CONCLUSION

The role of fashion images in the reinforcement of a biased Western gaze can take place both on garments and in fashion photography. The clothes we wear and endorsee are a means by which to express our sense of self and affiliation with our culture and ingroup. Thus, endorsing ethnic sartorial behaviours implies this double process stated earlier of acculturation and folklorization. We negotiate our understanding of the world at the frontier delimiting the Us the Them by domesticating other cultural symbols within Western fashion, and we acknowledge and tolerate cultural diversity by folklorizing traditional costumes.

Yves Saint Laurent’s imaginary construction of Otherness through stereotyped garment paved the way for other designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier to push further multiculturalism. Gaultier’s practice turned clothing into sites of travel narratives and transculturation, feeding the fashion industry with complex representation of Otherness challenging simplistic depictions.

Fashion photography and the mass medias also play a major role in structuring the gaze and inviting Western viewers to visually experience a journey to foreign spaces like Peru. The problematic of glamourization and objectification of traditional costumes can be reconciled when recontextualizing ethnic inspired garments within a staged travel narrative. When explicitly positioning the Western model/viewer as tourist/outsider experiencing Otherness with a genuine curiosity, the Western gaze can be detached  from an ethnocentric perspective and become aware of the global and complex nature of cultural diversity.

 

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