Re-thinking Creative Economy Through Fashion in Asia

Conference: AAS-in-Asia2020 (AAS-in-Asia2020)
Title: Re-thinking Creative Economy Through Fashion in Asia
Stream: Urban Studies
Presentation Type: Panel Presentation
Wessie Ling, London Metropolitan University, United Kingdom (organizer, chair, discussant)
Xin Gu, Monash University, Australia (presenter)
Peter Oakley, Royal College of Art, United Kingdom (presenter)
Kathleen Scott, Academy of Design Colombo, Sri Lanka (presenter)
Shwana Khalil, Pakistan Institute of Fashion and Design, Pakistan (presenter)


The rise of Asia in recent years not only as economic powerhouse but as global cultural soft power has shifted geopolitical trajectories for the region and its ‘imagined’ threat to the West. Despite the fact that Asia’s growing interest in creative industries such as fashion consumption is seen to hold out opportunities for countries like France and Italy to sell high-end creative goods, there’s growing anxiety over Asia’s rising creative literacy. In recent years, Korean, HK and Chinese fashion designers are increasingly achieving global status, supported by much more efficient cultural production and distribution services in their local creative ecosystems.

Borrowing the creative economy policy framework from Europe, many Asian countries have pursued a Western-style of modernization but with very different routes. In the case of fashion, the creative economy framework tends to focus on high-end cultural consumption and wealth creation than on artistic sensibility and progressive social reforms. This panel, through the lens of fashion, explores challenges for Asia, operating often via authoritarian style of governance, to translate and adopt the discourse of creative industries – which tends to reward grassroots, individual innovation. It focuses on the symbolic value of fashion in mediating and communicating an evolving cultural politics in Asia.