"The Politics of Fashion Criticism: How Newspaper Journalists’ Evaluative Criteria
for Fashion Changed Between 1949-2010"
Routledge, expected 2021
Sociological research of diverse cultural outlets demonstrates how the legitimization of a cultural form as a valid cultural outlet or even as an artistic practice strongly relies on the discourse of critics. Yet little is known on the evaluative practices of fashion journalists. Especially the criteria journalists rely on to make evaluative judgments of fashion collections remain understudied. The chapter discusses the shift in the themes that elite fashion journalists employ to make sense of the latest collections. The chapter argues that we may regard elite fashion journalists as political subjects who working within a dominant culturally postmodernist frame seek to legitimize both their object of criticism, i.e. high-fashion, and themselves as culturally valid.
"L'Architettura Temporale della Moda. Stagione e Settimana della Moda"
A sollicited translation in Italian of earlier research on the temporal architecture of the fashion system, i.e. its periodization in fashion seasons and fashion weeks, first published in Fashion Theory (2014).
"Long live the (im)material: Concept and materiality in Viktor&Rolf’s fashion"
(co-authored with Danielle Bruggeman)
In: International Journal of Fashion Studies, 3 (1), pp. 7-26.
This article challenges the way in which journalistic and academic discourses on the conceptual fashion of Dutch designers Viktor&Rolf privilege ideas over the materiality of fashion. Through a detailed visual analysis of renowned Viktor&Rolf collections and a discourse analysis of the reception of these collections in the international fashion press, we propose to rethink their conceptual approach through a material lens. We argue that Viktor&Rolf’s work can be understood as an intimate encounter between concept and materiality. Read the full-text of the article here.
"Niklas Luhmann: Fashion between the fashionable and old-fashioned"
In: Thinking Through Fashion: A Guide to Key Theorists (eds. A. Rocamora & A. Smelik)
I.B. Tauris 2016
The chapter discusses key ideas that are central to the social systems theory of German sociologist Niklas Luhmann and are of particular relevance to the study of fashion. These key ideas refer to modern society as a functionally differentiated social system and the centrality of communication. The chapter asks whether in such a society fashion has become an autonomous and autopoietic subsystem with its own paradoxes. If indeed a subsystem of fashion operates by following its own rationality, this has the potential to re-address what numerous fashion scholars have argued before: that fashion has been unrightfully treated with contempt. You can read the chapter here.
"Geknipt voor het moderne: Beoordelingscriteria, tijdspolitiek en materialiteit in geschreven modejournalistiek"
The dissertation examines the changes between 1949 and 2010 in the evaluative criteria used by fashion journalists for elite newspapers to decide on the quality of fashion collections. The dissertation explores the political dimensions of the review practice of fashion journalists. You can read the dissertation here (English summary included).
"Ghostbusting fashion: Symbolic boundaries and the politics of time in fashion journalism"
The article examines the rhetorical tools that leading fashion journalists have used over the
past 60 years when they seek to protect the idea of impenetrable temporal boundaries between
contemporary fashionable dress and its history. Fashion journalists ‘guard the boundaries of past and present’ in order to preserve fashion’s linear thrust and consumer interest. Read the article here.
"Re-artification in a World of De-artification: Materiality and Intellectualization in Fashion Media Discourse (1949–2010)"
The article discusses the shift in the themes that journalists employ to make sense of the latest collections. Contemporary journalists pay far less attention to the materiality of fashion than their earlier colleagues did. In the late 20th century they construed designer fashion as an intellectual practice, through which they engaged in a process of the re-artification of fashion. Hereby they seek to create an image of cultural worth for their object of criticism and for themselves, while they also seek to reinforce the long-standing but challenged division between mass market and high-end fashion. You can read the full-text article here.
"So Last Season: The Production of the Fashion Present in the Politics of Time"
Fashion is a powerful cultural phenomenon in its ability to impose on fashion items, its wearers, and producers a quality of forwardness or backwardness. The idea of being up to date necessitates a relational temporal order in which the present or the modern is constituted vis-à-vis the outmoded. The article offers a concise discussion of chronometric operations that allow for control over fashion changes and that enable the field of high fashion production to engage in a politics of time in which it displays its own forwardness by picturing (the sartorial choices of) others as “so last season,” or, to put it in other words, as lagging behind the industry’s referential time. You can read the full-text article here.
"Legitieme Modekritiek - Legitieme Mode? Moderecensies in kwaliteitskranten"
In: Tijdschrift voor Tijdschriftstudies, 34, pp. 123-139
Fashion journalism is often viewed as unsuited to the role of legitimate cultural criticism. The article sees two recurring motivations for this observation: the fashion press’ strong dependence on fashion advertising income and a long-standing tradition that rejects the transient temporality of fashion in which journalistic accounts of fashion often take part. The article finds that since the late 20th century the fashion journalists of high-quality newspapers have established a fashion criticism that, much like film criticism in the 1970s, may contribute to the cultural valorization of designer fashion. You can access the full-text article here.
"Journalistic Fashion Criticism: Then and Now"
Is fashion journalism (cap)able of having a critical voice? Many would say no. However, fashion journalists in high-quality newspapers have established critical distance from the industry, as a type of fashion criticism, from within. This overview of journalistic fashion criticism from past to present explains why and how. Read the full-text here.