PCA/ACA National Conference: Fashioning Jamaica 1950-1975

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The role design that has played in the remaking of the Caribbean has been an important one, particularly that of fashion and textiles. This paper considers the ways in which fashion and textiles, produced in Jamaica during 1950-1975, were employed to navigate shifting subjectivities in a nation undergoing transition. In particular, it considers how national identities were constructed in a period of decolonisation and how fashion and textiles were utilised in this process. Examining the complex relationship between colony and metropole and subsequent narratives, I will also interrogate the acts of resistance to the Empire that formed part of the struggle for independence in addition to considering the role played by design in resisting /accommodating a British, European global aesthetic.

This paper considers the ways in which Jamaicans have used textile design to negotiate notions of race, class and gender in order to come to terms with their colonial history. Using oral histories and personal archives as a case study, this paper demonstrates how Jamaicans sought to control their own representations, engaging with design practices to construct a ‘modern’ Jamaica. It argues that an examination of postcolonial design practices can help us rethink and reconceptualise fashion and textiles histories.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 24 Mar 2016
EventPopular Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference -
Duration: 22 Mar 201625 May 2016


ConferencePopular Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference


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