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Tailoring the Nation: Fashion Writing in Nineteenth-Century Argentina

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In Tailoring the Nation: Fashion Writing in Nineteenth-Century Argentina, Regina A. Root analyzes how fashion writing served as a means to defy censors and to challenge the traditional and tyrannical practices of Confederate Juan Manuel de Rosas (1829-1852). During this period, all citizens of an emerging Argentine nation were required to wear crimson insignia and display icons of Confederate power; individuals who transgressed were executed. Because this canonization of taste occurred alongside emerging sentiments to build an Argentine nation, customs were assigned a pivotal role in the development of an Argentine nation. At the same time, government censors often thwarted open political discussion and so fashion also emerged as a metaphor for political change and renovation. Nineteenth-century authors writing for periodicals such as La Moda, El Iniciador, and La Camelia disguised their ideological leanings in descriptions of appearance and dress and plotted directions for the restructuring of postcolonial Argentine society. Published in March 2000, this essay was the first on Latin American fashion to appear in Fashion Theory.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/136270400779572037

Publication date: February 1, 2000

More about this publication?
  • Fashion Theory takes as its starting point a definition of “fashion” as the cultural construction of the embodied identity. The importance of studying the body as a site for the deployment of discourses has been well established in a number of disciplines. Until Fashion Theorys launch in 1997 the dressed body had suffered from a lack of critical analysis. Increasingly scholars have recognized the cultural significance of self-fashioning, including not only clothing but also such body alterations as tattooing and piercing.

    Fashion Theory provides an international and interdisciplinary forum for the rigorous analysis of cultural phenomena. Its peer-reviewed articles range from foot-binding to fashion advertising.
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