Hybrid Dandyism: European Woolen Fabric in East Asia
Although East Asia is known for its production of fine silk fabrics and also as a major exporter of luxurious textiles, it gradually consumed European fabrics in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Using extant costume and textile objects in the late nineteenth century, this essay introduces types of European woolen fabrics. Imported woolen fabrics in Japan, predominantly British in the beginning, were eventually being replaced by those produced in Australia and other parts of the world in the early twentieth century. Literary descriptions, news articles, advertising images, and fashion magazines are used as primary sources along with surviving uniforms and dresses. The manufacturing of woolen fabrics in Japan and Korea from the 1920s to the 1940s demonstrated how a foreign luxury became a necessity in a war-obsessed colonial government. Along with mass production of cotton, the making of woolen fabrics became part of an essential military enterprise and a monopoly of the Empire of Japan. This essay discusses how the intellectuals who had studied abroad and the social elite who had positions in public service adopted the fashionable styling of woolen clothing, and why this trend of hybrid dandyism continued after WWII in Korea and Japan.
KeywordHybridity Luxury Monopoly Colonialism Dandyism
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