Defining the Contours of Dress Studies:
Although scholars who engage with ‘fashion studies’ have tended to focus on clothing, the concept of dress studies is more broad. Dress includes supplements like hats and jewelry as well as practices that change the body such as hairstyling, dentistry, and surgical procedures. Our ideals of beauty and desirability are impacted by culture and change over time.
Our approaches to studying dress are also shaped by our disciplines. Jewelry is made by artists, but new clothing is created by designers. Cosmetic surgery is performed by doctors. Fragrances are created by highly-trained ‘noses.’ Depending on the material, a hat might be created by a basket-maker, a milliner, or a prop artist. The histories and social meanings of these practices speak to an array of disciplines.
Presentation topics for this conference might include (but are not limited to):
* A cultural history of making and/or wearing an item of dress
* A comparison of regulations/laws on body modifications
* Cutting-edge technology for theater, film, and/or cosplay
* The impact of cosmetic surgery on gender expression
* Evolving technologies and aesthetics for tattoos
* Experiences with wearing wigs in everyday life
* Digital representations of dress and the body
* Non-clothing items of dress in museum collections
* Reflection on academic disciplines where dress is studied
Submissions will be accepted from any discipline as long as the topic relates to the study of dress and the body. Both beginning and advanced scholars are welcome. Abstracts should be 200-300 words. Presenters will not need to submit a paper before the conference, but should plan to speak for 15-20 minutes with time for discussion at the end of each panel.
Although we welcome scholars from any country, the language of the conference will be English. We will consider a panel in another language if there is sufficient interest from a group of scholars. Abstracts must be written in English and should be drawn from original research; we ask that presenters not simply recycle lectures from other conferences. The DBA welcomes creative approaches and non-traditional presentations.