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Fashion on the move

Fashion is a personal choice and a statement to the world; it is a product of histories and legacies, and a symbol of individual identity. When crossing borders, the expectations and habits that surround clothing often change, and garments lose and gain new meanings with migration. At the same time, textiles and trends also travel around the globe, and shape the movement of people involved in the global circulation of fashion.

The history of fashion and empire shows how colonial mobilities originated some of the staples in today’s wardrobes. Jeans and indigo dye have a long history of forced and exploited labour across global networks, while wax prints, central to West African attires, have journeyed from Indonesia through Dutch colonial markets. Current mobilities add further complexity, as locals and diaspora members have different imaginaries and claims over the same clothing items and migrants blend and reinterpret styles and cultures.


This issue also zooms in on the workers of the fashion industry. We interview designer Emre Pakel who talks about roots, identity and cosmopolitanism. At the other end of the production line, the labour union of migrant street vendors in Barcelona has launched a video campaign for their Ande Dem trainers, calling for a change in the clothing industry and migration policy.


Taking a step beyond fashion, we invite you to read about the claims of displaced persons with disabilities in the Nakivale Refugee Settlement in Uganda, seeking visibility and inclusion, and to learn about Building Fortress Europe, a project that maps the perilous borders of the EU.

Finally, we build on our previous issue, Empowering global diasporas in the digital era, to keep discussing the role of technology in migration journeys and experiences. We look at the few days when the Chinese locals and diasporans met on Clubhouse. We also bring to you one reading recommendation that deals with this topic: an academic book on technology, borders, and migration policy; and a graphic webcomic that follows a PhD candidate studying the endless movement of development professionals.

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Who wears jeans in Singapore?

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Meandering wax: A short history of the ‘African’ fabric

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A tattered tapestry

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Migrating across cultures: Generation Z’s path to self-discovery through fashion

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Ande Dem: Redrawing the vending terrain through fashion and resistance

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Turkish ninjas, identity and championing sustainable fashion: An interview with Emre Pakel

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Troubling horizons: Catching a glimpse of Europe’s future in migration control

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Barriers to participation of displaced persons with disabilities in the Nakivale Refugee Settlement in Uganda

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From WeChat to Clubhouse: The Chinese diaspora’s quest for free speech online

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And they kept spinning around: A review of MDGs: Mzungus in Development and Governments

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Book review: Digital identities, virtual borders and social media: A panacea for migration governance?

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