Society for Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology
Invited - Oral Presentation Session
After Peru’s gastronomic boom in the early 2000s, many in the government and other arenas saw fashion as a cultural form that would follow suit. During my fieldwork, between 2010 and 2012, runways proliferated around the country, from the first ever Lima Fashion Week to Cusco Always in Fashion, one could even find runways in artisanal crafts fair in rural regions. Fashions presented in these events incorporated indigenous Andean and Amazonian aesthetics into contemporary styles and were produced using indigenous artisanal manufacture. The growth of this national fashion world unfolded hand in hand with the global expansion of “ethical,” and/or “socially responsible” fashions – the industry’s analogue to fair trade. I followed the manufacture of various alpaca wool fashion collections from design and manufacture to runways. In this paper, I will discuss two “socially responsible” runways that took place during Lima Fashion Week and Cusco Always in Fashion. As models walked down runways in outfits that merged indigenous aesthetics and techniques with the latest global styles; such “socially responsible” garments and their presentations blend discourses and practices from fashion and development worlds. These styles are material and symbolic representations that reconfigure a national racial cultural geometry to imagine what inclusion can look like in a cosmopolitan, multicultural, post-conflict Peru. In this paper, I argue that rather than representing inclusion, these fashionable imaginaries, instead, reconfigure existing racial power structures in ways that create new forms of exclusion of the same indigenous bodies and cultures that are simultaneously celebrated and made visible.