Notes from the Field: Kutch and Maheshwar Weaving

On a cool New Year’s Day in Bhujodi village, Kutch district in Gujarat, I started weaving my first length of fabric after four days of preparing the warp, starching, bobbin winding and joining. Before starting a new warp, a puja (act of worship) is performed to bless the loom and pray that the weaving will go well. The day was an especially auspicious one, being the first of the new year.

Notes from the Field: IMMEDIATE Fashion School

IMMEDIATE Fashion School is a rolling collective of artists and creatives working in a variety of media who aim to playfully challenge dominant fashion through study, art and performance. Our work is not a rejection of fashion or the fashion industry per se, but an effort toward knowing fashion as more than just a commodity and ultimately contributing to a more equitable and empowering fashion. The dominant exchanges in fashion are centered around industry and commerce.

My Jacket is Japanese, Not Me

Last week, I walked out of the tube station and a man chased me all the way down the street calling, “Are you Japanese?” I couldn’t avoid him at the traffic lights, so I replied in my rather English voice, “No, I’m not.” This happens not only in London, but all around the world, and all because I am wearing a grey silk haori jacket that I bought in a vintage shop behind an industrial estate in the very unexotic Birmingham. Fashion allows the individual the freedom to combine clothing and choose styles. In the context of urban London, it seems that anything goes; but on what bodies are the national costumes of others off-limits for bricolage?

The Grand Trompe L'oeil

The old rules are gone, crushed under the Nikes and Birkenstocks of our fathers, but in their place? Ruins. This is the general sentiment of the Styleforum crowd, a group of online menswear aficionados, who gathered en masse for the first iteration of a new, high-end trade show called “Proper Kit,” presented by Styleforum. 

Refashioning Masculinity

As academics, we’re taught to share our research by writing articles and books. These tools focus on the written word and our words are the primary means by which they’re framed. But what does the written word leave out? Whose stories are lost in the process of academic writing? By using the fashion show in research, I discovered a new method to share our work—a method which expands who knows and how we know in fashion studies and beyond.

CONSUME(s) ME

CONSUME(s) ME was born out of a conversation following a clothing swap I co-hosted with a friend. We were satisfied and congratulating ourselves for throwing a good party. My friend called me the ‘queen of clothing swaps’ and the statement stuck with me.

Kim Chi and Me

I first did drag my senior year of college, dressing in character with two of my girlfriends as a performance art piece. I borrowed their clothes and a cheap Ricky’s wig and bought a pair of cheap heels from Payless that I didn’t yet know how to walk in. I’ll never forget the first time someone referred to me as a “lady,” even though I still hadn’t quite figured out how to do my makeup.

On Shopping for a Maternity Bikini

This bathing suit bottom could almost be a full-sized strapless swimsuit for a smaller-than-average woman. Off the body, it’s not really recognizable as anything at all, because a garment like this doesn’t have a place in our mental store. It’s transitional, it’s temporary, it’s for these strange bodies we theoretically revere but that realistically freak us out.

The Profit Value of Dress to Protest

At the recent March4Women rally in London there was plenty of evidence that we are all paying attention to how we display our political values. As a researcher, I often find that my best ideas for studies start like this, a glimmer of an idea sparked by a chance meeting; politics and revolution began to stitch together in my thoughts.