This panel explores the changing expressions and local meanings of textiles and crafts which move across the boundaries of particular areas or groups in the process of global marketing, heritage formation and incorporation into the fashion worlds.
This panel explores the changing meanings and practices involving handmade textiles and other crafts within the spectrum of producing and consuming ends. In many parts of the world, cloth making has provided an important source of income for villagers and small-scale entrepreneurs. At the same time, such textiles are often embedded in local cultural realms by constituting daily clothing and ceremonial wardrobes. In the accelerated process of globalization, however, such textiles and crafts have been incorporated into the global market in various forms including souvenirs, fair trade items, and materials for international as well as national designers' clothing. Part of the consequences of this development can be seen in the cases in which local producers cease to use their own products in their day-to-day lives and turn instead to modern, Westernized clothes. Also, when these textiles lose cultural and economic appeal for both producers and users who no longer understand their socio-cultural significance, the production of such textiles inevitably declines. On the other hand, urban population may become aware of the value of their traditional clothing as part of their own "heritage" by realizing that people from outside their communities/nations appreciate those items. There is also a negotiated process concerning the introduction of new techniques, changes in labour organisation and the appropriation of authentic motifs. How do the producers respond to these changes, which may, in turn, transform local understanding of the objects they produce? We invite papers that deal with various aspects involved in such processes.