Fashioning Jamaica 1950-1975
Jamaica has an extremely complex history and as Fradera argues, there are few places in the world that have witnessed as much destruction and political competition as the Caribbean (Fradera: 2011). Much has been written about this history, particularly its social and political history. Far less has been written about its design history. The role design has played in the remaking of the Caribbean is an important one, particularly the role of fashion and textiles. As Saucier points out, ‘Fashion has been one of the ways in which people of the African diaspora have created their sense of self, sense of community, and sense of place. Bodily practices have been almost as important as political manifestos in the struggle for freedom, agency and identity’ (Saucier,2011).
My research considers the ways in which fashion and textiles, produced in Jamaica during 1950-1975, were employed to navigate shifting subjectivities in a nation undergoing transition. In particular, it considers how national identities were constructed in a period of decolonisation and how fashion and textiles were utilised in this process. Examining the complex relationship between colony and metropole and subsequent narratives, Interrogating acts of resistance to Empire that formed part of the struggle for independence and the role of design in resisting /accommodating a British, European global aesthetic is key in this critique.
What, when and how were the characteristics of fashion and textiles production in Jamaica between 1950-1975?
How can fashion and textiles produced and consumed in Jamaica contribute to understanding the ways in which identities were constructed in Jamaica between 1950 and 1975?
How can a study of fashion and textiles produced outside of America and Europe between 1950 and 1975 help us to rethink and reconceptualise design and its histories particularly in light of questions of race and colonialism?
To provide a detailed analysis of fashion and textiles produced and consumed in Jamaica during 1950-1975.
To critically examine the role of fashion and textiles in the construction of Jamaican identities.
To explore notions of class, race and gender, to understand how these contributed to shifting subjectivities in a nation transitioning from colony to independent nation.
To consider the part played by design in resisting and/or accommodating a British, European global aesthetic particularly in the context of the identification of a uniquely Jamaican style.
To consider how we can use fashion and textiles produced outside of America and Europe to rethink and re-conceptualise fashion and textiles histories.