Capitalizing on Fashion and Luxury Studies and Practices: A Roundtable Discussion

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Dr. Jen Sweeney and Dr. Nigel Lezama/ NeMLA 2019
contact email: 

Fashion studies’ move toward non-Western, non-traditional modes of exploring sartorial history (cf. The Fashion History Reader: Global Perspectives, Riello and McNeil, 2010) and the rise of critical luxury studies (cf. Luxury. A Rich History, Riello and McNeil, 2016; Critical Luxury Studies. Art, Media, Design, Armitage and Roberts, eds., 2016) indicates a renewed interest in the ways that objects interact with the body and vice versa. Scholars have begun to study how luxury and fashion objects interact with consumers, designers, and manufacturers in a new light, focusing, for example, on non-hegemonic fashion makers and consumers. Outside of the academic field, brand marketing theory and legal perspectives seem - unknowingly - to have recently considered the commodity from a Benjaminian perspective, granting it both aura (cf. “The Aura of Luxury: Cultivating the Believing Faithful from the Age of Saints to the Age of Luxury Brands,” Kovesi, 2016) or even a certain polyvalence (cf. Interpretations of Luxury. Exploring the Consumer Perspective, Turunen, 2018).

Given this proliferation of scholarship on luxury and alternative histories of fashion, a cross-disciplinary discussion about the nature of material culture research has begun to emerge. This roundtable at the 2019 NeMLA conference seeks to “capitalize” on these discussions by exploring the intersection of fashion and critical luxury studies with the numerous approaches, disciplines, and practices that invite a multiplicity of interdisciplinary modes of research and analysis. Proposals about the current and future state of critical luxury studies and alternative fashion histories are welcome, particularly those that discuss intersectional models of research. We are looking for a diverse range of voices, research agendas, and experiences in order to create a productive conversation about the state of fashion and luxury studies research. Accepted panelists will be invited to give brief, informal presentations of 5 to 10 minutes in order to keep the session open to discussion and debate between participants and the audience. Proposals should be submitted through the NeMLA website ( by September 30th.