Publishing in summer 2010 in print and online, the ten volume Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion
is the first comprehensive reference work to explore all aspects of dress and fashion globally - from pre-history to the present day. Arranged geographically and written by an international team of experts, the Encyclopedia will serve as the go-to source for all issues relating the art and anthropology of costume, dress, and fashion the world over for students, scholars, members of the design and fashion industries, and fashion aficionados for years to come. The Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion
brings together for the first time the work of over 600 renowned scholars from every part of the globe. All articles have been specially commissioned and particular effort has been made to commission articles by indigenous scholars with in-depth local knowledge.
A Look Inside The Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion (Click to Enlarge)
*Starred Review* Oxford University Press has completed a huge project with this 10-volume encyclopedia and an online counterpart, Berg Fashion Library, created in collaboration with Berg Publishers. The print resource has more than 760 articles, written by 721 scholars from all over the world, and 2,000 black-and-white illustrations, making it the largest reference source on dress and fashion. Editor Eicher, professor emeritus, University of Minnesota, is a specialist in the anthropology of dress and is considered an expert on African textiles. She is the editor for the titles in Berg’s Dress, Body, Culture series, many of which are part of the e-book collection included in the online version. The first 9 volumes of the encyclopedia cover areas of the world—Africa, Caribbean and South America, U.S. and Canada, South Asia and Southeast Asia, Central and Southwest Asia, East Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Western Europe, and Eastern Europe. The tenth, Global Perspectives, might have been the first volume since it sets the stage for the regional volumes with chapters on worldwide dress, arts, fashion, and dress and fashion resources. This volume also includes a time line and a cumulative index, while each of the other volumes has its own index. The preface to the entire set is repeated in each volume, and each also has an individual preface (as well as a volume editor). The contributors and their affiliation are listed in volume 10 but also in the volumes where their writings are located. Each of the geographic volumes has an overview of the dress and fashion of the area accompanied by a map of the region. Depending on the area, there are introductory articles on the history of the region and the variety of textiles. Most of the volumes have articles of varying length on all the countries in the particular geographic region. As an example, the Africa volume covers all regions from north, south, east, and west—Algeria, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Egypt, South Africa, Zambia, and more. The writing is readable for the layperson as well as the student or scholar. Articles range in length from a page or two to more than 10. The longer articles are often divided into sections. The inclusion of peripheral subjects illustrates that there are many aspects of fashion and dress, and fashion and dress play a role in many aspects of human life. “Garment Manufacture and Retailing in Korea,” “Tahitian Tattoos,” and “Embroidery in East Europe, Russia, and the Caucasus” are some examples. Other articles deal with nudity, secondhand clothing, intelligent textiles, the Uniform Dress Law of Iran, and fashion in virtual worlds. To discuss or enlarge upon the articles, there are “Snapshots” that range from 1 to 5 pages. Examples include “Foot Binding,” “Fashion Events in Portugal,” “Norwegian Folk Dress in the United States,” and “Sworn Virgins” (in Albania). These snapshots as well as all the articles are signed and have references and further readings that include books, articles, and websites. Many of the articles provide see also suggestions. The illustrations and photographs are numerous, but the lack of color in the print edition is a definite drawback. A minor criticism is that volume numbers are not printed on the spine, which hampers ease of use of the set. This is a valuable resource for anyone interested in fashion and dress but particularly useful for students in anthropology, art history, cultural studies, museum studies, and, of course, fashion and textiles. It is recommended for undergraduate and graduate institutions with majors in these areas plus large public libraries. The additional resources of the Berg Fashion Library, including color illustrations, the ease of use, and the popularity of online sources, may be the deciding factors between print and online. --Christine Bulson