Special Issue Edited by Sara Kaufman and Anna Zinola
Sara Kaufman and Anna Zinola
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Letter from the Editors
By Sara Kaufman and Anna Zinola
- The Right to Wear: A Cross-Cultural Exploration of Contemporary Clothing Bans
By Anna Espinoza
- The Politics of Self Expression in Fashion: A Postmodern Conundrum
By Giuppy D’Aura
- Aesthetic Maoism: Style Homologation as a Form of Social Control and Increasing Productivity
By Carlos Gago Rodriguez
- Fashion Parades and the Political Side of Fashion Staging
By Vittorio Linfante
- Rituals of Dressing
By Katherine Shark
- Vodka & Tena Lady: A Macabre Dance by Charlie G. Fennel
By Sara Kaufman
- The Last Days of Vogue: Russian Fashion Magazines After the Invasion of Ukraine
By Ira Solomantia
- War in Fashion: Luxury and Contagious Affect
By Tetyana Solovey
- Fashioning Democracy: What We Can Learn From Political Power Couples
By Jasmine Bacchus
- Why Is Muslim Modest Fashion so Political?
By Chiara Sebastiani
- Dear Grandma: A Fiber Art Compendium
By Rana Feghali
- Untangled: The Kaffiyeh’s Potential for Reinvention
By Joelle Firzli
- The Topless Rebellion: Debates and Paradoxes of the Chilean Feminist Mobilizations (2015-2020)
By Javiera Fermandoy
- Dakar Fashion Week: Dressing to be Addressed
By Kelly Kirby
- The Mirror of History: Sustainable Fashion and Earth-First Values
By Jess Montgomery
Letter from the Editors
At first glance, fashion and politics may seem like two worlds apart, if not opposites - the first supposedly a world of frivolous glamour, the second a grey world of “serious business.” In truth, however, not only are they not all glamour/greyness, they are in fact very closely related to each other. History demonstrates this - just think of how the kings of the past used clothing as a form of affirmation, declaration, and legitimization of their role and power. Of course, much has changed since then, starting with the concepts of politics and power; politics still uses clothing to send messages, while fashion has long embraced the practice of using its outputs to manifest political opinions. Moreover, fashion, both as an industry and as creative expression, is deeply affected by the political (and economical) environment, thus reflecting the status quo by mirroring social trends.
When we first started conceiving this special FSJ issue, our vision mostly revolved around what our professional backgrounds (Sara as a fashion journalist, Anna as an academic) and our geographical provenance (both of us are based in Milan, Italy) had so far allowed us to experience; that is to say, we mostly identified fashion as “what you see on the catwalk and politics as “what takes place within governmental institutions.” Milan is one of the world’s fashion capitals, therefore fashion professionals who live and work here tend to be very much exposed to ready-to-wear and couture, to a point in which we sometimes tend to forget that fashion occupies a space in society that goes way beyond the one of seasonal fashion weeks. Moreover, Italy being a—relatively—democratic country, urgent global matters are all too often supplanted by a lot of theoretical discussions, which ultimately serve the purpose of keeping the educated elite within its comfort zone.
However, our eyes were opened, and our horizons broadened, the moment we started receiving the first pitches. Indeed, both fashion and politics have a variety of meanings, and the relationship between them is constantly changing, influenced by geography, shifting borders, cultural perceptions, religion, heritage, historical events, and, of course, personal experiences. We received an insanely large number of submissions, with themes ranging from the outfits of governors to sustainable fashion, from religious modest attire to the political side of artisanal practices, and from fighting the patriarchy in the everyday to doing so through street protests. Clearly, the fashionable side of politics and the political side of fashion are matters close to many people’s hearts.
To top the experience, during the very early days of this issue’s gestation, major political events started colliding with major fashion happenings: the war in Ukraine exploded in the middle of fashion month (February) 2022, pushing fashion brands to take some kind of position, and political campaigns for the election of the Italian prime minister took place in Italy during fashion week in September 2022, generating a medley of fashion and politics on the local news; this was followed by the election of the country’s first female, far right, prime minister, Giorgia Meloni. Both these events would require an issue of their own, while featuring all the amazing content that was pitched to us would probably require a
two-year contract with a publisher. It was extremely hard, and also somewhat painful, to make a selection, because ideally all voices deserve to be heard on a matter such as fashion and politics.
This FSJ issue does not claim, or even aspire, to be exhaustive in regards to such a broad and evolving topic. Rather, it is intended as a conversation starter, providing inputs, thoughts, experiences, and ideas that could be the subject of further study. The invitation is to read, compare, and discuss. And in general, to engage, in whatever way you see fit, not forgetting that, quoting American activist Ralph Nader, “if you don't deal with politics, politics will deal with you.” Even through your clothes.