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Futures of African textile and fashion markets 
Ute Röschenthaler (JGU Mainz)
Kristin Kastner (LMUMunich University)
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Anthropology (x) Futures (y)
Philosophikum, S83
Friday 2 June, -, -
Time zone: Europe/Berlin

Short Abstract:

This panel seeks to explore possible futures of African textile and fashion markets by looking at past and contemporary dynamics of mobility, creativity and resilience in producing and trading fabrics and fashion in an entangled world.

Long Abstract:

Scenarios of the death of artisanal fabric productions, the breakdown of local textile companies and the swamping of African markets by European second-hand clothing and cheap Chinese products are well known and rather paint a pessimist picture. Concomitantly, however, African fashion and fabric production are multiplying and have attracted growing attention, not only on the African continent but also internationally. These dynamics reflect creativity in an exemplary way as well as the complex entanglements of local practices with global trends. Some of the textile materials and processing techniques have been created locally many generations ago, others bear a long history of cultural mobility and dissemination and have crossed continents and trade spheres, and still others are based on new innovative projects; many manufacturing practices have become subject to more recent processes of political economy and legal regulations, These combinations of old and new, of local and adopted materials, techniques and aesthetic preferences complicate simplified predictions of possible futures of Africa's fabric and fashion markets.

This panel invites contributions that are based on ethnographic or historic research about such entangled perspectives on fabrics and fashion in Africa and that provide insights into the multiple sources and creative initiatives of textile and fashion productions and trade. They may highlight the transformation of African textile markets or explore their partial resilience to global influences, the curiosity for novelties or the inventiveness to fashion new items from what markets offer based on local aesthetic principles.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Friday 2 June, 2023, -
Session 2 Friday 2 June, 2023, -