The majority of the world’s population is wearing just one textile – denim. Why? On the Material World blog, anthropologist Daniel Miller announced the Global Denim Project. This scheme, he writes, is designed to bring together an increasing number of projects on the topic of denim:
The Global Denim Project is an attempt to persuade as many academics as possible to consider studying denim over the next five years. Hopefully these will include historians, people concerned with the economics of the industry, and the cosmological significance it represents as a tension between global ubiquity and the personalisation of distressing.
Miller and Woodward have now begun an ethnography of denim wearing in three streets in North London. Other projects range from a study of denim, sexuality and the body in Italy, to a study of trashed denim shoddy and its uses in recycling (until recently a third of US dollar bills were denim shoddy). Other proposals include denim in China, Japan and Korea, a study of how blue jeans record the movements of the body in their wear, and a proposal to work on the pressures towards ethical trade in denim in Turkey and Brazil. Brief outlines may be found on the global denim site.
The point is that this is a global phenomenon and would be much better understood through collaboration between many projects.
(The picture is taken from the project website)