One of my current subjects, Doing Anthropology: Ethnographic Methods, requires conducting ethnographic research.
This research project aims to examine the symbolism, heritage and staying power of the suit as a lexicon of male fashion. The study will examine both producers of suits (bespoke and made-to-measure tailors) and those who wear suits.
Regarding tailors, the research will consider the time-honoured craft of tailoring and the tailoring studios as spaces of social exchange and trade. In an era where for most people fast fashion is the only economic option available, this research asks what informs the production and consumption practices of bespoke tailoring. What are the transnational, political, social, and cultural forces that bare upon the garment-making industry?
Stylist and fashion editor Grace Coddington maintains that historically, “…women's fashion was about dreams and fantasy; men’s fashion was to create this heightened ideal of the masculine…” (Coddington in Gallagher 2021, p. 3). Accordingly, for wearers of suits, the project aims to understand the symbolic meanings of suit-wearing for men and how fashion choices may contribute to identity formation and contemporary ideals of masculinity.