Letter from the Editors
In our contemporary socio-political context, the idea of fashion in relation to celebration is counterintuitive. Previous issues of BIAS have tackled themes of Healing, Politics, Surveillance, and most recently, Violence. As fashion studies scholars, we often gravitate toward more critical perspectives on fashion and the way it functions both as a social system and as an industry. While this kind of critical analysis and research is imperative if we are to interrogate the problems inherent to the world we live in, it is also important to understand the ways in which fashion has the potential to function as a positive social instrument as well.
The fifth issue of BIAS aims to address this potential by exploring the ways in which fashion can be used to celebrate diverse aspects of identity. Whether it is design for disability, queer visibility, or racial diversity, or as a job market that welcomes minorities especially, fashion can be used as a tool to increase awareness and accessibility for diverse identities within the fashion system.
Some of the essays in this issue address the ways in which fashion design can be used to celebrate various aspects of identity. These range from the importance of traditional tatreez embroidery to identity in the Palestinian diaspora, to design to raise awareness for Sickle Cell Anemia, to projects celebrating body positivity and diversity in the fashion silhouette. Some deal with design as a means with which to develop more inclusive solutions in fashion, such as a research project to aid in design for people who use wheelchairs and an essay on the role of the handbag in women’s liberation. Other projects are concerned with the labor opportunities certain at-risk subjects have had because of fashion and how fashion studies can help build a system of celebration and inclusion.
Can fashion be a space for celebration?
Alani Gaunt and Camila Abisambra
BIAS Editors, 2017