Dressing Global Bodies addresses the complex politics of dress and fashion from a global perspective spanning four centuries, tying the early global to more contemporary times, to reveal clothing practice as a key cultural phenomenon and mechanism of defining one’s identity.

This collection of essays explores how garments reflect the hierarchies of value, collective and personal inclinations, religious norms and conversions. Apparel is now recognized for its seminal role in global, colonial and post-colonial engagements and for its role in personal and collective expression. Patterns of exchange and commerce are discussed by contributing authors to analyse powerful and diverse colonial and postcolonial practices. This volume rejects assumptions surrounding a purportedly all-powerful Western metropolitan fashion system and instead aims to emphasize how diverse populations seized agency through the fashioning of dress.

Dressing Global Bodies contributes to a growing scholarship considering gender and race, place and politics through the close critical analysis of dress and fashion; it is an indispensable volume for students of history and especially those interested in fashion, textiles, material culture and the body across a wide time frame.

chapter |14 pages


Dressing global bodies

chapter 1|26 pages

The fabric of early globalization

Skin, fur and cloth in the de Bry’s travel accounts, 1590–1630

chapter 2|24 pages

Fashion in the four parts of the world

Time, space and early modern global change 1

chapter 3|20 pages

Shirts and snowshoes

Imperial agendas and Indigenous agency in globalizing North America, c.1660–1800 1

chapter 5|27 pages

Garments in circulation

The economies of slave clothing in the eighteenth-century Dutch Cape Colony

chapter 7|29 pages

The king’s new clothing

Re-dressing the body politic in Madagascar, c.1815–1861

chapter 8|23 pages

Dressing settlers in New Zealand

Global interconnections

chapter 9|20 pages

‘Anything for mere show would be worse than useless’

Emigration, dress and the Australian Colonies, 1820–1860

chapter 10|15 pages

Dressing apart

Indian elites and the politics of fashion in British India, c.1750–1850

chapter 11|23 pages

Visual assimilation and bodily regimes

Protestant programmes and Anishinaabe everyday dress in North America, 1830s–1950s

chapter 12|26 pages

Tailoring in China and Japan

Cultural transfer and cutting techniques in the early twentieth century

chapter 13|17 pages

Global fashion encounters and Africa

Affective materialities in Zambia