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Winchester School of Art
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Professor Jonathan Faiers BA (Hons.), P.G.Dip, MA (Dist.), PhD.

Professor of Fashion Thinking, Co-Director of the Winchester Luxury Research Group

Professor Jonathan Faiers's photo

Jonathan Faiers is Professor of Fashion Thinking at Winchester School of Art, teaching across a number of arts and design courses on the history of dress and textiles and fashion as material culture. He supervises a number of PhD students working in the fields of fashion and textiles and is engaged in a number of on-going research projects centred on luxury, fur, dress and identity.

In all societies the body is ‘dressed’, and everywhere dress and adornment play symbolic, communicative and aesthetic roles. Dress is always ‘unspeakably meaningful.’ From Elizabeth Wilson. Adorned in Dreams

Jonathan’s research examines the interface between popular culture, textiles and dress. Mainstream cinema is an abiding source of inspiration for much of Jonathan’s work and he has published widely on the relationship between film, fashion and textiles culminating in his book Dressing Dangerously: Dysfunctional Fashion in Film (Yale University Press, 2013), which investigates cinema’s utilisation of clothing to create discourses centred on themes such as loss, vulnerability and replication. His critically acclaimed work Tartan (Berg, 2008) interrogated the myth of clanship and established tartan as a ‘textile transporter’, a cloth of opposition whose troubled history has made it uniquely capable of expressing both subversion and conformity, innovation and tradition; a concept which Jonathan has lectured and spoken about widely on television and radio. A new paperback version of Tartan in in preparation which will include additional material on tartan and masculinity and tartan and nationalism.  


Jonathan’s early training as a fashion and theatre designer and his subsequent career as a visual artist has been fundamental to his interdisciplinary approach to teaching, writing and curation. Recently he has written essays for Alexander McQueen (V&A. 2015), Developing Dress History: New Directions in Method and Practice (Bloomsbury. 2015), London Couture 1923-1975: British Luxury (V&A. 2015) and Critical Luxury Studies: Art, Design and Media (Edinburgh University Press. 2016), Expedition: Fashion from the Extreme (F.I.T./Thames & Hudson 2017), A Companion to Contemporary Design Since 1945 (Blackwell 2018), and Ravishing: The Rose in Fashion (Yale/F.I.T. 2020). He lectures widely on textiles and dress and is a member of the organising committee for the Costume Colloquium, Florence. In 2014 Jonathan launched Luxury: History, Culture, Consumption (Taylor & Francis Routledge); the first peer-reviewed, academic journal to investigate this globally contested term and is a founder member and co-director of the Winchester Luxury Research Group.

His most recent research has focused on fur and culminated in a major new socio-cultural study published by Yale University Press in 2020

FUR book cover

'The first and only book of its kind, Fur: A Sensitive History looks at the impact of fur on society, politics, and, of course, fashion. This material has a long, complex, and rich history, culminating in recent and ongoing anti-fur debates. Jonathan Faiers discusses how fur—long praised for its warmth, softness, and connotation of status—became so controversial, at the center of campaigns against animal cruelty and the movement toward ethical fashion. At the same time, fake fur now faces a backlash of its own, given the environmental impact of its manufacture and its links to fast fashion.

Divided into five sections—dedicated to hair, pelt, coat, skin, and fleece—the book surveys not only the politics of fur but also its centrality to western fashion, the tactile pleasure it gives, and its use in literature, art, and film. This thoughtfully reasoned, eloquently written, and spectacularly illustrated examination of fur is both timely and essential, filling a gap in fashion scholarship and appealing to a broad audience’

Research interests

My research interests include the interface between popular culture, textile and dress. Film and television’s construction of a shared understanding of fashion is fundamental to my work and informs my teaching, writing and curatorial projects. Accepting that fashion and textile theory is fundamentally interdisciplinary I have become increasingly interested in the concept of ‘fashion thinking’ and how we need to strive for indisciplinarity, by that I mean being simultaneously amongst disciplines, yet challenging the limits of those same disciplines. This is necessary in order to fully engage with textiles and dress as material culture, as representation, and as a uniquely social phenomenon. To that end I welcome research projects that will test the limits of how we currently think about clothing and textiles.

Research group

Winchester Luxury Research Group

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Professor Faiers’ most recent and forthcoming publications include:

Single authored/Co-edited books

2020 Author: Fur: A Sensitive History Yale University Press.
2016 Co-Editor: Colors in Fashion (Proceedings of Costume Colloquium IV) with Westerman Bulgarella. Bloomsbury. isbn 9781474273688
2014 - Editor: Luxury: History, Culture, Consumption. Taylor& Francis/Routledge. Launched September 2014.
2014 Guest Editor: Textile: Journal of Cloth and Culture. In the Loop (Knitting Special Edition) 12:1. Bloomsbury.
2013 Author: Dressing Dangerously: Dysfunctional Fashion in Film. Yale University Press.
2008 Author: Tartan. Berg and V & A Publications.


2020 Chapter: The Rose in Context in Ravishing: The Rose in Fashion Yale/F.I.T.
2018 Chapter: Luxury and Contemporary Design in A Companion to Contemporary Design Since 1945. Blackwell.  
2018 Chapter. White Lies and the Tailoring of Evil in Fashion Crimes: Dressing for Deviance. I B Tauris.
2017 Article: Stinking to High Heaven: Olfactory Aspirations and the Language of Desire in special ‘Elite Discourses’ edition of The Journal of Social Semiotics. Vol.27 No.3 Taylor & Francis
2017 Chapter: Fur the Final Frontier in Expedition: Fashion from the Extreme FIT New York/Thames & Hudson
2016 Chapter: Yellow is the New Red, or How the Shade of Shame Became Chic in Colors in Fashion (Proceedings of Costume Colloquium IV) Bloomsbury. isbn 9781474273688. pp. 95-106.
2016 Articles. Bloomsbury Online Fashion Photography Archive:
Fur and Feathers and-feathers
2016 Chapter: Sartorial Connoisseurship, The T-Shirt and the Interrogation of Luxury in Critical Luxury Studies: Art, Design and Media Technicities Series. Edinburgh University Press. isbn. 9781474402613. pp.177-198
2015 Article. “In a Galaxy far, far away…”: C3PO, Mink and the Promise of Disruptive Luxury in special ‘Critical Luxury Studies’ edition of Cultural Politics
2015 Chapter: Dress Thinking: Disciplines and Indisciplinarity in Dress History: New Directions in Theory and Practice. Bloomsbury. isbn 9780857855411 pp.16-32
2015 Essay: Portrait Pioneers: Bertillon to Warhol, Galton to Burson in The Best of the Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre, Delhi. Penguin Random House.
2015 Chapters: The Ghosts of Mayfair: Isobel, Lutyens, Rahvis, Etches, Geffers and Delanghe and The Timelessness that Ran Out of Time: Reporting London Couture in London Couture 1923 -1975: British Luxury. V&A Publications. isbn. 978-1851778508 pp. 128-145 & 286-301.
2015 Chapter. Nature Boy: Alexander McQueen and the Natural World in Alexander McQueen. V&A Publications. isbn. 9781851778270 pp.122-137
2014 Chapter. From Tennis Court to Football Terrace: Italian Sportswear and British Male Style in La Moda: The Glamour of Italian Fashion V&A Publications. isbn 9781851777761. pp. 208-215

Selected conference papers

2019 Paper: Birthday Suits Invisible Men Conference, Westminster University, 29/10/2019 
2019 Paper Tartan’s Translation Tartan Study Day, National Museum of Scotland 4/10/2019
2019 Guest Lecture: And the Word Was Made Flesh: Alternative bespoke traditions – necropants, dandies and serial killers. Norwich University of the Arts 17/01/2019
2018 Keynote: Researching Fashion and Textiles British Fashion Council Masterclass: British Library X Nabil Nayal, British Library 20/11/2018 
2018 Presentation : Fur Unwrapping an Icon: The Lady in a Fur Wrap and Other Portraits Victoria & Albert Museum, London 23/02/2018
2017 Keynote: Fur the Final Frontier Expedition: Fashion From the Extreme F.I.T. New York
2017 Keynote: Luxury Fashion in the New Belle Époque: Remembrance of Things Past. Nouveau Reach. Past, Present and Future of Luxury. Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada 26-28/05/2017.
2017 Presentation: ‘Fur, Ethics and Sustainability’ Royal College of Art, London 31/01/2107
2016 Presentation: ‘Colors in Fashion’ Chicago History Museum. U.S.A. 3/12/2016
2016 Presentation: ‘Fashion Thinking’ School of the Art Institute of Chicago, U.S.A. 2/12/2016
2016 Presentation: Can't See the Wood for The Trees: Multiples, Misdirection and Hiding in Plain Sight’ The Vanishing Art of Camouflage. Westminster University. 7/11/2016
2016 Conference Organiser Costume Colloquium V Excess and Restraint in Fashion and Dress Florence (November)
2016 Conference Organiser: Death of Fashion? Bargehouse Salon series No. 1 The Bargehouse, London. 26/04/2016
2016 Conference Organiser and Paper: ‘Luxury Fashion: Requiem or Renaissance’ Rethinking Luxury Fashion Seminar. Winchester School of Art. 19/05/2016.
2016 Keynote: ‘Textiles and the Regeneration of Space’ Regenerating Textiles Futures. Winchester School of Art. 18/04/2016.
2016 Paper: ‘Fashion Thinking: Sustainable Systems of Thought’ Fashion and Sustainability Forum. Winchester School of Art. 10/03/2016.
2016 Keynote: Stinking to High Heaven: Olfactory aspirations and the language of desire. Elite Discourse Roundtable Bern, Switzerland 6-7/04/2016
2016 Keynote: Branding the Global Body: Tartan and Beyond, West of England Costume Society, Bristol 19/03/2016
2015 Presentation: The Timelessness That Ran Out of Time: Reporting London Couture, London Couture Conference V&A Museum 28/11/2015.
2015 Presentation: Interdisciplinarity or Indisciplinarity? Dress History: New Directions in Theory and Practice launch event Fashion & Textile Museum London 29/10/2015
2015 Keynote: Exclusive Access. What is Luxury? Conference, Victoria & Albert Museum. 18/09/2015.
2015 Keynote: Exaggerated Domesticity and Extravagant Utility: Knitting and the Runway. In the Loop 4: Knitting from Craft to Couture, University of Glasgow, 26-8/08/2015.
2015 Paper: Fashionland and the Spaces of Engineered Creativity International Symposium of Cultural Spaces: Creative Places, Winchester School of Art, 23-24/07/2015
2015 Keynote: The Negative Cinematic Wardrobe: Pants, Capucci and Possibility in Pasolini’s Theorem, Textual Fashion: Representing Fashion and Clothing in Word and Image Conference, University of Brighton. 8-10/07.
2015 Paper. Molecular: McQueen and the Natural World. Alexander McQueen: Sabotage and Tradition Conference, Victoria & Albert Museum and London College of Fashion. 5-6/06.
2015 Panel discussion: The Shock of the Stain. FASHION AND. Screen Conference, Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens. 22/05.
2015 Paper. ‘In a galaxy far, far away…’ C-3PO, Mink and the Promise of Disruptive Luxury. Critical Luxury Studies Seminar. Winchester School of Art. 21/05.
2015 Conference Chair and Paper. Stealth Luxury or the Lining of Excess. The Spaces of Luxury: Places, Spaces and Geographies. Warwick Business School, The Shard, London. 5-7/02.
2015 Paper. Altered States: The Senselessness of Late 17th and Early 18th Century 'Bizarre' Textiles. Rethinking Eighteenth-Century Empires International Workshop. University of Southampton. 20/01.
2014 Conference Chair and Paper. Yellow is the New Red. Costume Colloquium IV: Colours in Fashion. Florence. 20-23/11.
2014 Paper. Fashionland. Fashion Thinking – Theory History Practice Conference, University of Southern Denmark. 30/10-1/11.
2014 Invited Panel Member, The Britishness of British Luxury. The Geographies of Luxury: East, West and Global Directions, Warwick University. 07-9/05/2014.
2014 Keynote: Class Conscious and Cosy: Exporting British Knitwear in the Ambassador at The Knitting 1914-2014 Study Days Southampton University 02-3/04/2014

Professor Jonathan Faiers
Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton, Park Avenue, Winchester, Hampshire. SO23 8DL United Kingdom

Room Number : 63K/1187

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