Divas and dynamos: Decolonizing Senegalese histories through fashion | Intellect Skip to content
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Decolonizing Fashion as Process
  • ISSN: 2051-7106
  • E-ISSN: 2051-7114

Abstract

Fashion has been seen as either a rejection or an embracing of history and the past. In reality, fashion is constantly changing – is fragmentary, transitory and borderless. Because fashion has no borders, it can be brave, bold and often contradictory, just as the women who design and wear it can themselves present unique ambiguities worth exploring. Grounded in field and curatorial research with three generations of Senegalese fashion designers, this article explores the ways in which women in Dakar and Saint-Louis reinscribe problematic histories in sartorial expressions and shift the narrative away from a ‘colonial’ past and into a potential and ideological future imaginary. Each designer envisions and amplifies women’s voices, concerns and constructions of histories, despite discrepancies. And yet, in these very discrepancies lie the defiance of a colonial articulation of the past. As this article argues, decolonial creativity lies in the fault lines of history and can be selectively mined. This interpellation of the traditional/historical highlights an association of tradition with fixity and a distancing of fashion from the past that does not recognize the reality of African experiences. Instead, as a constant renegotiation of the past in the present, it blurs these boundaries and is constantly in flux.

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2022-10-01
2024-04-16
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