I have for some time now tried to figure out what I could possibly say about the impact of the Novel Coronavirus and Covid-19 on the politics of fashion. I had to recognise, though, that one of the first personal victims of this pandemic was my own desire to write about much anything, and certainly not fashion. It apparently takes a sense of creativity for me as a writer, based on some form of ontological security, to appreciate how fashion plays and interacts with politics (not only) these days; and this creativity was sorely absent lately. Initial moments in which I appreciated the ‘corona-positives’ the pandemic brought about – a quieter city, more prominent bird song (yep, I am one of those people), Zoom, Skype and FaceTime meetings with friends and colleagues back in the UK or in Europe, and webinars about interesting topics I would not be able to attend in person – have slowly but surely given way to a sense of perpetual tedium and endless ‘social distancing’ with masks that don’t really fit and the constant awkward dance on the streets outside when encountering other people on all too narrow sidewalks or in front of red traffic lights.
So I owe a great debt of gratitude to the editor of a fashion studies journal who recently sent me a draft submission to peer review. It’s about fashion, it’s about… well I won’t go into it here to make sure anonymity is guaranteed. But it gave me a nice jolt, reminding me that I do care about this stuff, and that other experts care about what I think.
So within the next few weeks, I’ll pick up a dormant blog again and I’ll try so say a few things about Fashion in the Times of the Plague. As always, my first step is to move away from the Big Picture and disaggregate this into manageable posts. I am thinking to start with a post about what that bothers me the most about this pandemic: its ability to hit us at what makes us human: our sociability, and more specifically, that it forces us to wear masks. What kind of subjects are we, when we encounter each other in a hidden, or hiding, fashion? What does it say when we adamantly avoid encounters? More on that soon.