‘Island Textiles and Clothing’: A thematic section of Island Studies Journal, Vol. 13(1), May 2018
Many of the best-known textile traditions of the UK and Ireland are associated with islands, e.g. Aran knitting, Harris tweed, Shetland lace, and Fair Isle knitting. Emphasis is often placed on the relationship between the textile product and its place of origin, through which island identity and related national identities are co-constructed. Such textile traditions are also frequently linked to a mythologised historical narrative of textile production as part of a subsistence economy which is embedded within the contemporary presentation of textile products as design classics and souvenirs.
The association of islands with distinctive textile and clothing (such as fur or tree bark clothing) traditions is, indeed, a global phenomenon. By soliciting articles from island studies scholars around the world, this thematic section of Island Studies Journal addresses such questions as:
· How do the island origins of certain textiles and distinctive clothing relate to their role in national, regional, or local identity?
· How do island-based textile and clothing producers use their location to leverage symbolic capital in global markets?
· How are island textile and clothing traditions incorporated into the creative industries on a national or regional scale?
· What is the relationship between textile and clothing design and other creative industries on islands?
· How do island textile and clothing businesses intersect with other sectors, e.g. agriculture, hunting, and tourism?
· Island textiles and clothing are sometimes positioned as ‘craft’ items in contrast to the global textile and clothing industry, with its increasingly recognised exploitative and unsustainable aspects. What are the limitations of this dichotomy? How is the globalised textile industry present on or influenced by islands? How do island textile traditions relate to contemporary ethical and environmental concerns?
· How is knowledge about island landscapes, culture, and history created and disseminated through textile and clothing processes and objects?
· How do island textiles and clothing travel? What meanings are gained, lost, or reinterpreted as they circulate, whether physically as design inspiration or through digital images?
· Does ‘island-ness’ encourage the crystallisation of a ‘stylistic canon’ (Cohen 1993; Markwick 2001) in material culture? How is this determined by material conditions and consumer expectations?
· How do utilitarian textiles (e.g. fishing nets, ropes, knots) figure in conceptions of island-ness?
Island Studies Journal (http://www.islandstudies.ca/journal) invites paper submissions on the theme of ‘Island Textiles and Clothing’. Selected peer-reviewed papers will be published as a special section in Island Studies Journal in May 2018. Island Studies Journal is a web-based, freely downloadable, open access, peer reviewed, electronic journal that publishes papers advancing and critiquing the study of issues affecting or involving islands.