Accepted Paper:

Fashioning style and tradition in India  
Meherose Borthwick (University of Sydney)

Paper short abstract:

As I prepare for my PhD fieldwork in a Rajasthani textile printing town, this paper explores intersections between heritage clothing and textile production in India and the global fashion industry.

Paper long abstract:

Practices of heritage fabric production are often framed in national and economic terms as keeping regional traditions alive. At the same time styles that replicate elements of non-Western textile handicrafts are regularly incorporated within contemporary global fashion trends. Local industry, government and other concerned groups in non-Western locales work to preserve cloth handcrafts. As the title of Tarlo's (1996) classic monograph announces, clothing matters. In India, distinctions of caste and region are added to those of class, gender and religion making a complex array of difference expressed in dress. The effects of economic liberalisation beginning in the late 1980s has progressively transformed many aspects of Indian life. Do moves towards preservation of heritage handcrafts invest new life or foreground the dying out of regional practices of dress? How can we understand the effects on people of changing practices of local dress? Based on pre-fieldwork research for a study in a Rajasthani textile printing town, this paper examines how anthropology has approached heritage dress practices and commoditization of traditional styles within contemporary global fashion developments in India and other non-Western locations.

Panel P05
ANSA postgraduate panel