Viscose is the world’s most exciting journal for fashion criticism. Through specially edited thematic issues, each of which re-imagines the format of the journal entirely, Viscose gives space to genre-defying thinking that challenges and expands the possibilities of research, practice, and critique in/of fashion, addressing intellectual fashion communities anywhere while rejecting ghettoization in any discipline, industry, or location. By collaborating with institutions and museums to cultivate research, Viscose is and remains proudly advertising-free.
This special third issue, co-edited with London-based writer and director Cheuk NG, and designed by Shanghai-based echocatcher, sets out to deconstruct the notion of “Asias” through fashion. With an emphasis on the term’s plural possibilities, the issue seeks out stories deep within fashion’s global supply chain, and reflects on the porous communities of fashion producers and consumers around the world that may self-identify as “Asian.” Focusing on the regions bordering the South China Sea, with contributors from over 10 countries as well as their global diasporas, the issue contests the idea of Asia as a singular idea, image, and even place, instead engendering an array of “Asias” that are employed symbolically, economically, socially, and politically across fashion’s frenzied systems.
Based on two years of research, the issue pays special attention to how Asian fashion producers have fashioned Asia in the past and in the present, and how tactics of symbolic stylisation and self-orientalization develop and respond to the contemporary zeitgeist. From Vivienne Tam’s controversial Mao dress from 1995 to today’s heritage-hacking by designers in China, Philippines, and the UK, the issue charts an unexplored history of stylization of origin that is enormously ambiguous and often ambivalent, particularly as it plays out as fashion.