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Flirting with Fascism – and Other Fashion Scandals

Event Label
Organisational Units
Education in the Arts
Location Address (1)
Karl-Schweighofer-Gasse 3
Location ZIP and/or City (1)
1070 Vienna
Location Room (1)

An event of the studio for Fashion and Styles at the Institute for Education in the Arts.

In recent years, multiple local and global fashion brands have been called out for cultural appropriation, racism, misogyny, and even flirting with fascism. All publicity is good publicity? Perhaps not. In her lecture Annamari Vänskä introduces major examples from her latest book Understanding Fashion Scandals (Bloomsbury 2024) that explores this changing landscape of contemporary fashion through case studies showing how 'shock value' lost its currency. Coauthored by Annamari Vänskä and Olga Gurova, the book focuses on the changes since the late 1970s and early 1980s, when brands like Calvin Klein and Benetton first used controversy as a promotional tool to build their brand identity, to the contemporary industry where avoiding social media backlash is critical to survival.

Annamari Vänskä, PhD, Docent is Senior University Lecturer of Design Cultures at the Department of Design at Aalto University. Her research interests include the following:  fashion studies, fashion media, fashion advertising, fashion curating, visual culture studies, fashion, gender and sexuality, children and fashion, fashion and posthumanism, critical gender theory, performativity, queer theory, posthumanist theory. She is the co-leader of the research group Design Culture Studies at the Department of Design and the leader of the research project Intimacy, work and design, funded by the Strategic Research Council of Finland (2019–2025).