Catwalking the Nation: Challenges and Possibilities in the Case of the Danish Fashion Industry


  • Marie Riegels Melchior Department of Ethnology, University of Copenhagen, and Research Fellow at Designmuseum Danmark



Fashion, design, nationalism, cosmopolitanism, Denmark


This article discusses the mobilization of the nation for fashion, based on how the relationship between fashion and nation unfolds in the case of fashion design practice and the fashion industry in Denmark. The otherwise globalized fashion industry is equally involved in what I term “catwalking the nation,” both as a way to construct a cosmopolitan nationalist discourse for the post-industrial nation and as a strategy for local fashion industries to promote collective identity in order to strengthen potential market share, which is the focus of this article. What may at first appear in the Danish case as an absurd and non-productive relationship is actually significant, I would argue, despite its complexity. It has the potential to stimulate critical fashion design practice and give fashion designers a voice, allowing them to take an active part in contemporary public debates on important issues such as nationalism and cosmopolitanism in the age of globalization.


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Theme: Fashion, Market and Materiality