On the Fashion of ‘Non-Fashion’

I watched some video coverage of the ‘March for our Lives’ that took place here in Washington, DC and in other cities around the US and the world yesterday. It was more than impressive to see a national political movement emerge out of the tragedy of Parkland, FL within weeks, to listen to the powerful voices of the students, and to witness, just perhaps, the beginning of a changed discussion about gun control in this country.

The images showed a colourful and enthusiastic crowd. And with the exception of some orange hats and the Gays against Guns who joint the march in New York City dressed in white shrouds, nothing seemed to indicate any particular sartorial symbolism as part of this protest movement. ┬áThe Women’s Walk last year had its ubiquitous ‘pussy-hats’


(Copyright: Linda S. Bishai)

Last year also saw women dressed up as Handmaids in reference to the Margaret Atwood novel and now Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tale. And in 2011, DC and other cities saw women dressed in intimate apparel in order to protest against sexual harassment and violence. In all these cases, sartorial code played a significant role as a symbolic amplifier of the women’s message. Continue reading “On the Fashion of ‘Non-Fashion’”

Welcome to my blog on the Politics of Fashion


Clothes make the man. Naked people have no or little influence in society (M. Twain)

Thanks for joining me and welcome! This blog is inspired by the book The International Politics of Fashion: Being Fab in a Dangerous World (Routledge 2017).


The book collects a number of essays, written by some of the finest scholars in International Relations, covering different aspects of the interstices between politics and sartorial codes and conduct.

This blog is meant to continue the discussion and to extend it beyond the book. And given the continued relevance of, and fascination with, the role fashion plays in politics, there is ample material for this. There is still a First Lady in the White House who attracts comments and remarks on her dress, the sartorial choices of the President of the USA himself have been evaluated (mostly critically), protest movements still rely on sartorial codes to get their points across, and the Canadian Prime Minister seems have taken cultural sensitivity just a bit too far.

So there will be plenty to blog about.