Obesity is about more than stigma, it is about exceeding one’s social space.
How do the sartorial choices made by Muslim men also reflect and reproduce particular ideas and societal norms? In my own work with young Muslims I found that men’s dress was just as meaningful women’s clothing and likewise is in conversation with larger issues of gender, religion, and power as well as race and belonging.
It’s easy to hate the bloggers. At New York Fashion Week, the premier semi-annual industry event where brands display their wares six months before they hit the stores, they often show up in packs. They strut down the sidewalk, clutching handbags and smartphones, hair streaming behind them, sleeves swaying in the breeze, while dozens of street style photographers crouch down to get shots of them. Bloggers—now often referred to with the more expansive and ambiguous title of “influencers”—are an annoyance to many industry insiders, their look-at-me antics distracting from the “serious business” of fashion. But at Fashion Week, bloggers no longer stand out. They are not anomalies, but prototypes, embodying and exemplifying the way the labor of fashion is done today.
Corseting in the popular imagination is rife with myths: it was a distinctly upper-class practice; women frequently died from having their laces tied too tight; the garment was inherently exotic or erotic in nature. However, what we think we know about the cultural and physical effects of corseting in the 18th and 19th centuries diverges somewhat from the evidence, and can create a discourse lacking in accuracy and scientific rigor.
Fashion has an uncanny way of conjuring the histories and memories of people and geographies—of other places in other times—for the people work to make fashion. For me, fashion is not only an object of academic inquiry, but also a way of seeing and being with people who communicate through materiality: Cloth is the center of livelihood.
Dress is personal, symbolic, and multifaceted; it is tied to taste, emulation, production, and consumption. How one covers and adorns the body is a powerful statement of political and personal identities.