MCFA SF / Fashion, Identity, Globalization

Museum of Craft and Folk Art, San Francisco


Above: From the Museum of Craft and Folk Art’s website. (Detail of a Chinese woman’s robe, silk with hand embroidery, 20th century.)

The Fabric of Cultures: Fashion, Identity, Globalization
Fresh from the Google feed, a review by Candice Chan of the San Francisco Bay Guardian Online. The Museum of Folk Art is currently exhibiting a fascinating look at fabrics in a global context titled, The Fabric of Cultures: Fashion, Identity, Globalization, and continuing through April 27, 2008.

The SFBG story highlights an interesting issue much discussed here, the clear connection between the fabrics of the world and current fashion, and, one can safely say, the past, present and future of fashion in general. To the point, when large corporations like those mentioned here begin to design for the new markets in the East with an eye for profit, will our western fashions change to adjust to those new styles? Will the ubiquitous, and quintessentially American, T-Shirt give way
to something new?


Above: Some lovely privately owned HEMA products courtesy of Verena Gerlach.

What are the objects and designs that will be most desired in those new economies? Western styled minimalism of HEMA/Target et al.? The eastern eye is much more tolerant of decoration and detail, see only the relative visual complexity of their writing systems. Roman characters are quintessentially minimal, the eastern forms quintessentially elaborate and complex. How will our visual world take new form with these new conditions? New languages?

Exciting times, we can be hopeful for a movement forward, beyond regional and national biases and preconditions. There is nothing new to dominant influences taking hold in world culture, but there is something new about the possible shift in cultural weight, as determined by the projections of the largest middle class in history.

Sidenote: See Tara Kallenberger’s interesting comment
in a previous posting by Lathrop here.

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