Faculty Books Examine Cultural Appropriation, Contemporary Fashion

Yuniya Kawamura and Jung-Whan (Marc) de Jong, both Social Sciences, recently published a book on the thorny and timely question of cultural appropriation in the arts.

The volume, Cultural Appropriation in Fashion and Entertainment, published by Bloomsbury in 2022, takes a sociological approach to the topic. The authors examine the histories of race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, and religion embedded in clothing, textiles, hairstyles, and tattoos, as well as in popular entertainment including K-pop, Bhangra, and hip hop.

By offering many perspectives on the adoption and adaptation of cultural objects, the publisher writes, “Kawamura and de Jong help move the conversation beyond simply criticizing designers and creators to encourage nuanced discussion and raise awareness of diverse cultures in the creative industries.”

Also this year, Kawamura’s book Fashion-ology (Bloomsbury 2018) was translated into Korean and published by Sahoipyoungnon Academy, Inc. The book is currently being translated into Chinese.

In December, Kawamura moderated a panel at the Japan Society in New York, held in conjunction with the nonprofit’s first exhibition on contemporary fashion. Titled Refashioning: CFGNY and Wataru Tominaga, the show focused on two emerging fashion labels, CFGNY (Concept Foreign Garments New York), a New York–based fashion art house; and Wataru Tominaga, a Tokyo-based fashion and textile designer. Kawamura spoke with the designers about their transition to the fashion field, their creative process, and how fashion fits into broader dialogues about culture.

Watch the full panel discussion below.

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