Art, Architecture and Visual Culture

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The cases of Kaihara and Japan Blue, 1970–2015
Rika Fujioka and Ben Wubs

In the 1950s and 1960s, blue jeans became a symbol of youth protests against the conformity of their parents. Vintage and designer denim became an important part of the global fashion system. The two case studies in this chapter draw on interviews with the CEOs of Kaihara and Japan Blue and documents from both the companies. The examples fit perfectly within a comparative, historical study of Japanese premium denim and jeans. The case studies demonstrate that producing denim, the fabric, is a different story and needs a different strategy from producing jeans, the garment. They are also closely related because of interdependence between the two industries; Kaihara, for example, dyes Japan Blue's woven cotton. An in-depth historical analysis of these two cases provides valuable insight into the historical competitiveness of denim and jeans manufacturing in Japan over the last five decades.

in European fashion
Ernst Rebel

In the brief preamble to his short history of printmaking, German art historian Ernst Rebel notes that printmaking has gained attention among scholars of new media. The rapid development of image technologies, especially digital media, has revived an interest in prints and printmaking. They are now recognised as having provided the basis for the ‘technical image’ and therefore crucial to a genealogy of new media.

in Perspectives on contemporary printmaking
Daniel F. Herrmann

The first selected text focuses on a model of production that is highly pertinent to printmaking and has been adopted in other fields, such as sculpture. Art historian and curator Daniel F. Herrmann reflects on Edinburgh Printmakers (EP) in Scotland on the occasion of its fortieth anniversary. Founded by artists, as the first open-access workshop in the UK, it functioned as a model for other, similar workshops.

in Perspectives on contemporary printmaking
Tereza Kuldova

This chapter investigates why the luxury Indian fashion industry embrace the 'ethical sell' when the luxury fashion houses in the West did not seem to utilize it to an equal degree. It also investigates why ethical fashion in the West remains a small segment while in India the top designers are using the 'ethical sell' as an effective and central marketing strategy. The chapter discusses the career track of Indian fashion designer Samant Chauhan, which exemplifies crucial element of the global fashion system and the influential place of the European fashion capitals within it. It explores why ethical fashion has become so pronounced among Indian business elites, and deals with a confluence of factors, which pertain to businesses on a global scale and to local struggles specific to the industry. These invocations of 'ethicality' and the insertion of morality into the market are a consequence of interconnected crises of legitimacy.

in European fashion
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The creation of a global industry

The fashion industry has long been a particular victim of the borders between academic disciplines that have pursued their own agendas and employed their own language with minimum dialogue with outsiders. This book represents a sustained interdisciplinary and global assault on such artificial constraints which have constrained much research on the fashion industry in the past. Many historical studies have heavily focused on the ecosystems of Paris, Milan, New York, and other fashion hubs. It breaks new grounds as the authors trace the actors involved, from the luxury conglomerate LVMH to retailers, including the iconic Swedish firm H&M. The book also emphasizes the work of fashion professionals who worked behind-the-scenes as intermediaries: trendsetters, retail buyers, stylists, art directors, advertising executives, public relations agents, brand managers, and entrepreneurs. It examines the transition from the old system to the new in a series of case studies grouped around three major themes. The book deals with the transformation of Paris from a couture production centre to a creative hub for design and brand management. It examines the special role of retailers and retail brands in promoting European fashion, with reference to transnational exchanges between Europe, America, and the wider world. The book explores seminal developments in a select group of global fashion hubs on the European periphery or entirely outside of Europe, and their roles in critiquing the mainstream fashion system with heritage marketing, vintage aesthetics, ethical brands, and local styles.

In search of Manly Banister, an excerpt from an unpublishable memoir
R.L. Tillman

The final text is dedicated to an improbable sounding, yet real author. Written by R. L. Tillman, artist and educator and one of the founders of the inspiring web resource Printeresting (2008–15), it is a humorous yet serious reflection on the differences between art, craft and technique and on what may or may not distinguish expert and amateur knowledge.

in Perspectives on contemporary printmaking
Regina Lee Blaszczyk and Véronique Pouillard

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book examines the postwar couture industry post World War II. It considers four major fashion retailers, Galeries Lafayette in Paris, I. Magnin in San Francisco, William Filene's Sons Company in Boston, and H&M in Stockholm, within the context of the revival of European fashion after World War II and the global democratization of fashion in our own time. The book looks to alternative visions of the European fashion system that have bubbled up in unexpected places. It highlights the relationship between core and periphery, and provides a discussion of the global context for value creation. The book also examines a constellation of people and places that are important to the European fashion system, even though they are at quite some distance, either geographically or symbolically, from any European fashion capital.

in European fashion
Electr(on)ic thinking
Beat Wyss

As the title of his chapter indicates, Swiss art historian and media theorist Beat Wyss suggests that specific technologies correspond to certain modes of cultural thought. According to media theorist Vilém Flusser, the invention of writing in the middle of the second millennium BCE and the invention of the technical image, i.e. photography, in the middle of the nineteenth century are to be considered the major cultural factors in media history. Wyss uses the analogy of a finer, ‘halftone mesh’ to bring into focus the economic, social, religious, political and artistic changes that occurred through the advent of the printing press, especially engraving, the medium of the book and reproducible images.

in Perspectives on contemporary printmaking
José Roca

In his essay for Philagrafika, the inspirational print exhibition in Philadelphia, USA, in 2009/10, chief curator José Roca recounts the curatorial team’s reflections on the purpose and format of biennales in general and of the print biennale in particular. The latter’s medium-specific focus requires detailed attention in an art context that has challenged and to some extent eliminated single-medium forms.

in Perspectives on contemporary printmaking
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How Swedish entrepreneurial culture and social values created fashion for everyone
Ingrid Giertz-Mårtenson

The Swedish clothing company H&M is one of the key players in the creation of accessible fashion for an international clientele. This chapter discusses issues that affect H&M's approach to fashion, its business strategy and history, which tries to place the success of a global company in a national perspective, and to understand what a business with Swedish values is. It is also about fashion's relationship to society and culture, seen through the development of a Swedish company that has become a global giant. The history of H&M is the story of how founder Erling Persson's entrepreneurship and strong values have survived. H&M has been singled out as a successful representative of the fast fashion business model in the international fashion industry. The chapter examines the reality behind this idea, and investigates whether the company's core values and production realities support or contradict this concept.

in European fashion