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Stylish modernity: exploration of the visual creativity of fashion designers in Tibet

videoconference by Isabelle Henrion-Dourcy, Professor at the University of Laval, Canada.

This conference is doubly marked by the digital shift imposed by the pandemic: an online presentation, moreover based only on visual material from the web, without ethnographic investigation, since field trips have been at a standstill since March 2020. The motionless search behind a computer screen provided the opportunity to conduct a preliminary investigation into a particularly vibrant area of ​​contemporary Tibetan visual creativity: fashion, which comes in styles ranging from ethnic chic to haute couture. As with pop / hip-hop music and contemporary art, the inventiveness and daring of these young creators – especially women creators – is surprising. They reread, disarticulate and reuse the codes and symbols of traditional clothing by mixing them with hypermodern, urban and trendy shapes, colors and textures. A new cool is emerging in the world of design, both in Tibet and in exile, even Bhutan. This preliminary study will focus on five designers from Tibet (from each of the three regions) and will focus on reading and interpreting their works as they are posted on their social media in Chinese, Tibetan and English. It will be about deciphering the visual quotes from the compositions and comparing these hybrid visions of a radically modern Tibet.

To watch the video: