Viscose is a new journal for fashion criticism. Launched between Copenhagen and New York in 2021, the irregular periodical will publish critical writing and projects by a wide range of authors from the worlds of art, fashion,
literature, and academia. Through specially edited thematic issues, Viscose gives space to projects that challenge and expand the possibilities of research, practice, and critique of fashion.
Founding Editor-in-Chief: Jeppe Ugelvig
Editorial Assistant: Cheuk Ng
Creative Director: Filip Samuel Berg
Art Designer: Laura Silke
Viscose is 100% ad-free, and its inaugural issue is supported by the Nordic Culture Fund as well as the Danish Arts Foundation. It is proudly co-published by the International Library for Fashion Research in Oslo, Norway.
The fifth issue of Viscose explores fashion’s multifaceted retail spaces and cultures. With the evolution of shopping in the 20th and 21st centuries as its focus, the issue looks at the shop as a central nexus where communities and identities are continuously produced and re-imagined through commerce. With a special attention to the role of fashion retail within urban spatial politics, we seek out histories of projects—often developed with or by artists—that have embraced the shop as a medium of both possibility and contestation.
Retail is a central site of fashion production. It is in the store, mall, and e-shop that fashion products reveal the extent of the libidinal capitalist economy—a desire that has been theorized for centuries as commodity fetishism, a magical power relegated to objects as they enter circuits of exchange. As such, the shop is a stage for fashion’s oldest rituals, one that has become synonymous with capitalist modernity. Over the last century, shopping spaces have accelerated and mutated, into malls and department stores, re-imagining new types of public spaces structured by increasingly sublime architectures of consumption. As a public activity that demands (and thus commands) physical space, shopping continues to produce social relations that are deeply political in nature: gender, class, gentrification, surveillance, and police power are all ambiently produced and reproduced within retail spaces. As spaces dedicated to the reproduction of capital, retail necessitates systems, both formal and informal, of loss prevention and security that are embedded in physical infrastructure and embodied within consumers. As such, retail can be understood as sites of political contestation, transgression, and resistance, however quotidian or slight they may seem.
We are studying retail in the aftermath of various proclaimed crises and revolutions—store death, retail apocalypse, digitization. Yet through these times, brick-and-mortar fashion consumption has not died but instead morphed in both appearance and function, serving today as sophisticated branding spaces in an aggressive experience economy. Retail, as we see it and know it in our contemporary moment, manically negotiates the ever-shifting relationship between contrasting spaces—urban, rural, virtual, invisible—and often prototypes infrastructures that are then adopted elsewhere in society.
ISSUE 4 - "TRANS" . This special issue of Viscose critically explores the numerous relationships between transness and fashion. The issue sets out to ask two ambivalent questions: what is a fashion theory of transness, and what might a trans theory of fashion be? Viscose 04 productively confronts fashion studies with trans aesthetics and trans studies, and attempts to excavate the largely invisible archives of trans history that form the underside of fashion itself. The issue features contributions by a global cast of trans and queer writers, artists, and creatives, responding to the porous notion of "trans cultural production" as a genre full of potentiality. The issue features a wealth of archival and contemporary moments of trans fashion production spanning 50 years. The cover celebrates histories of independent queer publishing, and doubles as a detachable poster.
ISSUE 3 – “ASIAS” . This special third issue, co-edited with London-based writer and director Cheuk NG, and designed by Shanghai-based echocatcher, sets out to deconstruct the notion of “Asias” through fashion. With an emphasis on the term’s plural possibilities, the issue seeks out stories deep within fashion’s global supply chain, and reflects on the porous communities of fashion producers and consumers around the world that may self-identify as “Asian.”
Focusing on the regions bordering the South China Sea, with contributors from over 10 countries as well as their global diasporas, the issue contests the idea of Asia as a singular idea, image, and even place, instead engendering an array of “Asias” that are employed symbolically, economically, socially, and politically across fashion’s frenzied systems.
Viscose 3 is produced with a determined and self-conscious pluralism, offering no one direction but rather accounting for the breadth of ingenious responses to ever-fickle questions such as origin, community, ownership, symbolism, appropriation, and diaspora, and the treacherous yet thrilling ways these overlap in and as style.
ISSUE 2 – “CLOTHES” . Featuring Nina Beier, Anna-Sophie Berger, Paige K. Bradley, Laura Brown, Pia Camil, Dal Chodha, Victoria Colmegna, Exatitudes (Ari Versluis & Ellie Uyttenbroek), Anna Franceschini, Laura Gardner, Rhonda Lieberman, Eric N. Mack, Kristian Vistrup Madsen, Christian Oldham, Kembra Pfahler, Carl Gustaf Von Platen, Mattia Ruffalo, Tenant of Culture, Torbjørn Rødland, Barbara Sanchez-Kane, Else Skålvoll Thorenfeldt, Jeppe Ugelvig, Femke de Vries, Issy Wood, Bruno Zhu.
ISSUE 1 – “STYLE” . Featuring Bakri Bakhit, Burke Batelle, Juan Corrales, Alex Escalupio, Giorgi G. Gagoshidze, Avena Gallagher, Laura Gardner, Tom Guinness, Tomasz Jędrowski, David Lieske, Matthew Linde, Shanzhai Lyric, Elise By Olsen, Ada O’Higgins, Seth Price, Jordan Richman, Taylore Scarabelli, Mahoro Seward, Akeem Smith, Hito Steyerl, Davide Stucchi, Miloš Trakilović, Jeppe Ugelvig, Bernadette […]