The online open acess bilingual journal Apparence(s) will publish a special issue (Dec.2020) on the complex relationships between animals or animal by-products and fashion and dress. The special issue will examine the use of animal by-products (be it fur, feathers, cohineal or silk) alongside the inspiration animals have long provided to fashion (from the 'mode giraffe' in 1830 France to the shark skin simsuit of Michael Phelps). We want to study sartorial practices, their meanings and impact - whether cultural, economic or environmental. The volume aims to investigate the use of animal by-products in dress and fashion but also shed light on the trades and skills of people involved in the transformation of animal products for fashion - from feather workers to leather tanners, hat makers, furriers, or bone-cutters… their aesthetic, social and economic importance will be recontextualised alongside the more general technological and environmental issues their trade raises.
Animals have been a source of inspiration for fashion designers but also an economic engine for the wealth of nations whilst in some cultures they are a crucial spiritual point of reference (the Pacific feather cloaks being a case in point) and they provide source material and inspiration to contemporary R&D projects (from spider- DNA to goat’s milk-derived fibres). Dress – whether fashionable, everyday, technical or ritual – has long had complex, multi dimensional relationships to animals.
Both as an interface between the body politic and the individual body and as defining features of human civilization, dress and bodily decoration are key sites in which the relationship between humans and animals are defined and constructed.
Yet, despite a few isolated studies, very little scholarly attention has been paid to the relationship between animals and dress. Often narrow in terms of chronological, geographical or methodological scope, what exists has failed to grasp the more complex ramifications of the topic. At the crossroads of many disciplinary approaches, the « Animal fashions » special issue intends to explore these complex issues without restricting itself to a specific century, geographical space or cultural reality.
In this volume we also to intend to address questions raised by the fairly recent emergence of animal studies to see what light they can shed on our topic. This approach, which often posits animal agency, challenges the traditional dichotomic opposition between human subjects and animals seen as passive objects – be it as source material for fashion or as objects of study.
We are calling on historians, economists, archaeologists, archaeozoologists, anthropologists and animal studies specialists to send their proposals to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Please send complete 6 000 word essays in electronic format – in French or in English – by April 1st 2020. The essays should be accompanied by a 300-word abstract and by a list of 5 keywords. Please refer to the journal’s website for formatting guidelines.