Mechademia: Second Arc Vol. 17.1: Cosplay, Street Fashion, and Subcultural Styles, guest ed. Masafumi Monden (due 1 July 2023; published autumn 2024)
Cosplay, street fashion and subcultural styles have come increasingly to define East Asian popular culture to the world. But unlike the anime, manga or electronic products which the region has long been known for, costume, fashion and style all take shape in three dimensions, and are often embodied by “real people”.
Despite their increasing visibility the importance of costume, fashion and style is often overlooked; they escape focused scholarly attention because, paradoxically, they are so patent and obvious, we may think anyone can talk about them. It is about time to seek a more expert analysis, and this issue of Mechademia: Second Arc aims to do this under the theme of costumes, fashion, and styles in Asia.
How do we distinguish and separate cosplay from fashion, and fashion from subcultural styles? What, for example, is the difference between “fashion” and “style”? While often used interchangeably, fashion, in studies of fashion and dress, is a taste that is shared by a collective group of people for a short period of time, meaning its fundamental nature is change. Style may refer to the construction of self or self-expression through the accumulation of clothes, accessories, and hairstyles that may or may not follow fashion trends, but their articulation of everyday life through their styles longs to stay timeless and unchanging. Do street fashion and subcultural styles in Asia conform to, challenge or offer an alternative reading to these notions?
Also, street fashion, subcultural styles and, particularly, cosplay all relate to the body. Garments are nearly always animated and understood by a body. And the body itself cannot be separated from the social world, according to Maurice Merleau-Ponty. This means that fashion and its aesthetic existence cannot be fully understood as an isolated product or cultural form until it is actually worn. They are, then, a good starting point to discuss the body, aesthetics (beauty or ugliness), gender, emotions, and other psychological, corporeal, visual and tactile experiences.
These ideas open for a wide range of arguments and topics. This journal issue invites papers engaged in research on cosplay, street fashion and subcultural styles in Asia, in relation to:
- Sexuality and/or gender
- Marketing and consumer culture
- Fandom and subsequent communities
- Tourism, soft power and regional development
- Nationality, race, and globalisation
- Art and/or everyday performances
- Photography and identity
- DIY and agency
- Activism, resistance and protests
- Emotional expressions
- Popular culture and media
- Beauty and aesthetics
Any other topics and approaches are also very welcome.
Email submissions to: email@example.com