One of my current subjects, Doing Anthropology: Ethnographic Methods, requires conducting ethnographic research.

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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. Additionally, the research will explore the transnational, political, social, and cultural forces that bare upon the garment-making industry in Melbourne, Australia.

Fashion studies scholars Kaiser and Green, maintain that “Fashion involves becoming collectively with others…” and that “…[t]he process of fashion is inevitably linked to making and sustaining as well as resisting and dismantling power” (2021, p. 1, emphasis in original). 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 sartorial power dynamics. As a suite of clothing that has its historical roots in upper-class Western Europe, men’s suiting is a fashion statement that has stood the test of time. This research serves as an inquiry into the shifting meanings and significance of an outfit that is subject to the ongoing tensions between constraints and freedoms of clothing the body.