Like I already mentioned, Threadbared is probably my all-time favorite fashion blog, because the authors Minh-ha T. Pham and Mimi Thi Nguyen, both academics, really investigate fashion from a sociological and theoretical perspective. They have written amazing essays about the intersections between race, gender, and sexuality vis-a-vis the fashion industry and fashion as cultural production. Nguyen teaches this course, the Politics of Fashion, at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and it really makes me wish I could go back to school just to take this class. (Personal note: I was accepted to the M.A. Fashion Studies program at Parsons the New School for Design but had to decline for personal reasons. I am still unsure if it was the right decision, but that’s beside the point here.)
So anyway, for anyone who shares my interest in the politics of fashion, here’s an amazing syllabus/reading list to start with.
Here are some other recommendations from my own personal reading list (a couple that I have not yet had a chance to read):
- The Beautiful Generation: Asian Americans and the Cultural Economy of Fashion by Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu, who is also a former professor of mine and a close collaborator with the Threadbared duo
- Re-Orienting Fashion: The Globalization of Asian Dress by Sandra Niessen, Ann Marie Leshkowich, and Carla Jone
- Body Dressing by Joanne Entwistle and Elizabeth Wilson
- China Chic by Vivienne Tam
- China Chic: East Meets West by Valerie Steele and John Major (although I personally hate the phrase “East meets West” - maybe I’ll get into that at another point)
- Subculture: The Meaning of Style by Dick Hebdige
Lastly, I highly recommend this video from UC Berkeley students that really explores the problems behind cultural appropriation and the use of Asian motifs in Western consumerism: Yellow Apparel: When the Coolie Becomes Cool.