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Title: Son of Samurai, daughter of butterfly : fashioning Japan in the sartorial culture of the United Kingdom, 1980-2006
Author: Cambridge, Nicolas Adam
ISNI:       0000 0004 2673 7713
Awarding Body: University of the Arts London
Current Institution: University of the Arts London
Date of Award: 2008
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The thesis addresses the reception and consumption of Japanese fashion in the U.K. between 1980 and 2006 and concomitant constructions of Japanese identity in the critical discourses surrounding fashion. It examines the impacts of the sartorial traffic emanating from the Japanese fashion system, the creative outputs of which are polarised in Western critical thought as either unreflective cultural borrowings (Japanisation, appropriation) or as embodying an unfathomable Eastern aesthetic (zen, wabi/sabi, wa). Building on a substantive account of the cultural impacts of the initial encounters with the West, the investigation identifies sites where Japanese sartorial culture is consumed in the form of text, image and artefact. A variety of methodological approaches are mobilised in the analysis of data from retail outlets, cultural institutions and media publications. Material pertaining to "high-concept designers" whose outputs are largely consumed within visual and intellectual contexts is balanced by that from "high street apparel makers" operating in a more commercially-oriented manner. Findings regarding the role of an "intermediate matrix" of designers/brands employing creative approaches and retail strategies that supersede issues of culture, race and historicity are presented in order to map a creative continuum in contemporary Japanese fashion design. In addressing the imbrications of Japanese identity and contemporary sartorial practice, the thesis interrogates research findings from creative, commercial, critical, curatorial and mass media sources within a framework of existing academic accounts of the construction of Japan in the Western mind. The conclusion articulates new readings of the nature of "Japanese-ness" available to a globally connected audience and identifies a gendered differentiation between visual representations of Japanese-designed fashion mediated through the gatekeepers of sartorial culture in the United Kingdom.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Fashion History & Theory ; Japanese Society and Culture studies ; Clothing/Fashion Design