Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture (Journal)

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication Peer-reviewAcademic


Volume number: 24 The trope of the “fashion capital” or “fashion city” is used frequently, but scholars have only recently begun to discuss its articulation in different forms. Studies of fashion cities have looked at the spaces and agglomerations of fashion design, manufacture, marketing, and retail, but the relationships between these different urban spaces, and their fluctuations in form remain a growing, but under-researched, area of consideration. Employing an interdisciplinary approach, combining business history, economic history, fashion studies and economic geography, this special issue aims to present a burgeoning perspective. It focuses on the spatial and transnational dimensions of the industry, taking a long-term historical perspective—from Paris in the late nineteenth century to Turin and London in the early-mid twentieth century—while also providing provocations addressing how we could define and study fashion cities. The first article of this special issue introduces us to the rise and evolution of the first Italian fashion capital, the city of Turin during the period 1900–1960. Business historians Elisabetta Merlo and Mario Perugini place the rise of Turin within a broader context, considering external sources of change represented by the evolution of regulatory frameworks and public policies at the national level, especially those of the Fascist period. In the second paper, fashion historian Bethan Bide addresses London’s repositioning from a production center to a symbolic fashion capital and this change’s placement within a period of history often overlooked for its austerity label. Media historian Sophie Kurkdjian broadens the understanding of Paris’ nature as a fashion capital from that of a homogenous center radiating fashion outwards toward the rest of the world, to a melting pot where diverse skills, cultures, and inspirations came together to form what we know as French fashion, in both business and taste. The final article of this special issue, written by urban and historical geographer David Gilbert and economic geographer Patrizia Casadei, aims to challenge uncritical use of the “fashion city” and “fashion capital” concepts.
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