Fashion in Transition: Fashion and Clothing in the Early 1990s in Croatia, 2020

Fashion in Transition, Zagreb, 2019

In 2020, the Center for Research of Fashion and Clothing (CIMO)  will start the project of researching contemporary fashion and clothing in Croatia since 1991, as the year of the transition.

Within the current efforts to perceive more complex cultural phenomena, and according to the model of interdisciplinary anthropological approach to cultural and visual studies, there is a need for research focusing of identity policies of construction of a new fashion protagonist as a new subject. Thus, this new fashion subject is constructed and consolidated through media construction and careful "stereotyping", which establishes a kind of pillar for building a new neo-liberal society.

It is about exploring the plurality of stereotypes and types of identity construction through the typology of dress and appearance in the context of specific ideological, cultural, social and political circumstances of public space in the ideological context of the early capitalist, neo-liberal model.

This project wants to analyze fashion and clothing practices in moments of transition and significant social changes that will significantly affect the place of fashion in mass and individual clothing. The project is a case study that, through research into the fashion situation in Croatia from independence to the end of 1995, seeks to record these changes in attitudes towards fashion and new fashion opportunities. Through the analysis of texts and cases of visual representation in the press (photographs, drawings in newspapers, magazines), a multi-layered image of fashion in a transitional context is achieved.

The research process will develop in two directions:

a - the transition of domestic fashion production is questioned, researched and analyzed, in the context of privatization but also the disappearance of the hitherto strong textile / fashion branch;

b - on the other hand, it is necessary to observe a complex trajectory of influence through imports and diffusion of the newly created market and media offer;

In different countries, the transition takes on different manifestations and is carried out in different ways, and according to some theorists, the transition is not over and represents a long process.

The transition brings significant changes related to the processes of democratization and privatization processes. The sudden momentum of the private investment model represents a change of orientation which, instead of the domestic production present until then, is increasingly turning towards the import of finished goods and a sharp increase in trade.

The textile and fashion industry, although once a numerically large industry in Croatia, is losing the battle in relation to the import of fashion brands from the West.

Extensive import of fashion information and fashion goods also brings new fashion practices that are reflected on the general social body.

Since the early 1990s in our country were determined by war, it is necessary to focus interest on this specific fact and look at fashion in that (atypical) context.

In this phase of the project, the forms of building a new fashion image and the meaning of visual media representation in individual and mass appearance are questioned, namely: body, appearance, fashion items, brands, origin (import), glossary of new fashion imaginary, new stereotypes, social image, typology, habitus understood as a wider (clothing) personal and collective space visible in representation in media culture. The focus is on exploring the visual representation of the social function of the consumerist-marked stereotype, the image of the subject / object within the development of consumerist practices and the culture of everyday life.

In this way, the dynamics of social and cultural transformation from the socialist to the neo-liberal capitalist model are explored. Consumerist new practices produce a strong change in social reality as well as a discursive coloration of the fashion contribution to the individual but also to public change in the public sphere. 


* The project is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia and the City Office for Culture, Education and Sports of the City of Zagreb, for 2020.

* Photos: private archives t.v.

* Copyright © cimo - a center for research of fashion and clothing. All rights reserved.