"Capital has been chasing after fashion's movements after its novelty and trends since it set its eyes on colonizing the entire world. Fashion has been the means, the vehicle, the driver of capital from the outset. Without fashion, I contend, capital would not exist." -T’ai Smith
For this third intervention 'Transition', State of Fashion and guest-editor Warehouse | A place for Clothes in Context organized the online streaming event Whataboutery 03: 'Fashion against Capitalism'. In this Whataboutery practitioners Aïcha Abbadi, Shanzhai Lyric and Chinouk Filique de Miranda, elaborated on their individual contributions to the multilogue which revolves around critical explorations of non-industrial and non-capitalist fashion. In this conversation, led by sociologist, fashion theorist and culture critic Monica Titton, T’ai Smith author of soon to be published book Fashion After Capital joined the discussion to deepen their perspectives and share their thoughts on the agency of practitioners.
Together they engaged in a conversation around the possibilities of the future, how can practitioners disrupt the disruptive cycle of the fashion industry? What could be ways, strategies and tools to create an alternative approach to fashion? In T’ai Smith’ words:
"Fashion needs to redefine itself entirely. It will need a new ontology for a new set of practices - a new direction, a new path. Not one based on growth or on change-for-change's its sake, but perhaps as Aïcha and Chinouk and Shanzhai Lyric suggest: an identity based in relationships and mutual exchange."
Dr. Monica Titton is a sociologist, fashion theorist and culture critic. She currently works as a Senior Scientist at Modeklasse, the Fashion Department of the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Her work develops a critical, sociological perspective at the intersections of fashion, politics, art and identity.
Aïcha Abbadi explores fashion’s boundaries through theory and practice and reflects on the discipline itself. She is interested in niche fashion practices and alternative ways of making and being in fashion. She is also invested in neighbourhood initiatives in Berlin that create shared community spaces and foster active participation, for creative, culturally and socially diverse environments.
Chinouk Filique de Miranda is design researcher and critical fashion practitioner and explores the crossover between the fashion system and digital culture by focusing on introducing digital literacy in fashion. In her on-going research project ‘The Algorithmic Gaze’ the digitization of fashion and the new ways the fashion system and its consumers connect and communicate through newly acquired technological rhythms is explored and explained.
Shanzhai Lyric is a body of research focusing on radical logistics and linguistics through the prism of technological aberration and nonofficial cultures. The project takes inspiration from the experimental English of shanzhai t-shirts made in China and proliferating across the globe to examine how the language of counterfeit uses mimicry, hybridity, and permutation to both revel in and reveal the artifice of global hierarchies. Through an ever-growing archive of poetry-garments, Shanzhai Lyric explores the potential of mis-translation and nonsense as utopian world-making (breaking) and has previously taken the form of poetry-lecture, essay, and installation.
T’ai Smith is associate professor of modern and contemporary art history and media studies at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. She has lectured and published internationally on textile art, design, and theory. Smith is currently working to complete two book manuscripts: Fashion After Capital and Textile Media: Tangents from Modern to Contemporary Art.
Tips from the panellists
Download the tips here.
Video via Chinouk Filque de Miranda from her on-going research project The Algorithmic Gaze.