NECSUS Autumn 2017_#Dress


In a widely circulating quote, Marlene Dietrich declares: ‘I dress for the image. Not for myself, not for the public, not for fashion, not for men.’ Obviously, Dietrich, notably under Von Sternberg’s guidance, is a quintessential example of the convergence in a star image of studio marketing strategies, elaborate art direction, gender issues, and bonds between media production, visual culture, and the fashion industry. However, the statement also hints at the close connection between image and dress, as they both shape identities and cooperate in defining subjectivities. Costume and dress have always been an important element in photographic practices and culture, as much as a key factor in cinematic and audiovisual storytelling. Dress has been studied as an important element of mise-en-scène and stardom, and it is undoubtedly a relevant component of media visual culture. The fashion industry creates icons and supports media production, either by directly advertising its products or involving visual artists in innovative projects (Wes Anderson, Chris Cunningham, David Lynch, et al.), and contributes to the circulation of media artworks through festivals dedicated to the relationships between media and fashion (Berlin, La Jolla, Miami, Milan, etc.). Moreover, recent television formats and web platforms such as YouTube rely on dress and dressing as a mode to construct subjectivities and promote the self. Over the last decade fashion has grown in importance as an important element in transmedial culture, design culture, and the creative industries.

There is no question that dress and costume contribute to produce meaning. In 1967, Roland Barthes’ seminal publication The Fashion System, where he analyses the language of fashion magazines, opened deeper layers of meaning in dress codes, garments, and other wardrobe items in relation to theoretical questions of identity, politics, and history. Moreover, dress is an integral part of open societies, as Gilles Lipovetsky argues in The Empire of Fashion (2002), wherein he states that fashion has a democratising effect. The Autumn 2017 issue of NECSUS investigates dress and costume as a theoretical and analytical concern in media studies. We welcome contributions that investigate said notions in a variety of ways, ranging from new takes on historical representations of costume and clothes, to philosophical inquiries on the image as tissue and other tailored concepts, to new developments in media culture in relation to frocks, gowns, and garments.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

– the emergence of (online) fashion film and fashion film festivals

– tissue, fabric, folds, and other ‘fashionable’ concepts in media aesthetics

– ‘fine feathers make fine birds”, mise-en-scène of (subversive) identities, costume as masquerade

– make-up vloggers and other social media trendsetters

– haute couture and stardom

– photographic practices, style, circulation, and fashion

– modeling and reality shows

– uniforms and other dress codes on television, film, games

– costume drama and the heritage of garments

– memory and meaning preserved in a piece of cloth

– biopics and documentaries on fashion designers

– fashionista gender and lifestyle in media performances

– designing the future in garments

– transmedial catwalks

– politics of (un)veiling in contemporary video art

– set dressing

– dress and ethnicity

– fashion, design, and exhibition culture

– fashion ads and contemporary media

– modernity, fashion, window shopping and other screens

We look forward to receiving abstracts of 300 words, 3-5 bibliographic references, and a short biography of 100 words by 1 November 2016 at the following address: On the basis of selected abstracts writers will be invited to submit full manuscripts (5,000-7,000 words, revised abstract, 4-5 keywords) which will subsequently go through a double-blind peer review process.

NECSUS also accepts abstract submissions on a rolling basis throughout the year for a wide variety of articles on a number of themes related to media studies but not necessarily connected to a special section topic, in addition to proposals for festival, exhibition, and book reviews, as well as audiovisual essays. Please note that we do not accept full manuscripts for consideration without an invitation. Access our submission guidelines at