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Stitching time: artisanal collaboration and slow fashion in post-disaster Haiti

Hammond, Charlotte 2020. Stitching time: artisanal collaboration and slow fashion in post-disaster Haiti. Fashion Theory 24 (1) , pp. 33-57. 10.1080/1362704X.2018.1441001

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The promotion of the textile and garment industries as a development strategy following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and a US-backed return to garment assembly lines has prompted an interrogation of some of the local impacts of transnational manufacturing practices in this context. This essay seeks to evaluate alternative fashion practices and social enterprises in Haiti that are currently challenging and disassembling the contemporary forms of slavery predominant in offshore low-wage garment manufacturing. These slower “ethical fashion” cooperatives integrate traditional Haitian skills and cultural konesans (knowledge) with international design languages and market savoir-faire to produce unique handcrafted pieces for the global fashion market. Yet, as this paper argues, these collaborations reveal ongoing neo-colonial inequalities that side-line Haitian agency. Their uneven modes of production and marketing strategies often involve short-term interventions by Western fashion designers that undermine Haitian expertise. This examination of artisan “development” therefore seeks to situate these enterprises in a longer history of sustainability in Haiti, and considers how stitching cloth in response to disaster can retrace the stories of loss and survival of communities and mediate cultural knowledge.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Modern Languages
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
ISSN: 1362-704X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 1 March 2018
Date of Acceptance: 12 February 2018
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2020 15:37

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