Critical Studies in Fashion & Beauty 9.2 is now available
Thursday, January 31, 2019

Critical Studies in Fashion & Beauty 9.2 is now available

Intellect is happy to announce that Critical Studies in Fashion & Beauty 9.2 is now available! For more information about the issue, click here >>

9.2 Content

There is more to fashion than meets the eye: The invisible aspects of visual culture
Authors: Efrat Tseëlon


The revitalization of a craft economy: The case of Scottish knitting
Authors: Jade Halbert

In the 1980s, Vivienne Weir knitted for money at home, her skills – little remunerated – realizing in luxurious yarns the fashionable imaginings of a local designer. In 2018, Kate Davies knits at home, her skills the foundation of a successful eponymous knitwear design, yarn production and publishing business. What separates these women is more than time – in contemporary Scotland, knitting is a valid and valued entrepreneurial pursuit, and so-called home-knitters form part of a vast network of crafters whose turn from home-craft to design-focused entrepreneurship represents a significant contribution to the £1 billion per annum that the fashion and textile industries generate for Scotland. Through analysis of the business activities of both women, collected through personal testimony interviews, this article examines the revitalization of knitting in Scotland as a viable and lucrative entrepreneurial activity. It compares and contrasts the historical case study of Vivienne who was not afforded the opportunity to realize her potential and make a business from her skills, with the contemporary story of Kate who has translated her skills in hand-knitting and passion for design into a profitable enterprise. It argues that the revitalization of the craft economy of knitting in Scotland has been galvanized by the rise of a new generation of knitters determined to rewrite the Scottish aesthetic lexicon in knitwear design; a new appreciation for the heritage and tradition of skilled knitting, and a newfound understanding of the economic, social and cultural value of knit-craft. In an age of increasing automation in fashion and textiles, and concerns around the social and environmental impacts of mass-manufacturing, this article demonstrates the importance of a dynamic craft economy in knitting to the Scottish fashion and textile industries.

The article and the research undertaken focus on the particularities of Scottish hand-knitting through the two case studies and the specific context of Scottish developmental initiatives. However, it is also intended to indicate the resonances of this specific research with other instances of the burgeoning of ‘traditional’ craft practices and products (often undertaken by women) as marketable within a global environment. Such marketability involves complex interactions between notions of the ‘traditional’, cultural identity and affiliation and how these might be displayed or affirmed in clothing (by designers/producers and consumers). The notion of ‘authenticity’ and how this interacts with ideas of innovation and the fashionable are also explored, along with the importance of the Internet and social media to the success, or otherwise, of such entrepreneurial endeavours.

The semiotics of fashion design: A proposal for higher education
Authors: M. Graça Guedes And  Andreana Buest

Although the role of semiotics was established as a tool to interpret fashion as a communication system, as a discipline it is virtually absent from the curricula of graduate and postgraduate programmes. In this article, we argue that semiotics can provide epistemological support for the development of a framework for fashion design education. Semiotics is required not only as a tool for designers to (re)interpret the complex and often abstract or conceptual/emotional relations between the design object (clothes) and the wearer, but also as a creative tool. We propose a framework where semiotic analysis is present throughout the structures of fashion design higher education programmes, in order to offer adequate support to fashion design projects. We also discuss the facets of semiotics relevant for fashion design, with an emphasis on the perspective of higher education settings.

Politics and business in the history of a false teeth company, 1880s–1950s
Authors: David De Vries

The history of one firm dedicated to the development, manufacture and sale of false teeth might not immediately seem relevant to current topics and concerns within the study of fashion and beauty. ‘Good’ teeth have become important aesthetically and practically, in ‘real’ life and in media imagery. They pervade the catwalk, the media and the beauty industry. The ‘falseness’ of false teeth is not just a matter of utility but also of looking good, and has become part of the necessary toolkit of a person who knows how to take care of themselves, and look attractive. False teeth must look ‘real’ but also perfect (better than real), since they represent both the desire for physical perfection and for enhancement that is not detectible as false. Alongside prosthetics and cosmetic surgery, false teeth have come to be legitimate tools of bodily enhancement. The term ‘Hollywood smile’ partly refers to that ideal of flawless perfection.

This article is an analysis of ‘naturalization’ in several senses, involving migration of knowledge, technological advances, skills and capital between differing legislative, business and political environments – from Eastern Europe and the United States towards the end of the nineteenth century, and between Philadelphia and Palestine shortly after World War I. This historical investigation traces the aspirations, ideals and political motivations of a family, its founder and the firm they built up – the American Porcelain Tooth Company (APTC) – which became internationally renowned after its relocation from Philadelphia to Tel Aviv in Palestine, then under the British Mandate, after World War I.

The specific history and context of this company aims to shed new light on issues of globalization that are key to contemporary concerns in the fashion and beauty industries but are not captured by the study of technological inventions, marketing strategies or consumer preferences. The article interrogates the complex political negotiations and adaptations involved in such a migration. It proposes that beyond the specific historical context of the case examined here, attention paid to political aspects provides an essential methodological component and an added dimension to our understanding of the dynamics of the fashion and beauty market.


Fashion prediction: An interview with Regina Lee Blaszczyk
Authors: Efrat Tseëlon

Book Report
Authors: Rachel Worth

Clothing and Landscape in Victorian England: Working-Class Dress and Rural Life, Rachel Worth (2018)