Fashion and Politics Djurdja Bartlett, Serkan Delice, Rhonda Garelick, Erica de Greef, Jin Li Lim, Gabi Scardi, Anthony Sullivan, Carol Tulloch, Jane Tynan, Barbara Vinken

Publication date:
27 Aug 2019
Yale University Press
240 pages: 254 x 190mm
120 color illus.
Sales territories:

A timely and splendidly illustrated global exploration of the complex intersections of fashion and politics from the mid-19th century to the present day

Taking a multifaceted look at a topic of widespread fascination, this pioneering book presents new research on the intersection of fashion and politics through incisive essays by the field’s leading voices, including both renowned and emerging fashion scholars. The texts unpack fashion between the mid-19th century and today as expressions of nationalism, terrorism, surveillance, and individualism, as well as a symbol of capitalism.
The first section explores the political potential of fashion despite its immutable status as a commodity. The second section offers a historical account of the political nature of dress, such as the fashion of dissent within Mao’s Cultural Revolution and the Black Panther movement. The ways bodies are defined by dress—the entanglement of oppression and expression—is the theme of the third section. A fourth and final section explores contemporary issues in the practice and theory of dress, from the processes of decolonizing museum collections to the recent sartorial styles of Europe’s political Left. The book’s incisive and beautifully illustrated essays provide a timely investigation of an underdeveloped topic through a variety of historical and current formats, including public and personal archives, fashion magazines, political newspapers, museum displays, art, and social media.

Djurdja Bartlett is reader in histories and cultures of fashion at the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London.

"Fashion and Politics makes for an insightful and thorough investigation of the two for all those interested in exploring the way hard politics can play out in the soft power of culture."— Rena Niamh Smith, Socialist Review

“The book features 120 colour images, making it a brilliant combination of both intensely academic scholarship and a visually interesting piece to have on display...Fashion and Politics is engaging and thought provoking, and could be read and reviewed multiple times yielding new insights upon repeated reading.”—Dr. Andrea J. Severson, The Journal of Dress History


“Not only thought-provoking but also beautifully presented and integrated by a rich body of precious visual references, Fashion and Politics is undeniably an essential reading…It is a thorough, rigorous and insightful study of this crucial relationship from a variety of perspectives, which can open further and much needed conversations on the multi-faceted nature of fashion’s deep political dimension."—Flavia Loscialpo, Fashion Theory