Marks & Spencer is an institution synonymous with quality, reliability, and customer care. But do we associate it with "fashion"? Drawing on previously unpublished company archives,Fashion for the People considers the company's contribution to British--and, since the 1970s, international--fashion. The author discusses how, from the 1920s, Marks & Spencer brought fashion to the high street, offering well-designed clothing at affordable prices. She examines the unique ways in which the company has democratized fashion, arguing that its pioneering role in the development of new fabrics, the employment of designers as consultants and its marketing and promotional strategies have changed the ways in which we understand and consume fashion. Marks & Spencer is not just a stalwart of the British high street. As this book shows, it has also brought fashion to the masses.
This book seeks to address and fill a puzzling omission in contemporary critical IR scholarship. Following on from the aesthetic turn in IR, critical and 'postmodern' IR has produced an impressive array of studies into movies, literature, music and art and the way these media produce, mediate, and represent international politics. By contrast, the proponents of the aesthetic turn have consistently overlooked and ignored fashion as a source of knowledge about global politics.
Yet stories about the political role of fashion abound in the news media. In Afghanistan, the terror of the Taliban regime and the plight of women was illustrated by reference to the burqa that women are supposedly forced to wear there. In Sudan, recently a female writer and activist successfully challenged the government over her right to wear trousers in public. In Europe, the debate on women's headscarves has politicised a garment item and turned it into a symbol of fundamentalism and oppression. In the war on terror, orange jumpsuits are used on both sides to dehumanise and mark the figure of the 'detainee'. Yet the politics of fashion go beyond these examples of the uses and abuses of textiles and fabrics for political purposes, extending into its very 'grammar' and vocabulary.
The contributions to this book will investigate the politics of fashion from a variety of perspectives, addressing theoretical as well as empirical issues, establishing the critical study of fashion and its protagonists as a central contribution to the aesthetic turn in international politics.
This work will be a unique contribution to the field and will be of interest to students and scholars of international relations, critical IR theory and popular culture and world politics.
In 1874, Stéphane Mallarmé, the great French poet, undertook a highly idiosyncratic project--the publication of a fashion magazine called La Dernière Mode (The Latest Fashion)--that he almost single-handedly compiled. Using a variety of feminine and masculine pseudonyms to theorize about fashion and to advise on popular vacation destinations, home furnishings, and entertainment, Mallarmé created a spectacularly original work. The distinguishing feature of Mallarmé's magazine is that it explores the nature of fashion from the inside. While it is a genuine fashion magazine, it also satirizes the entire genre. Various theories have been entertained about the work: it has been viewed as a prose poem, a hoax, and a cynical money-making venture. Furbank and Cain, however, argue that such guesses are hopelessly off the mark. Complete with the original artwork and a contextualizing introduction and commentary, this is the definitive translation of one of French literature's greatest enigmas.
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