Wearing It On Your Sleeve

March 8, 2015

With shows in Milan, Paris and New York, it's fashion month across the Western World, and people are turning their eyes to runways. But does fashion really matter? Truth is, the garment industry is worth trillions of dollars, and employs millions of people. In this hour, we take a look at the role of clothing in our identities, cultures, economies and environment.

  1. Jacki Lyden on Why Fashion Matters

    "If you ask NPR audiences, 'Do you care about fashion..?' Ninety-five percent of them said 'No.' But if you ask them, 'Do you care about culture?' Ninety-five say 'Yes.'" Jacki Lyden is perhaps best known for her reporting from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But in a new project, she's turned her attention to fashion. Here's why.

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  2. A Philosophy of Fashion

    Philosopher Lars Svendsen talks about how fashion--the search for the new, for the sake of novelty--was born during the early renaissance, with the rise of Modern individuality. He says fashion shapes not just the clothes we wear, but almost every part of our lives.

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  3. Gender and Race on the Runway

    A lot of people dismiss fashion as frivolous, but Media Studies professor Minh-Ha Pham says it's a great lens through which to study race, gender and class politics. "Fashion and so many other kinds of culture and practices that are traditionally associated with women... are often seen as frivolous," she says, and "that dismissal of fashion is linked to a larger, a broader sexism in our culture."

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  4. Fashion, Fast and Slow

    Whether or not you're a person who cares about fashion, how and where our clothes are made has environment, social, and economic consequences. The global garment industry is a trillion dollar business, that employs millions of people. Elizabeth Cline is an advocate for so-called "slow fashion."

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  5. BookMark: Edward Hirsch on "Memorial"

    Poet Edward Hirsch bookmarks Alice Oswald's "Memorial: A Version of Homer's Iliad."

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  6. On Our Minds: Quan Barry Writes Vietnam

    This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of the first US combat troops landing in Vietnam. In the United States, we tend to view Vietnam almost exclusively through the lens of the American war there. So here’s something different, a debut novel from poet Quan Barry. It’s the story of a little girl who can hear ghosts. Her name is Rabbit, and she’s born at the height of the Vietnam War, on the night of a full moon, in her mother’s grave.

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