The Art of Darkness

Fashion in Fiction

February 18th, 2010 by Cobwebs

I don’t often post about events that are specific to one location, but this upcoming conference in PA sounds interesting enough to warrant a mention.

Fashion In Fiction – The Dark Side

October 8 – 10, 2010 Drexel University Antoinette Westphal College of
Media Arts & Design Philadelphia, PA.

Location: Pennsylvania, United States

Roland Barthes proposed that fashion was not a just an industry, but also a set of fictions. Barthes did not wish to ignore the economic function of fashion, but rather underline fashion’s mythic dimension and suggest that fashion is a language in itself. Fashion and fiction have long existed in close proximity; writers have been driven by their experience of fashion and fashion has been developed through and by literary tropes. What makes dress and fashion such a fascinating subject for writers? How are fashion’s mythologies constructed and disseminated through fictional texts? How does fashion relate to art, popular culture, business, the body, consumer studies, and those who might read it as a form of text?

This interdisciplinary conference seeks to investigate the role that fashion has played in our culture. These “mini-narratives” can include fiction, non-fiction, cultural and historical studies, and other types of comparative, descriptive and/or empirical research. In particular, it will examine the dark side of fashion discourse, assessing the role, function, and purpose of clothes, fashion movements, style, and image in creating narratives within narratives. The dark side of fashion can include such obvious topics as gothic, punk, the color black, and vampires. Other topics that have traditionally been viewed as “dark” include polyester fabric, couture knock-offs, deviant fashion advertising, sweatshops, and child labor. Authors are also encouraged to define their own meaning of “dark”.

Papers fitting the conference theme are sought from those engaged in the fields of fashion studies, social sciences, humanities, creative writing, media, cultural studies, design, philosophy, and business.

Papers, work-in-progress and workshop proposals are invited.

Possible topics may include but not limited to:

  • gothic
  • feminist versus feminized discourses in fashion and display
  • animated texts
  • fashion in crime fiction
  • graphic novels
  • the semiotics of fashion
  • historical fiction
  • queer readings of fashion
  • mystery
  • textiles
  • the color black
  • marketing
  • the body/body image
  • consumer studies
  • new media
  • script and cinematic texts
  • metaphor/metaphorical fiction
  • subcultural style

Abstract Deadline: June 1, 2010

Submission Process: Those interested should send an abstracts of no more than 500 words. Everyone will be notified of acceptance by July 1, 2010.

Peer Review: All abstracts will be peer-reviewed. Those abstracts accepted for presentations will be published online as well as in the conference proceedings.

Paper Submission for Possible Publication: Those interested in having their papers published may submit the entire manuscript for possible book publication.

For more details, please see our website at or email Dr. Joseph H. Hancock, II at

If you’re interested in or involved with the fashion industry, this might be an excellent source of inspiration and/or exposure. Hopefully they’ll publish the abstracts online so that those of us who aren’t local can still play along.

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