Gentrification and Fashion: A social art approach




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Bloomsbury Visual Arts


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Peer reviewed


For a long time, fashion has been a voice for social justice. From Jeremy Corbin's socialist pinstripe suit for the 2019 UK elections reading “FOR THE MANY NOT THE FEW” to Balenciaga’s Winter 22 show an ode to Ukraine set in a blizzard to the creative director, Demna reciting a Ukrainian poem. These messages could not be clearer when using fashion to raise the profile of important social issues but what if we reversed the process, what if fashion were not just a vessel for giving information but also for receiving? “There’s Still Life Here” is an ongoing investigation into the gentrification of urban areas and uses fashion to open dialogue with impacted communities to co-create social policy. The article discusses the interdisciplinary project, its participatory exhibition format exploring gentrification through fashion and its co-created findings resulting in an audio/visual zine output. The public were invited to actively participate and add to the exhibition in a communicable way through the familiarity of clothing. Intertwined with film, music and poetry the immersive exhibition opened dialogue highlighting the importance of social art by raising community ideas and solutions which have been collated into one creative publication, the Social Policy for Gentrification.


To be published in Autumn within the Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion which is part of the Berg Fashion Library by Bloomsbury Fashion Central


Gentrification, Fashion, Social Art, co-creation


Dickinson, L. (2023) Gentrification and Fashion: A social art approach. Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion, London, UK: Bloomsbury Visual Arts


Research Institute