Global Mess and Glamour: Behind the Spectacle of Transnational Fashion
Abstract

This article examines the dualities of mess and glamour in the display of transnational fashion. Taking up Canada Philippine Fashion Week (2014) as an exemplary cultural site, I explore connections between transnational fashion weeks and celebratory, commercialized forms of multiculturalism. CPFW capitalized on the recent public attention to Asian fashion and attempted to counter the representation of diasporic Filipinos in Toronto. The event instead crafted a plot of multicultural and cosmopolitan success. Despite CPFW’s projection of Filipino fashion as glamorous, the event was also marked by a pattern of disorder in the unplanned, the untidy, and the messy. Threading together work in queer, Asian North American, and global fashion studies, I invert the hierarchy of how we examine contemporary multiculturalism and global capitalism and reread disorder within, constitutive of, and essential to the display and consumption of capital produced by and for the elite. The analysis is based on observations of the fashion shows and backstage preparations, my participation as an audience member, and media and promotional coverage.


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