How to do humans with fashion: Towards a posthuman critique of fashion

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Since the publication of Li Edelkoort’s Anti Fashion Manifesto (2015), fashion schol- ars are increasingly asking what will become of fashion in the third millennium. Has fashion ended, like Edelkoort claims, or, should we understand fashion differently? The article sees Edelkoort’s manifesto as representative of a moment when fashion scholar- ship entered a self-critical stage that aimed to redefine fashion beyond consumerism. Recent critiques of fashion have specifically focused on the lack of sustainability and have called for a more ecological and ethical production of fashion.The article argues that while this is a positive development, it is not enough. Alongside the changing landscape of manufacturing, a new definition of fashion beyond the commodity is also needed. The article shifts focus from understanding fashion as a means of constantly reconstructing one’s identity through hectically changing trends (commercial self-fashioning) to under- standing fashion as a form of critical thinking and as a sustained process of conceptu- alizing, defining and contesting the limits of the human and humanity (fashioning the human). The article argues that this shift needs new theoretical frameworks. It therefore tests posthumanist theory to rethink what fashion can mean. It explains the theoretical points through examples where the act of becoming human is negotiated: evolutionary theory, the Bible, childhood and pet dogs. In doing so, the article aims to reconceptualize fashion as an act of hominization and as a theory of the human.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-31
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Fashion Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • fashion
  • posthumanism
  • hominization
  • fashioning the human
  • anthropocentrism

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