Motives of Fashion

Professors Francisco Fernández de Alba (Wheaton College) and Marcela Garcés (Siena College) edit this collection of essays that explore questions such as How fashion items like la mantilla create different social and political meanings over time? How does couture communicate affects and meaning to film audiences? Can commercial fashion photography be a political statement? How do fashion and comics help us to represent a historical moment and, at the same time, imagine alternative futures? How do people interact with clothing virtually, either shopping online or touring a virtual museum? In what manner do brick- and-mortar museums like El Museo del Traje in Madrid redefine what is worthy of collecting in an age of fast fashion? What do music and fashion tell us about the world as exemplified through a Grammy awards winner like Rosalía? And, fundamentally, how do we engage with reality through the clothes we wear? Fashion, they conclude, is a unique medium through which to think about the world and communicate (or hide) who we are or how we feel.

Cover photographed by Nacho Pinedo, Lara Ubago models a handmade piece by Antonio Alvarado for his 1981 collection “Baja Costura” (Low Couture), which debuted in Madrid’s famous underground concert venue Rock-Ola. Legend has it that Alvarado used cotton hand-towel rolls purloined from bar restrooms and surplus linen tablecloth from the Palace Hotel. It reflects the DIY spirit of the time and that resources are not an impediment when you have something to say.