Paris and the designers: processes of engagement of oriental designers in the fashion capital

Wessie Ling

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The successful establishment of Oriental fashion designers in Paris could act as a springboard to their commercial success and professional status. Their participation in Paris has also taken place out of the fashion system where minority niches are favoured. The opening of minority niches has to a certain extent been perceived as an opportunity for advancing their immediate interests. However, while the value of taking such an opportunity is both significant in economic and professional terms, there is little consideration of the pragmatic processes of engagement. Following Certeau’s (1984) articulation of the ‘hidden production’, this paper concerns the operational logic of Paris-based Oriental designers. Unlike Kawamura’s (2004) study of Japanese designers in Paris, it considers those Oriental designers as a whole who live and work as foreign entities in Paris, their relationships with the capital and the Paris fashion system. Bhabha’s (1994) discourse on racial/cultural/historical otherness and Kondo’s (1997) self-orientalisation provide the framework to examine the extent to which such relations are the subject to individual choice and the strategic use of Oriental stereotypes to advance their establishment in Paris. This original study builds on existing discourse on otherness by cultural practitioners and extends the analysis of racial study to fashion designers. It contributes to the understanding of the dynamic relationship between Paris-based Oriental designers and the Paris fashion system, yet also opens discussion on the strategic establishment of foreign designers in fashion capitals.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages277
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007
Event7th IFFTI Annual Conference 2005 - Tokyo, Japan
Duration: 1 Oct 2007 → …


Conference7th IFFTI Annual Conference 2005
Period1/10/07 → …


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