IFFTI 2020: Between Individual and Society. THE COMMUNITY


So much of consumption and the pursuit of a fashioned identity center on the formation of communities either by proximity or within the digital space. The study of consumption and consumer perceptions are an incredibly important part of the fashion industry’s ability to shape a socially just and environmentally protected future. Rose Marroncelli, Naomi Brathwaite, Anthony Kent, and Vanessa Brown in the paper ‘The T-Shirt: From Protest to Environmental Activism’ focuses on the relationship of consumption and the representation of identity. The use of the ubiquitous T-shirt provides a platform of subtext beyond the graphic displayed on the shirt to messages of authenticity to where and how the T-shirt was produced or purchased.

The paper ‘Examination of Fashion Practicality and Sociality Among Acculturating Indonesian Domestic Workers in Hong Kong’ by Magnum Lam, Eric Li, Man-yin Chung and Wing-sun Liu interview migrant workers who struggle to negotiate acculturation in their dress as a representation of their personal and cultural identity. They found a renewed sense of self due to the closeness of their micro-community within the larger society. Karen Cross in ‘Womenswear Well-Being Warriors: A Content Analysis of Female-Targeted Activewear Brands on Instagram’ examines the fashion industry’s use of branding to communicate a sense of female bonding, self-empowerment, and self-efficacy through athleisure clothing. Milan Shahani and Vladimira Steffek in ‘Refashioning Adaptive Clothing for Persons Living with Hemiparesis’ call for attention paid to the community of women who struggle with a lack of affordable and stylish clothing that particularly caters to their needs. In all three of these examples of micro-communities, the research suggests the essential components of support, communication, and collaboration allow for self-expression and individuality.

Craft practice and community are being focused on by researchers who see a reemergence of traditions which have often become marginalized in the global economy due to the emphasis on mechanization and fast profit. Elisa Palomino-Perez, Edwin Phiri, and Katrin Maria Káradóttir examine the use of traditional fish leather tanning practices in Iceland in the paper ‘Indigenous Fish-Skin Craft Revived Through Contemporary Fashion.’ Here the authors focus on sustainable fashion companies’ use of a traditional craft practice which brings important monetary opportunities to the community. The use of craft has become a powerful opportunity for women who find themselves limited by their status in society. Sreenanda Palit explains in ‘Indigenous Practices and Activism: Challenging the Social Algorithm of India’ that while craft has been used as a traditional political symbol, it has been largely defined by a patriarchal and colonial definition. Here it is suggested that craft can be a tool for independence and autonomy for women in India. Similarly, Pragya Sharma in ‘Untapped: Exploring Craft Potential of Urban Women Through Technology Intervention’ explores how technology can enable groups of talented Indian women, who are confined by marriage, to create a monetized community and individual independence. Alternatively, Ekta Gupta and Vandana Bhandari examine what happens when women are no longer allowed to participate in their own craft traditions and social customs in the ‘Dowries of Kutch: Rabari Tradition.’

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