World 182

In World 182, the production of Parisian haute couture abruptly ended in 1932 due to a disastrous economic crisis, combined with extreme shortages of raw materials, and strong political will. Yet the crave for high fashion grew but stronger.

Fashion producers began to pen accounts of new clothing, which customers read avidly. Evolving from the mere description of garments, these stories soon narrated transacting acts and wearing experiences.

Over time, narratives based on historical fashion grew more popular than fictional accounts. Consuming historical garments vicariously became the norm. Fashion historians became key workers of the French fashion system.

Dans World 182, l’industrie de la couture parisienne cesse brusquement de produire des vêtements en 1932 à cause d’une crise économique inégalée, conjuguée à une pénurie généralisée de matériaux et une volonté politique forte.

Cependant, cela ne fait qu’accroître l’envie de mode des consommatrices. Les maisons de couture commencent alors à produire des récits présentant leurs nouvelles créations par écrit. Davantage que de simples descriptions, ces histoires incluent bientôt des expériences vestimentaires de leurs porteuses et des actes de transaction.

Progressivement, les récits historiques prennent le pas sur les récits fictifs. La consommation par procuration de pièces historiques devient la norme. Les historien.ne.s de la mode deviennent des acteur.rice.s clés de l’industrie de la mode.

What if …

one could consume historical garments by proxy instead of buying and wearing material clothes?

Issue targeted:

All the issues that stem from making and consuming material garments (such as resource depletion, pollution, waste, unethical labour, and animal cruelty); the paradox of making fashion sustainable while its nature is to change constantly.

Inspiration:

Thorstein Veblen’s concept of “vicarious consumption” (The Theory of the Leisure Class, 1899), which I have used in relation to sustainable fashion in the postscript to “Tales of Fashion Consumption”, written together with Emmanuelle Polle in the artist, internet-based publication “The Whole Sell” (2021)

This World was contributed by Johanna Zanon (located in Oslo, Norway) using a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence which allows others to share and adapt the work in any medium and for any purpose, providing that they credit the author and share their material using the same Creative Commons licence.

Does this World remind you of something?

I am keen to hear about any historical or contemporary real-world examples – whether individual practices, subcultures or mainstream activities – that this fiction brings to mind.

Please share any such examples using this form. Thank you!

Published by Amy Twigger Holroyd

explorer of Fashion Fictions

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