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Reconciling the local and the global in the Brisbane independent fashion sector

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The humid, sub-tropical city of Brisbane is Australia’s third-largest and one often regarded as culturally inferior to its southern counterparts Sydney and Melbourne. However, the city has supported a small but active independent fashion scene, and this article examines three of these businesses, exploring how they positioned themselves in relation to the global fashion industry. It contributes to literature on local fashion industries in New Zealand, Scandinavia, Canada and the United Kingdom. Challenges and opportunities presented to local fashion businesses are considered, and ways in which these have changed over time is also discussed. Case studies are drawn from a period between 1950 and 2018 and were purposively chosen so that contemporary case studies could be contextualized with historical examples. Research was conducted through archival research at the Queensland Museum, semi-structured interviews with participants and on-site observations. Findings confirm those of existing studies in the field that suggest local fashion businesses outside of large cities and dominant fashion centres may struggle to remain relevant in a fast-paced global industry, but have an opportunity to develop and foster close bonds to local cultural scenes and to contribute to place-making in the cities in which they are located.
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Keywords: Australian fashion; Brisbane; Fortitude Valley; globalization; independent cultural production; independent fashion

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Queensland University of Technology

Publication date: September 1, 2019

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  • The Australasian Journal of Popular Culture is a peer-reviewed journal devoted to the scholarly understanding of everyday cultures. It is concerned with the study of the social practices and the cultural meanings that are produced and are circulated through the processes and practices of everyday life. As a product of consumption, an intellectual object of inquiry, and as an integral component of the dynamic forces that shape societies. The journal will be receptive to articles which focus on Australasian examples, or broader comparative and theoretical questions viewed through an Australasian lens.
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