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Transnational movements of people, cultural objects, images and identities have played a vital role in creating an informal global network for African fashion - from clothing designers and tailors to dyers and jewellery makers. This book traces the changing meanings, aesthetics and histories of the thriving informal African fashion network through its multicultural cross-roads of Los Angeles, Kenya and Senegal. In African communities, designers compete with each other to survive and often travel long distances in search of new markets. Such competition and bridging of cultures fuels creativity and invation. From adapting western fashion magazines to combining 'ethnic' designs with dramatic new colours and techniques, artisans weave a variety of borrowed influences into their traditional practices. Rabine explores the interrelationship and tensions that exist between these popular and mass cultures, including the ways that global circulation threatens to destroy artisanal skills. With its unique insights into the operation and ethics of these global networks, this book offers a timely contribution to contemporary studies of fashion, transnationalism and globalization.
Leslie W. Rabine University of California at Davis