The term “intersectionality” was originated from the feminist theory but has long been applied to different subject areas including fashion studies. This term was coined and used by Kimberle Crenshaw, a noted race theorist, who happened to awaken to the intersectional influence race, class and gender of oppression on domestic violence against African American women in Los Angeles; this concept was later expanded to more subject positions such as ethnicity, age, nation, sexuality, and so on. Therefore, intersectionality in the field of fashion studies may refer to how different subject positions interplay and overlap to influence our identity in the connection and interaction with people and the world around them and their dress practices. Although dress practice is an important channel for people to express their fashion statements, dress practices are affected and constrained by different external factors such as “dress codes and social conventions, by political regimes, and the like”.
My dress practices are also affected by different subject positions. One of these factors is gender. As a female, I pay much attention to the styles and categories of my dressing. When I was much younger before going to live and study in the United States. I was fascinated by different fanciful clothing of different colors. Therefore, when I was much younger, I preferred to dress like this as can be shown in Figure 1. When I was in primary and junior high school in China, however, I found that my tastes for dressing were ruined because we were often required to dress in school uniform as can be shown in Figure 2. It turns out that I did not much attention to the brands, styles, and categories of my dressing until I went to live and study in the United States. I was in Los Angeles, I start to buy my own clothes but people wear more hoodies and t-shirt with pants or jeans. Since high school, I started to pay more attention to the clothes I wore instead of simply satisfying the expectation of my family. At this time, place, age, and class intersected with gender and my nationality and influenced my perception of how to dress more appropriately in the United States in the interplay and interaction “between subjectivity and the subject positions (I) inhabit”. However, as I went to study fashion studies, major started to intersect with other subject positions, since which I started to pay more attention to the design of my clothing. I wear more oversized garments. Every time when I go back to China, my grandma does not like my oversized dresses. My outfit‘s color change from colorful to more natural color, black and white color. It gives me more sense of safety and confidence.
Kaiser, Susan B. Fashion and Cultural Studies. London and New York: Berg Publishing, 2012.