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Fashioning China

Fashioning China

Precarious Creativity and Women Designers in Shanzhai Culture

by Sara Liao

Series: Digital Barricades

A study of women creating fake fashion in China - and how it affects the economy, labour, creativity and culture.

'Shanzhai' from Cantonese slang, refers to the production of fake goods in China, which enjoy an anti-authoritarian-like dissemination across the global market. Starting with mobile phones, now fashion brands are subverted in this way, with many women at the helm of design and production. Fashioning China looks at the women designers simultaneously subverting and reinforcing the nationalist-developmentalist, masculinist and technocratic dream of brands that are 'Made in China'.

Broadening the digital labour debate beyond typical masculine and techno-utopic readings, Sara Liao studies the precarious practices of women trying to create sustainable and creative lives, vividly illustrating a fashion culture that exists online as a significant part of the digital economy.

Drawing on material from interviews, participant observation, archives, policy documents, films and advertisements, Liao takes a multi-disciplinary approach to the topic, charting out the politics of intellectual property rights, globalisation, technocracy, patriarchy and nationalism in a non-Western context.

Sara Liao is Assistant Professor at the School of Journalism and Communication in the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She has published in several journals including, Fashion Theory, International Journal of Communication, Communication, Culture, Critique, and Chinese Journal of Communication.

List of Figures
Series preface
1. Introduction: Fashion Work, Precarious Labor, and Women Designers in Shanzhai Culture
2. Shanzhai Fashion and Precarious Creativity in China
3. The Digital Labor and Production Culture of Shanzhai Fashion
4. The Shanzhai of Shanzhai: The Politics of Copying and Creativity
5. Shanzhai Dreams and the Chinese Dream
6. Shanzhai Culture, National Ideologies, and Transnational Capitalism: A Double-edged Sword
Appendix: Demographics of Informants

Published by Pluto Press in Feb 2020
Paperback ISBN: 9780745340708
eBook ISBN: 9781786805904

135mm x 215mm