h30 – 15h30           Panel VIII: Global Design Practice

Moderator: Yoko Takagi

Location: room C041

Jose Teunissen (by Skype)

State of Fashion: Searching for the New Luxury. Imagination, Sustainability, Embodied Practice, Craft Revival, New Narratives

Hazel Clark and Alla Eizenberg

Making the Ordinary Fashionable: New Sartorial Languages from Russia and China

15h30 – 16h00          Coffee

16h00 – 18h00          Final roundup discussion and book discussion

                                   Moderator: Toby Slade

Location: room C041

18h00                         Dinner

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