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Portrait of Kyunghee Pyun

Associate Professor

Kyunghee Pyun

  • School of Liberal Arts
  • History of Art

Fashion, Identity, and Power in Modern Asia

This edited volume on radical dress reforms in East Asia takes a fresh look at the symbols and languages of modernity in dress and body. Dress reform movements around the turn of the twentieth century in the region have received little critical attention as a multicultural discourse of labor, body, gender identity, colonialism, and government authority. With contributions by leading experts of costume/textile history of China, Korea, and Japan, this book presents up-to-date scholarship using diverse methodologies in costume history, history of consumption, and international trade.

Thematically organized into sections exploring the garments and uniforms, accessories, fabrics, and fashion styles of Asia, this edited volume offers case studies for students and scholars in an ever-expanding field of material culture including, but not limited to, economic history, visual culture, art history, history of journalism, and popular culture. Fashion, Identity, and Power in Modern Asia stimulates further research on the impact of modernity and imperialism in neglected areas such as military uniform, school uniform, women’s accessories, hairstyles, and textile trade.

Cover of Fashion, Identity, and Power in Modern Asia

How did you first come up with the idea for this work?
Teaching a course on Asian art.

What was your research process like?
Visiting Japan, Korea, and Taiwan; and meeting scholars in the field.

Does this work relate to your role at FIT? If so, how?
I use this book in my courses: History of East Asian Costume; East Asian Art and Civilization.

What was your biggest challenge? What was most rewarding?
Finding image sources and getting image permissions; most rewarding part was to initiate a new field of scholarship. Our book generated much interest in this subject and was reviewed in major journals.

Is there other information we should know?
This is the first of my tripartite project. The second is School Uniforms in East Asia: Fashioning State and Selfhood (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022). And the third would be Workplace Uniforms in East Asia or Workplace Uniforms in the Twentieth Century (both East and West).

  • Time to publication: 2 years
  • Professor at FIT since 2013