ANNOUNCER: This is a production of Cornell University Library.
SARAH WRIGHT: All right, well, I've got 4:01. So I think we're going to go ahead and get started. So good afternoon, everyone. I'm Sarah Wright, Director of Mann Library here at Cornell. And I'd like to welcome you to our last library book talk for the Fall 2021 semester.
Perhaps a few of you may know that crossing disciplines with Cornell authors one book at a time is the tagline for Cornell University Library's Chats in the Stacks Program. So it seems particularly fitting to be ending our fall book talk season with the book being featured today, both because today is its actual date of publication, and also because of the richly cross-disciplinary perspective that it presents.
Like all the other chats talks of this semester, today's event is coming to us as a webinar. But I'd like to emphasize that questions from the audience are warmly welcome. So if you find yourself with a question for the authors at any time during today's webinar, please use the chat function to send that question our way. My colleague, Eveline Ferretti, will be gathering all questions posed via chat and present them to our speakers during the Q&A session that will follow the speakers' presentation.
Before proceeding to my introduction of Drs. Green and Kaiser, I'd like to include an acknowledgment that Cornell University is located on the traditional homelands of the [INAUDIBLE]. The [INAUDIBLE] are members of the [? Haudenosaunee ?] Confederacy, an alliance of six sovereign nations with a historic and contemporary presence on this land. This Confederacy precedes the establishment of Cornell University, New York state, and the United States of America.
We acknowledge the painful history of [INAUDIBLE] dispossession and honor the ongoing connection of [INAUDIBLE] people, past and present, to these lands and waters. Now, onto our speakers. Dr. Susan B. Kaiser is a Professor Emerita at the University of California Davis in the departments of gender, sexuality, and women's studies and design. Her research centers on the interplay between intersectional feminist cultural studies and fashion studies, with a current interest in theorizing time through fashion.
Dr. Kaiser is the author of more than 100 journal articles and book chapters in the fields of textiles, clothing, and fashion studies, cultural studies, consumer cultures, sociology, and related fields. She is editor of the journal, Critical Studies in Fashion and Beauty, and a fellow and past president of the International Textile and Apparel Association. Dr. Kaiser's book, The Social Psychology of Clothing: Symbolic Appearances in Context, was published in its second edition by Fairchild Publications in 1997.
Her book, Fashion and Cultural Studies first appeared in 2012. Its second edition, now co-authored with Denise Green, is as I mentioned earlier, hot off the Bloomsbury press just today. Those interested in getting their own copy can put it in order directly with Bloomsbury using the discount code included on the slide that is currently being displayed.
Dr. Denise Nicole Green is an Associate Professor at Cornell University, where she also directs the Cornell fashion and textile collection. With a PhD in sociocultural anthropology from the University of British Columbia, Professor Green joined the faculty of the Department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design in the College of Human Ecology in 2014, where her work has crossed many boundaries of discipline and media.
In addition to her teaching and research at the College of Human Ecology, she is affiliated with the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program, Cornell Institute for Archaeology and Material Studies, the American Studies Program, and the Department of Anthropology. As a fashion anthropologist, she uses ethnography, film production, historical methods, creative design, and curatorial practice to explore the intersections of design, culture, identities, and dressed embodiment.
As an award-winning filmmaker, curator, and designer, she mentors students in the production of their own film projects, curated fashion exhibitions, and natural dyed textile and garment designs. Her scholarship is published widely in both professional and scholarly journals. And she is on the editorial boards of The Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, Fashion Studies, and Critical Studies in Fashion and Beauty.
From 2017 until this year, she served as the Vice President of publications for the Costume Society of America. I'm so very pleased that Drs. Green and Kaiser have agreed to celebrate the release of their new book with the talk they are giving to us today. In addition to our congratulations, please join me in giving them a very warm welcome.
DENISE N. GREEN: Thank you so much for that very kind introduction. I'm going to go ahead and share my screen with all of you today. So once again, thank you for being here. Thank you for the kind introduction. And thank you for celebrating with Susan and I today the launch of our book on December 2nd with Bloomsbury.
We wanted to start out today-- and we really appreciate the land acknowledgment that was given by Sarah Wright, and also want to acknowledge Susan is located on the territories of [INAUDIBLE], which is where the University of California Davis is located. But both Susan and I, as we begin this text, we begin our book with acknowledgments and start the book by acknowledging that not only are our universities physically occupying homelands dispossessed from indigenous peoples, but that we're both from land-grab universities, or land grant universities as is another way to put it.
And that Cornell University and the University of California were involved as well in the dispossession and expropriation of many thousands of acres of stolen native lands from across the United States and that these lands ended up forming large portions of our various universities' endowments. And so we want to acknowledge that dispossession in addition to the physical places where we are today.
So we are going to begin by going back to the place actually where I met Dr. Kaiser. And since we cannot physically be in the stacks today, what you're looking at on the screen is Mann Library.
Mann Library is the library for the College of Human Ecology. And I was a student in the College of Human Ecology from 2003 to 2007. I did my undergraduate in fashion design. And my freshman year, I made my way over to Mann Library, like all good first year students do. I learned about where my library was located.
And I learned about the section of the stacks where I would find books on fashion, fashion history, and an area of fashion studies I didn't even realize existed, which was cultural and social studies of dressed embodiment. I came to Cornell really fascinated by the opportunity to combine fashion design with sociology, anthropology, the study of human culture.
And so when I got to the stacks, I went to the GT section. And as I was just browsing around, I noticed this book, The Social Psychology of Clothing. This is the actual stacks. Though I'm sure things have moved around a little bit since 2003. But I found Susan's 1997 second edition revised of The Social Psychology of Clothing.
And we wanted to start this talk by really bringing us into the stacks and really thinking about the way that the library is this place of coming together of ideas, of people. And so when I found this book, I was blown away. It was all of the things I'd been thinking about. But someone had actually written about them and done this comprehensive review of the literature, and was doing their own research and studies.
And so I read the book cover to cover. And I sent an email to Dr. Kaiser as my 19-year-old self. And I was blown away when a few days later, maybe not even that long, she wrote back to me. And the fact that this book in this library in the stacks connected to a real living human being who was thinking, and writing, and researching the very topics that I was so interested in diving deeper into, that she existed in the world. And I could connect with her.
And that's sort of the anthropologist in me. I'm always connecting the archive and the library with the living beings who are still around that we can communicate with. And so she wrote back to me. And that was the start of our relationship together as thinkers. I went and did my master's degree at UC Davis and studied with Dr. Kaiser, and then went on to do my PhD elsewhere.
But we've stayed in touch all of these years. And she approached me about the second edition of Fashion and Cultural Studies. And immediately, I said yes. I would love to work on this with you, and to update this text, and to add new chapters. But really it all began here. So we wanted to begin our presentation thinking about the library as a site of connection.
SUSAN B. KAISER: Well, I'm so happy that I answered that email then. What a life transforming response that turned out to be. And I want to start by thanking not only the library. By the way, my first job at the University of Texas was reading the stacks to make sure the call numbers were in the right order. But working with Denise on this revision has been such a joy, as it has been ever since I've known her.
Her intellectual curiosity, her sense of social justice, her ability to get things done, and just the way she makes projects more fun and interesting, I'm really grateful for that, as I am to everybody at the library for making this possible.
So we start here actually with the theme of time and space or place noting that we're kind of an intergenerational collaboration. That's me on the left. At the age of four, the place I was in, Orleans, France, where it was the '50s, well, late '50s. I think it was '58 or so. But wearing a typical kind of '50s outfit. But when we found this image, or her parents found this image of Denise at the same age, one of the first things I thought of is, wow, not only are we dressed really differently. But we didn't have plastic straws in the '50s. They were paper. And here you got this convoluted plastic straw.
And I think Denise probably wants to say more about her outfit.
DENISE N. GREEN: Yeah, I think those of you that know me know that I love fashion. And I love dressing up every day. And this was clearly part of my personality from a very, very young age. I was adamant about dressing myself, about mixing and matching this kind of recollage of overalls, and bracelets, and sunglasses, the bows, the hat. I mean, I've always been a more is more maximalist kind of dresser.
And so to think about this and see it actually in this young age was kind of interesting for me. And then thinking too about our approach to this text, we wanted to start with these images, both because they bring us back to a time before we even had entered school, when we were the same age, both Susan and I, but in different places. I was in Upstate New York. She was in France.
And then also, it reveals some of our shared identities as well in terms of age, in this case. Though we are intergenerational now. But this sort of moment side by side we're the same age. And we share other shared identities. We are both white women. We both teach at universities. And we also have divergent identities too in terms of sexuality and other things.
And so this was really a kind of starting point that we write about in the opening and the acknowledgments for our text, where we are and our positionality.
SUSAN B. KAISER: So one of the metaphors we use in the book, and one of the biggest themes in the book, is about the interplay between time and space, how there's a total convergence between time and space. Sometimes we hear metaphors like two sides of the same coin. But we prefer kind of a fabric metaphor that comes from a Mobius strip, where there's a kind of ongoing continuity, but also a complete convergence of time and space.
They can't be separated into an either/or kind of experience. Where we are can't be separated from when we are. So we want to point out how fashion is one of the ways through everyday style that we articulate this idea of convergence between time and space through the fashioning of our bodies.
DENISE N. GREEN: I was just going to say we are going to structure the rest of our presentation today moving through all of the chapters in the book. So we've sort of begun at the end in a sense with thinking about time, and place, and age, and generation. And we'll move back to the beginning of the book with fashion studies and cultural studies concepts, which we really begin framing the text and then move into thinking through intersectional, transnational fashion subjects.
The rest of the book really takes different aspects of our subjectivity and focuses on them in each chapter, though considers them from an intersectional feminist perspective. Susan?
SUSAN B. KAISER: Yeah, so basically the framework as compared to the 2012 edition is primarily the same. But a whole lot of work went into revising, and updating, and whatnot. And reviewers had suggested two additional chapters.
So chapter five on religion was one of those two chapters. And the other was chapter nine, Dressed Embodiment. So you can see the framework is organized around subject positions. But the whole idea of the book is intersectionality. So whereas, religion, for example, might be highlighted in one chapter, it's done so with an eye towards all the other subject positions.
DENISE N. GREEN: One other aspect of the revision, as well, was we really wanted to decenter the narrative of sort of white, wealthy, thin, European-American fashion, which has really been such a dominant narrative in a lot of fashion history books and fashion studies books.
And so through the revision, each of these chapters moves through lots of different examples and case studies. And so in revising, again, we're really committed to decentering what has been a kind of dominant narrative in fashion studies and then center voices of people of color, people living with disabilities, et cetera.
So we'll go through each of these chapters. And we're just pulling a few of the case studies in each slide. And we'll talk through them. But we encourage you, of course, to read the entire book, which will give you all of the case studies. We're just going to highlight a few from each chapter today.
SUSAN B. KAISER: So first, we want to pay tribute to one of the guiding theorists for our book. In addition to being a brilliant theorist, Carol Tulloch, is a dear friend. And a guiding concept throughout is the idea of melding style, fashion, and dress by the use of hyphens in order to foster an understanding of the parts and wholes.
The reason this concept that she developed based on her studies of Black British style-- and I could refer you to her book, The Birth of Cool, where she also deals with style, fashion, dress-- what had happened earlier in the field was that there tended to be some binary oppositions between style and fashion. People had their preferences, fashion versus dress. And it ended up separating the subdisciplines, you might say, in the field and sort of kept becoming a tedious debate that somehow putting these together conceptually and recognizing that there's a complex here with style referring to individual fashion statements, if you will.
Fashion being a collective process of change. And dress reminding us of the very important aspects of the body and the ways in which we modify the appearance of the body.
DENISE N. GREEN: We're also guided, of course, by the many cultural studies scholars, but in particular, Stuart Hall and his work with Paul du Gay and others in the 1997 text doing cultural studies, which is this really fascinating tracing of the Sony Walkman through what Stuart Hall and Paul du Gay call the circuit of culture, which you see here on the left.
And so what we do in the book is we actually update the circuit of culture into this circuit of style, fashion, and dress, where instead of Hall's concept of representation, we use the concept of distribution. And this will enable us to think, as well, about materiality in addition to representations, like Hall has discussed, that are moving in discourses. And so distribution is both about the distribution of images in fashion magazines on the internet, social media, television, film, et cetera.
But it's also about the distribution of materials and how garments are actually made. When we're thinking about fashion, it's the body. It's materials. And it's images. It's really all of these things. So we replace representation, or sort of update it, with distribution. And then identity, which can tend to have a sort of sense of being fixed, we instead are thinking about identity as subject formation.
So we are always changing. Identities are not static. They're dynamic. Every day, for example, we are older than we were yesterday. Our age is constantly changing. And of course, some of our subjectivities are more mutable than others. But at the same time, we wanted to think about a term that would enable us to grapple with the way that fashion every single day is embodied differently.
And there are all kinds of opportunities for rearticulating and being and becoming in the world every single day. And so subject formation, of course, is intersectional. So the graphic on the right is thinking about many of these sort of overlapping, almost three dimensional, translucent circles, representing things like race, ethnicity, disability, place, gender, religion. And certainly, there are many, many more aspects of our identity that intersect, and influence, and help us to produce who we are every single day.
But these are the ones that we're working with primarily in the text. As we think about the circuit of style, fashion, dress, throughout the book, we emphasize this model in the first couple of chapters. And then in the case studies, as we move through the different subjectivities in the subsequent chapters, we think through the circuit and the other aspects of it. So as we think about the flows between say production and consumption, or regulation and subject formation, we think about materials.
We think about the everyday creativity. One of the assumptions that we make in the text is related to the structure agency dynamic, which includes processes of persuasion, as well as consent, of resistance. But that we're always in this really interesting dynamic of regulation, as well as agency and expression through things like creativity.
So that agency comes in, that choice. But at the same time we are part of certain structures and regulations that are pushing against some of that. And of course, the cultural anxieties, there are so many cultural anxieties that impact the way that we appear in the world or that we work through in putting together what we choose to wear every day.
There are a lot of ambiguities that we must negotiate, ambiguity of meaning, for example. We might wear something or see someone. And that ambiguity is something we negotiate. And there's also the kinds of strategic ambiguities that are created by institutions through capitalism. And of course, ambivalence is a big theme. Because of course, we both love and hate fashion.
As Elizabeth Wilson says, just as we love and hate capitalism. And then of course, power, which as well is dynamic. It's ever-changing. And power structures are really shaping these relationships in the circuit of style, fashion, and dress. So the cover photo for the book was taken by one of my students, Simone Eloisa White. She is a fashion design student who traveled with me and my colleagues, Erica Johns and Fran Cozine, along with 12 other students to India in January 2020, right before the pandemic hit.
We were very fortunate to be able to spend about two and a half weeks in India traveling to many, many different factories along the apparel supply chain. Chain I think is an awful metaphor. Because it suggests that it's very linear and predictable. But in fact, what we learned in this trip is just how opaque these so-called chains are and how diverse they are in terms of factory sizes, and in terms of how a production line might be set up.
But what I really love about this photo, this was taken at a cut and sew facility owned by actually the sponsor of our trip. It was called Master Rao's Temple for Hope, Opportunity, and Happiness, was actually the name of the factory. And in this factory, we're walking up and down the production lines. Simone took this beautiful photo. And if we think about this image through the circuit of style, fashion, dress, we can see the ways in which dress is regulated, the hairnets and the masks.
We also see garment workers as fashion subjects. Each of the garment workers has self-fashioned in unique and different ways. So there's that structure agency, the choice and the creativity alongside the regulation. And you'll notice in her hair are these flowers, which are so fragrant.
And so she's wearing these flowers as a kind of perfume. And it reminds us that fashion isn't just what we wear or even how we wear it. It's all of those things and more. It's a multi-sensory experience that also involves scent. There's so much fashion to scent as well as the material, the physical, the feel, and of course, the visual.
There's often so much of an emphasis on the visual. We really like this image for bringing us back to some of the other senses, as well. And so you can see the machines. We see the production. So both producing and consuming fashion at the same time.
And so if we look back, this is an image from the Kiel Center, another one of Cornell's amazing archival resources. This is an image from around 1910 of garment manufacturing in New York City. And you can see there are some things that are quite different, but also some things that are quite similar. In a lot of ways, garment cut and sew, in terms of the production line, it's a very labor intensive process to cut and sew garments. And that's still the case today.
But as we'll hear from from Susan, a little bit later in the presentation she'll talk a little bit more about garment workers in New York City at this time. But another favorite image from the Kiel Center archives that really highlights the ways in which garment workers are also fashion subjects and the way that garment workers have used fashion in advocating for better working conditions.
Here we have a group of-- these are from the International Ladies Garment Workers Union records. And so these are ILGWU garment workers who are striking, or marching I should say, in solidarity with a strike that was actually happening across the country, a strike against manufacturer, Ganter and Mattern, which was in the late 1930s.
And so they're at a union convention. And they are saying, we do not buy these bathing suits. So clearly, the bathing suits they're wearing are made by another manufacturer. But they're literally wearing the fashions that they are referencing in this march. I think it's a really powerful image.
And so when we think about production, again, to suggest that it's a simple linear chain doesn't get at the complexities of working with fashion. These are all images taken in India over the last six or so years I've been teaching this course. We go every other year typically, when it's not a pandemic. And you can kind of get a sense here through all of these images a kind of supply chain, from fiber to fiber spinning, to the yarn, to the dyeing, warp beam preparation, warping looms, power looms, cutting fabric, cut and sew.
And of course, there are lots of different kinds of fabrics. This is illustrating a woven fabric sort of supply chain. But of course, there are knits. There are non-wovens. But it is a very complex process to get to the garment that you're wearing today.
And so what we're hoping to convey with this image is just how many people have touched the garment that you are wearing today, that there's so much human labor. And the fashion industry of course, has done an excellent job of creating this disconnect between production and consumption. So that we're not thinking about those many, many hands that have produced what it is that we're wearing.
And so part of our work in this text is redressing that production-consumption disconnect, but also thinking about the way all of the people who make our clothes are also fashioning their bodies every day and are also fashion subjects.
SUSAN B. KAISER: So the third chapter gets into the topic of intersectional, transnational fashion subjects. And again, kind of a theme of time and place comes up here. Because both images are representing involvement in the Black Lives Matter movement. The image on the left is at Hyde Park in London. And the one on the right is in Tokyo.
Notice the dates are very close, only six days apart. But also, there's the intersectionalities involved in the images, cross-cutting issues of race, sexuality, gender, and other kinds of subject positions. The image on the right specifically calls out issues of race and ethnicity.
Denise observed that the term melanin, in this case, refers not only to skin color. But it also kind of uses the graphics associated with the situation comedy, Friends. So it's a kind of an appropriation that comes into play, that she combines with a mask that is fashioned, or that has been fashioned, for the purpose of highlighting involvement in the BLM movement.
DENISE N. GREEN: The next chapter moves into thinking about fashion and national identity, and fashioning the national subject. So we know that women's bodies, in particular, have often been used to display the nation in different ways. We discuss national dress, and all of its problems, and the ways in which it produces ideas about the nation.
But we also use this chapter to think about decolonizing and how fashion has been used in different efforts to decolonize, from Gandhi in India, to examples like these two here. Both of these pieces-- one is a commemorative cloth on the left, one is a garment on the right-- they're both part of the Cornell Fashion and Textile Collection and come from right around the same time.
The one on the right is a shirt that says, non, non, non, non, non, non over, and over, and over again, or no and in French. It's done using batik techniques. So there's wax applied to the textile. And then it's dyed with indigo. There's a lot of indigo dyeing done in West Africa.
And it was worn in the months leading up to a 1958 constitutional referendum in Guinea. And that referendum to vote no would mean to decolonize from France. To vote yes would mean to remain a French colony.
And so this was really a political shirt to persuade people to vote no. And I believe it was 95% of Ghanaians voted no, and so decolonized to become the Republic of Guinea. And so the commemorative cloth on the left is commemorating the first president of the Republic of Guinea, Ahmed Sekou Toure. And it is appropriating St. George. And he's spearing, literally spearing the serpent that is colonialism.
The next chapter moves into thinking about racial rearticulations and ethnicities. The image actually on the left we used earlier in the text, before this chapter. But I bring it here in conversation with the image on the right of Patrick Kelly in 1988. This image was taken when Kelly was attending an event to support fundraising for research for HIV/AIDS.
And the image on the left is a pretty contemporary one from 2019 of Lil Nas X. And on the left, he's wearing this holographic fringe cowboy getup. And so his first big song was a country song, but had actually been banned, had been not allowed to be part of the country charts. So there was this sort of incredible expression there of exclusion of a Black performer who is combining and articulating country music with rap music.
And so we were thinking about, in this chapter, through re articulation the way that fashion can be used to make these articulations, or connecting points, between disparate styles and how it can also be used in the case of Patrick Kelly to re-appropriate and to reclaim racist imagery. And this is what Patrick Kelly does with the golliwog that became his logo.
And so he's wearing here jeans that are by Liberty. This was a brand of-- I shouldn't say jeans-- they're denim overalls, which as well is a reference back to the Civil Rights movement. So combining that with this rearticulation of the golliwog and reclaiming something that had been racist imagery and recreating a new meaning for it. And so there are a number of scholars that we referenced here, Eric Darnell Pritchard, as well as Sequoia Barnes, who write about the way that Kelly is not only reclaiming.
But also, Sequoia Barnes argues that this is a kind of camp aesthetic. So this is both a queering of, as well as a reclaiming. And similarly, with Lil Nas X as well, there's a kind of camp aesthetic going on. And then, of course, there's the transnational aspect, with Kelly very well known for wearing frequently this hat, which says Paris up rim. And he was the first American fashion designer to be invited to show his collections at Paris Ready to Wear Fashion Week.
SUSAN B. KAISER: So the next chapter focuses on religion. And it was a very, very challenging process. I went through-- I don't know-- 25-30 drafts or something. I was having trouble structuring it and ultimately, decided on the circuit as a way of structuring. And that enabled me to think about production, as well as all of the other parts of the circuit, including consumption.
Another challenge was one that I faced when I talked to people about drafting this chapter. And that was that religion, you know, it's oppositional to fashion. This image of the yarmulkes in Jerusalem on the left sort of points to the fact that religious dress does not exclude fashion necessarily.
And so what had happened since the 1980s, when Muslim fashion began to be marketed internationally by Turkish designers and the apparel industry, it just proliferated throughout the world. And by the 21st century had really taken hold. And so numerous scholars have written fabulous books, ethnographies, on Muslim fashion in various sites throughout the world.
So that area was really well documented in the literature. But what is not so well documented, or even discussed at all, is what we might think of as sort of unmarked dress, like Protestantism. And so the challenge was how to have a balance including multiple religions without structuring the chapter in that way. But this focus, including the circuit and production, allowed me also to draft the chapter talking about immigration and the important contributions of Jewish immigrants in New York City and beyond around the turn into the 20th century.
And so that was another way to kind of make these connections between production and consumption. And the next chapter was on class. And in this chapter, we really tried to, again, be very intersectional in our analysis. And here are just a few case studies. Karl Marx, of course, is famously known for highlighting abuses in production and labor issues. But here we draw on the historian, [INAUDIBLE], who did a really interesting analysis of Marx's own clothing and the coat that he had to get in and out of the pawn shop in order to have access, because of the class related dress code to get into the museum and library to where he needed to get his materials in London.
And also, here the image of the Sans-coulette during the French Revolution points to the importance of the interplay between class and gender and national identity, and how the revolution really shaped what is sometimes called the masculine renunciation of fashion. Denise, I think, was going to mention Awkwafina here.
DENISE N. GREEN: Yeah, so on the right is a screenshot from the 2018 film, Crazy Rich Asians. And so we wanted to also think about how fashion and how class is represented in Hollywood in films and television, and how that, of course, intersects with race, with nationality. And in this case, this particular character in the film sort of represents the nouveau riche. And the kind of costuming that was done for the character really kind of conveyed and reinforced. Stuart Hall is always thinking about, OK, what aspects of culture are being perpetuated? And what's being transformed?
And in a way, this sort of perpetuates this notion of the sort of gaudiness of nouveau riche and thinking about that through class. The next chapter we're thinking about gender. And the image on the left is me in 1985. That's just a few moments after I was born. They took me away in the hospital and in this institution. And they cleaned me up. And they scotch taped a pink bow to my head, the nurses, and then handed me back to my mother.
And this image has always really-- and the story of the scotch taped bow on my head-- really kind of epitomizes the way gender, of course, is assigned at birth by doctors et cetera. and institutions. But it's also marked through fashion. And so we're thinking about, in this chapter, the way gender is marked, but also how it's produced and performed, and how its ideas about gender are transformed as well.
And so the image on the right, of course, depicts the US Supreme Court justices back in 2005. And we write a little bit about Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the way that she used the judicial collar to both mark, but also to draw attention to the way-- it is marked. But all of the men in this image as well have neckwear. But because of the unmarked nature of that, we sort of don't notice it as much. So we write a little bit about that as well in the gender chapter.
And then we move into thinking about sexual subjectivities and style, fashion, dress, thinking about how bodies and sexualities are produced and conveyed. In the middle is a tank top that we use as a case study that's by a brand called Dykes in the City. This was actually an Ithaca brand, now defunct. This was from their Do Ask Do Tell collection in 2006. This was during the Iraq war.
And so it's both a critique of Don't Ask Don't Tell. But it's not about wanting to join the military. Because it's also a critique of the Iraq war. And so you see the image on the left, they're holding this bomb that's dripping with blood. And then, of course, the back saying, no to bombs, yes to bomb shells. We also highlight the work of queer activists, the gay liberation movement. We write about Marsha P. Johnson and have this really incredible image of her at the second annual Stonewall Anniversary March in 1971.
And of course, on the right, is Radclyffe Hall, author of The Well of Loneliness, in this sort of quintessential look that she wore. And she's with her partner, Una Troubridge. The next chapter that we at, this is a new chapter that was added to the text is a chapter on dressed embodiment. And in this chapter, we're thinking about the body both how it's been abstracted by the fashion industry, so things like sizing, and fit, and the way that size-ism has been perpetuated by the industry itself, both through the materiality, what is available, how things are made, how they're sized, and the discourses as well that perpetuate fatphobia in particular.
And so we talk about the way that bodies have been stigmatized and regulated. And then this new movement really to destigmatize and celebrate fat bodies and again, this kind of reclamation reclaiming a word that has historically been used as a pejorative. And in the case, for example, of Lindy West, who is photographed here in her wedding gown, she writes about coming out as fat and sort of taking this term from the queer community of coming out and coming out as fat.
And so she wears, in this image, this is her wedding dress, which she worked with a friend to co-design and to break all the rules that she had grown up being told, rules about how to minimize the body or to wear flowing garments so as not to draw attention. So she is wearing this really form fitting dress that really celebrates the body. And so writes about flaunting fat.
And so similarly, with the image we have Lizzo in this Moschino dress designed by Jeremy Scott, as well is playfully flaunting bodies. And in this chapter, we move from thinking about bodies and size-ism to ableism as well and how fashion and design really more generally this is a site of ableism. So really thinking about how fashion articulates with disability and how fashion can be a kind of opportunity to challenge and to create new garments.
So I think Susan is going to talk about the image on the right.
SUSAN B. KAISER: Yes, so Keisha Greaves founded this company called Girls Chronically Rock. And it was a way for her to herself deal with her own chronic illness and to draw on her background in fashion and business in college to create her own business with the strong support of her mother and to really bring out in a way kind of flaunt is the concept that we found to be kind of connective here.
This brought me back to some research I had done in the 1980s, which we drew on and tried to sort of update. Denise did a brilliant job of taking the lead on that chapter. But it was really important we thought to draw out issues of the body that are overlooked or really resented in fashion and discounted, and to really turn that around.
DENISE N. GREEN: And to also really think about the way that fashion can be a disabling environment and how to challenge that. So our final chapter, returning back to where we began this presentation today is called Bodies in Motion Through Time and Space. The image in the center actually is one from the previous chapter. And we talk about athletics, as well as bodily exceptionalism in that chapter. But it's sort of moving us into this final chapter both in its motion. But motion obviously, suggests movement through time and space.
And in that image, this is Olympian, Susie O'Neill, in a fast skin. And fast skin was a swimsuit designed by Speedo, this super high tech fabric that would reduce pull and enable the body to literally move faster through water. The images on the left are actually from shawls that were collected in 1882. They appear, in fact, in an earlier chapter on nation.
They're from the [INAUDIBLE] nations. And they were collected by anthropologists in the late 19th century and now are across the globe in the Ethnological Museum of Berlin. But what they depict is this kind of motion of trade, of exchange. There are three shawls. The one at the top is made of all materials that were sourced from the west coast of Vancouver Island from [INAUDIBLE], which is the word for traditional territories.
And then the one in the middle, incorporating different trade blankets that had been cut up and then this wrap twining technique. And then the one at the bottom is actually an entire blanket that had been unraveled and then rewoven-- or it's twining technically-- into the shawl in the typical silhouette that was fashionable at the time. And then the last image here is of Viktor and Rolf's Spring/Summer 2015 collection.
Viktor and Rolf are a Dutch fashion house. And what they did with this particular collection was sort of re-appropriate Dutch, the [INAUDIBLE] in particular, wax prints, which have a very complex history of appropriation, and production, and distribution to West Africa and other places. So we get into that specific case study as well through the circuit of style, fashion, dress.
And so we return here to the Mobius strip, as we close out our presentation. Again, to think through time and space and the way that we are embodying that through our fashion every day as fashion subjects, both subjected to, but also producing through our own intersectional subjectivities.
We want to say thank you to many, many people, all of you that are here today, but especially to our very generous colleagues and students. So many of our colleagues and students have read various parts of this, helped us in different ways, opened our eyes to a lot of the case studies that we dove into. And so we're really grateful to them and to our editor, Georgia Kennedy, and the team at Bloomsbury.
And we had a number of really wonderful reviews that helped us to develop the text in new and different ways. And then a thank you as well to Kimberly Jenkins, Ben Berry, Kelly Reddy-Best, and Patrizia Calefato for their reviews, which you can read in full on the Bloomsbury website. But they have their little, shorter versions on the back of the book.
Sarah Catterall did an amazing job with the index. We're so grateful to her. Of course, to our family and friends and the Cornell University Library, and the team at Mann for organizing this event today. So thank you all for coming. We would love to take any questions that you might have. And a reminder, you're welcome to use this discount code today to purchase your copy of the book. So that you can read with more depth about the case studies we sort of went over today, and many more.
So we'll gladly take any questions. Thank you.
SUSAN B. KAISER: Thank you.
EVELINE FERRETTI: Thank you. So right back at you both, Susan and Denise. And what a great talk and not only because you started it with that great shout out to the library stacks. Certainly love the whole talk.
DENISE N. GREEN: I was glad to see that there were a number of books that appeared to be missing from that [INAUDIBLE] stacks.
EVELINE FERRETTI: Yeah, yeah.
DENISE N. GREEN: My students are headed to the library and checking out books.
EVELINE FERRETTI: Yeah, I have to say that section of the stacks, that is definitely one of those ones where you're more likely to find the book, oh, it's in circulation. I'm going to have to recall it or get it borrowed direct, or something like that.
In any case, I am Eveline Ferretti. And I'm here to moderate the questions, or present the questions really that come in by a chat. I'll just reiterate that you are welcome to put in, if you have any questions, go ahead and put them in the chat. And I will be presenting them in the order received. And we have in fact, received a few already. So I'll go ahead and start with the first one.
And that came from Michael. Michael asked this. My question for Susan and Denise is, what level of student do you think the fabulous new release of the text is suited for?
DENISE N. GREEN: I would say it was written really for a kind of first, second year. It's very much a kind of introduction to fashion and cultural studies very broadly. And while it does dive into these very specific case studies, I think it's an excellent introduction for a first or second year course. What do you think, Susan?
SUSAN B. KAISER: So the first edition was used at every level, from the first year to graduate level with, of course, supplemental readings. So I think we tried to make it very accessible. And maybe in part, the way it's structured makes it a little bit easier for students to kind of connect the dots and to focus in on some concepts that they have some relationship to.
So our goal was to make it accessible at multiple levels.
EVELINE FERRETTI: OK, next question is from Alejandra. Are we all by definition fashion subjects? She's not too clear on how this concept is defined. If you could elaborate please.
DENISE N. GREEN: Short answer is yes, we are, whether we like it or not.
SUSAN B. KAISER: Yeah, the sociologist, Georg Semel, talked about how you can't get out outside of the fashion system. I mean, even if you resist it, you're still responding in some ways to fashion. So I think because we think of it as a collective process of change, even people who say they're really not fashion subjects-- and who goes around saying that anyway-- I think probably are not immune to changes. Because the marketplace itself makes it something that has to be reckoned with.
EVELINE FERRETTI: OK, so subjects meaning responding. In one way or the other, we respond to--
SUSAN B. KAISER: Yes, yes. Thank you.
EVELINE FERRETTI: This next question is from Tamara. Hello, everyone. I am doing my BA thesis on [INAUDIBLE] batik-- and I'm not sure if I'm pronouncing that correctly-- which is a new Asian hybrid fashion phenomenon combining Korean and Indonesian culture. Do you think there will be many more hybrid fashion phenomena in the future, like the one I'm writing about? And if so, why?
DENISE N. GREEN: I would say yes. Definitely one of the things that we write about in the book is hybrid styles and transculturation. Because inevitably, fashion is about ongoing change. And we're constantly being influenced by the people we meet, the things that we see. And there is this back and forth. And this goes very far back since the dawn of cultures moving, and seeing, and reacting, and communicating, and learning from one another.
And of course, there are the complexities of that too. We also write about issues of cultural appropriation and thinking about power and how that is working in these moments of hybrid styles and transculturation.
EVELINE FERRETTI: Thank you. Next question is from Elizabeth. You talked a lot about intersectionality. So I know you are already thinking in these terms. But can you talk more about how you are thinking about your own whiteness and queerness when thinking about gays and authorial editorial voices?
DENISE N. GREEN: Thank you, Bishop. Yeah, so we open the book in our acknowledgments really bringing this issue forward right away. Because of course, positionality and our own subjectivities are going to shape the text. And so we open up with this as a sort of framing around the entire text. And we certainly also use that space in this introductory part of the acknowledgments to welcome, challenge too to actually say that we are not the authority in fact, and that we welcome critique and challenge.
Because this is such an important part of what we do as academics is to constantly question. And this is ultimately, what we write about as well in thinking about cultural hegemony. And hopefully, this text will inspire students and other academics and whomever reads it to really begin to question critically and creatively what we take for granted as sort of "natural" or "normal" and realize that is in fact, a kind of production.
I don't know, Susan, if you have--
SUSAN B. KAISER: I just totally endorse everything you said, ditto.
EVELINE FERRETTI: All right, Sheba has a question for us. What differences would you find in the terminological use between and among dress, fashion, fabric, attire, apparel, and many other terms?
DENISE N. GREEN: I would actually say Susan's 1997 Social Psychology of Clothing book does a really good job-- I don't know if you remember this, Susan-- of sort of defining all of these different terms, apparel, attire, fabric. We don't necessarily do that in this text. But we do challenge some of the assumptions that are made around particular words, or some of the problems with, for example, the word costume can be really quite othering.
And so we do bring up some of those issues. But we don't actually go through and necessarily define all of those terms. And I think maybe Susan can speak to this, why we find Carol [? Tullick's ?] concept of style, fashion, dress is so powerful is that it doesn't necessarily hold any one of these terms to a specific static definition, but really thinks about them as relational and whole in part.
SUSAN B. KAISER: Exactly, I mean, this has really been a big theme in the field, just debating different terms. What are departments called? What are programs called? What are the pros and cons of terms? And so as Denise said, Carol Tulloch's style, fashion, dress concept reminds us to think about parts and wholes. Sometimes we focus more on one than another. But they're all kind of present. And we kind of wanted to kind of move away from choosing one term as the one that should be used.
DENISE N. GREEN: And I think another thing that we're trying to do when we open up the book in the first chapter is challenging the idea that fashion is a Euro-American phenomenon. So we right off the bat open up and expand our definition of fashion, again, as a way to decenter that narrative of sort of white, European, American as what fashion is. And then everything else is traditional dress.
So we sort of break down all of these binaries at the beginning and sort of blow them apart and then approach from there.
EVELINE FERRETTI: Great. This question from Katherine. Great presentation. Thank you. Were there any fashion style issues about which you as collaborators fundamentally disagreed?
DENISE N. GREEN: Hmm, good question.
SUSAN B. KAISER: That is a good question.
DENISE N. GREEN: We enjoy thinking through things together, I think. And so I think disagreement is actually a really productive thing, when it doesn't end up getting polarized, where you're not open to changing your mind. And I think both Susan and I have, I hope, I like to think that we're-- myself, speaking for myself-- but I want to be challenged. And I want to be pushed to question my assumptions and to question things that I've, again, taken for granted as just the way things are.
And so I think we have a good collaborative relationship in that sense that when we come to each other with a critique, we know it's from a place of hope to develop our scholarship and to make it more justice oriented. Because if we keep doing things the way we always did, we're going to end up reproducing these systems of oppression. But specific-- I don't think.
SUSAN B. KAISER: Not anything major. Maybe a word choice here or there or challenging each other to come up with different examples or something like that, or case studies.
DENISE N. GREEN: I tried to make Susan smile for her picture that we took for the poster.
SUSAN B. KAISER: Yeah, that was an issue.
DENISE N. GREEN: We disagree about that. She did smile. It was just not with teeth. Oh, Eveline, I think you're muted.
EVELINE FERRETTI: Oh muted, sorry, yes. OK, terrific presentation. This is from John. Terrific presentation. It was a wonderful survey of the diversity of style, fashion subjects. I was wondering if you could discuss some contrast to, for example, the Jewish versus Islamic examples you gave?
DENISE N. GREEN: I'll let Susan do that. And I notice Janet Hawthorne has a request for the code. So I'm going to look that up and type it in the chat.
SUSAN B. KAISER: Could you read the question again, the last part?
EVELINE FERRETTI: Yes, it was, I was wondering if you could discuss some contrasts to, for example, the Jewish versus Islamic examples you gave? Sorry, there's a second part of that question. And how that illuminates the creation process?
SUSAN B. KAISER: Right, so I'd have to say in terms of what has been studied and what's available in the literature, there is a whole lot more on kind of the consumer side of Muslim fashion. Although, production and distribution are there as well. So I'd say in terms of what was available to analyze, there was just much more on Muslim fashion.
And with respect to Jewish fashion, it comes back to that issue of that continuum unmarked to marked. So it was actually the more orthodox forms of Jewish dress, such as Hasidic, that tend to be studied, not the less marked you might say forms of Jewish styles. So in that way, there was just some difference in the way people have paid attention to the subjects.
EVELINE FERRETTI: All right, wonderful. So this question is from Susan. I think we have-- how many more questions do we have? Just a couple more. And I think we might have time for the last two questions here. A question from Susan. As someone raised in the '50s, I lived for decades with the Barbie doll image of what bodies should look like. The current generation's acceptance of all body types in many fields, including high fashion is fascinating to me. Where do you see this trend heading? And how is it migrating into different fields? For example, in the 1980s, there was a lot of research into how women needed to dress to get a job. Have corporations also begun to ignore appearance in their hiring?
SUSAN B. KAISER: So could you restate the last part of the--
EVELINE FERRETTI: I apologize. Yes. The question is, where do you think this trend, the acceptance of all body types, how is it migrating into different fields? And the last part of it is, have corporations themselves also begun to ignore appearance in hiring?
SUSAN B. KAISER: Yeah, so I do think the trend is going in a good direction to, as Denise talked about, to be more inclusive of multiple body types, shapes, sizes, abilities. And corporations, at least some, are really trying to highlight diversity, equity, and inclusion in ways probably that is getting into that.
The fashion industry, I mean, it's making some attempts to move in that direction. There's probably a whole-- or there's really a long way to go on that. With respect to the Barbie situation and the body types, from that, my four-year-old granddaughter really wanted a Barbie dream house for Christmas. So I found myself getting her one, being nostalgic for my own times with it.
But yeah, the body size issue, those issues are very real and still continuing in the way there's a distortion involved in that.
DENISE N. GREEN: Yeah, one of the things that Lindy West writes about in her book, Shrill, is the importance of just seeing more different kinds of-- the whole range. And the media has been so dominated by the same kinds of bodies of white, thin, young, wealthy women as representing what fashion is and seeing that image over and over and over again.
And so when we start to see that discourse shift, there's a proliferation of so many more possibilities. And this creates a kind of opportunity for greater inclusion and being able to see and connect, and to feel a connection to something and not to feel completely and totally excluded.
EVELINE FERRETTI: Yes, yes, very good. So this is going to be our last question from Nina. Hello, Susan and Denise. Following up on the question regarding collaborative disagreements and thinking through together, how did your collaboration reshape the nature and content of this new edition?
DENISE N. GREEN: Well, I think it's also about time and space. I want to point out that we did so much of this work during the pandemic. And I think we had aspired to do a lot more of it before the pandemic. But the way that the world shifted in that moment it really enabled us, I think, Susan, to dive deeper into-- just like we talked on the phone a lot. And in terms of how that reshaped, this was a really I mean, both a pandemic, but also the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police officers, then the way the pandemic was having impacts on the fashion industry and garment workers.
And so there's just so much going on. And at the same time, there was also nothing going on. Because you couldn't go anywhere or do anything. And so that context enabled us to really get into some of these issues. And so I think that's a big part of the reshaping was thinking about what was happening in the contemporary moment that we were writing. And the challenge, of course, with writing about fashion is fashion is always changing.
So we'll have another edition I'm sure in the future. I don' know, Susan, if you have anything.
SUSAN B. KAISER: I totally agree. The collaboration dramatically transformed the original book. And I'm very grateful for Denise's involvement. And as she said, almost daily interactions certainly at least by text and so much of it was sort of unfolding as we were writing and reflecting. And we did spend a lot of time zeroing in or drilling down on a lot of issues that were happening at the time.
DENISE N. GREEN: Well, thank you all so much for attending this afternoon.
SUSAN B. KAISER: Thank you. Thanks for the great questions.
SARAH WRIGHT: There we go. Thank you. Thank you, Eveline, for moderating the Q&A. And thank you both, Denise and Susan, for a wonderful presentation and for allowing us to share in the celebration of your new books released today. I'm also very grateful to our audience for joining us. And I hope that everyone enjoyed this event as much as I did.
I should note that this book talk has been recorded. And in a couple of weeks time, it will be available as part of our Chats in the Stacks playlist on Mann Library's YouTube channel. The URL for which my colleague has either put in the chat or will be putting in the chat really soon. So if any of someone who would have liked to have been here but couldn't, please feel free to share that information with them.
Finally, Cornell University Library spring book talk series will start up again this coming February. So for a preview of how that roster is shaping up and with an eye towards saving some dates, please check out the book talk page, also now being typed into the chat panel. I thank you all, again, for coming and wish you all a wonderful evening and a very safe winter holiday season ahead. Take care, everybody.
DENISE N. GREEN: Bye.
SUSAN B. KAISER: Bye, bye.
ANNOUNCER: This has been a production of Cornell University Library.
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Fashion can be considered from cultural, technical, and theoretical perspectives. In a virtual Chats in the Stacks book talk hosted by Cornell University’s Mann Library in December 2021, Denise N. Green and Susan B. Kaiser discuss their book, Fashion and Cultural Studies, 2nd Edition, which explores how race, ethnicity, class, gender, and other identities are woven into the clothes we wear.Green is an associate professor of fashion design and the director of Cornell Fashion + Textile Collection in Cornell’s College of Human Ecology, and Kaiser is professor emerita of design, textiles, and clothing, and Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies at the University of California, Davis. Drawing from intersectionality in feminist theory and cultural studies, they interrogate the complex entanglements of production, regulation, distribution, consumption, and subject formation within and through fashion.