Call for papers for the special issue of Fashion Theory

Mending matters: cultures and contexts of clothing repair

When the fabric of life is bursting at the seams in different parts of the world, repair seems to be an essential need. We propose approaching clothing repair, or the practice of reassembling what was torn and broken, as a cultural, social, economic, environmental, and political practice that reveals structures and institutions, daily life, emotions, and identities of people in different contexts. 

Repair (or mending) is a fundamentally important concept for fashion studies. It is an indicator of a major paradigmatic shift. For a long time, fashion has been associated with novelty, newness, dynamism, and fast-paced change. The anthropologist Sandra Niessen (2020) criticized early definitions of fashion, for instance, the classical definition by German sociologist Georg Simmel. Simmel highlighted the rapid change of European fashion styles and contrasted them with other fashion systems that did not have a similar quick logic of change. As Niessen (2020: 862) wrote, “the other clothing expressions in the world, from tribal to peasant, are hampered by tradition and exemplify stasis and therefore constitute non-fashion”. Dutch anthropologist M. Angela Jansen referred to another classical definition of fashion by British psychologist John Carl Flügel, who stated that “modish costume predominates in the western world and is even ‘one of the most characteristic features of modern European civilization,’ while outside the sphere of western influence, dress changes more slowly, is more closely connected with racial and local circumstances, or with social or occupational standing and therefore qualifies as fixed costume” (Jansen 2020: 820). These definitions cemented the dichotomy of fashion and fast-paced change rooted in the Western concept of fashion. 

However, today, fashion studies have recognized that the history and theory of fashion, which have been narrated as “quintessentially European” (Riello 2021), led to many problems, among which are the vastly damaging effects of fashion on the environment and on human beings’ lives (Niessen 2020). Scholars of fashion studies have argued that fashion must be delinked from (Western) European epistemologies, or decolonized (Slade, Jansen 2020). This has to be done by both critical assessment of the current Western thought and by active dialogue with scholars from other parts of the world – between Global South and Global North, Global East and Global West.

We suggest continuing this discussion on decolonizing fashion that began in Fashion Theory in 2020 by looking at clothing repair. Repair or mending is an instrument to decouple the idea of newness from the concept of fashion. Repair resists to fast-paced change. It forces us to rethink the aesthetic of newness. Our thematic issue brings repair to the forefront along with other relevant practices, experiences, identities, and aesthetics associated with prolonging the lifecycle of clothing and creating multiple lives for clothes. We expect to receive academic articles that tackle 

  • clothing repair across time and space – geographical, social, and cultural 
  • repair as a form of environmental, cultural, or political activism
  • repair as an act of empowerment
  • repair as a form of consumption pleasure and well-being
  • the role of repair in building and maintaining communities
  • different forms of amateur and professional clothing repair practices
  • shifts in aesthetics of objects associated with repair
  • repair and trauma 
  • clothing repair in formal and informal education


Deadline for the first draft submission                                                01.03.2024

Checking the drafts by editors                                                01.03.2024 — 31.03.2024

First round of external reviews                                               01.04.2024 — 31.05.2024

Revision of the first draft                                                        01.05.2024 — 31.07.2024

Second round of external reviews                                           01.08.2024 — 30.09.2024

Revision                                                                                01.10.2024 — 31.10.2024

Checking the second drafts by editors.                                    01.11.2024 — 30.11.2024

Deadline for completed manuscript submission             01.12.2024

Submission instructions

The journal’s usual Instructions for Authors ( apply to the special issue’s papers. We would expect to publish between 4 and 5 articles. Please, submit your article by March 1, 2024, to the editors of the Special Issue: Dr. Liudmila Aliabieva (, Dr. Olga Gurova ( and PhD Candidate Iryna Kucher (


Jansen M. A. (2020) Fashion and the Phantasmagoria of Modernity: An Introduction to Decolonial

Fashion Discourse, Fashion Theory, 24(6), 815–836.

Niessen S. (2020) Fashion, Its Sacrifice Zone, and Sustainability, Fashion Theory, 24(6), 859-877.  

Riello D. (2021) Worlds with No Fashion? The Birth of Eurocentrism, Paulicelli E., Manlow V. & E. Wissinger (eds), The Routledge Companion to Fashion Studies. NY: Routledge, 11-22. 

Slade T., Jansen M.A. (2020) Letters from the Editors: Decoloniality and Fashion, Fashion Theory,

24(6), 809-814.