This special issue of positions
deals at once with the concrete and abstract meaning of the word fabrication itself. In the concrete, fabrication refers to actual garments created and worn in a society. In the abstract, it alludes to the social characterizations of class, ethnicity, nationality, and gender attributed to fashion. This special issue explores the self-conscious efforts in cultural China and Japan to exert social position, using body and cloth as the crucial points in the construction of identity, modernity, and imagination.
By focusing on clothing and body practices in East Asia, this collection delves into the dynamic interplay between global trade, images, products, and standards as mediated through and on individual bodies. It investigates what fashion means in the Asian context, past and present, and enters into the debate on fashion as a modern phenomenon predicated upon capitalism and consumerism. One contributor critically assesses ideas about the proper proportions and display of breasts—including implants and other nonsurgical practices for enhancement—in Japan and how such norms may be affected and altered by the spread of a global Euro-American beauty ideology. Another essay debates the influence of globalization and cultural localization on the emergence and popularity of exposed short stockings in China. Fabrications also features a translation of Eileen Chang’s classic article "Chronicle of Changing Clothes," which has defined thinking on Chinese fashion since the 1920s.
Contributors. Peter Carroll, Tina Mai Chen, Matthew Chew, Antonia Finnane, Henrietta Harrison, Andrew Jones, Laura Miller, Henrietta Harrison, Paola Zamperini