The Global ‘Wordrobe’. Ethnic Counter-Conquest in the Language of Fashion


  • Mariella Lorusso Università di Bologna



global fashion studies, language globalization, native fashion language, counter-colonization


The absence of spatial boundaries opens the language of fashion to extraterritoriality and multilingualism. This reflects a marked hybridization, typical of global fashion, which increasingly mixes styles and products and is less and less rooted in a local and identity perspective. Loanwords, toponyms and terms with ethnic connotation are just an example of a linguistic variety reaching out to immense distances. Fashion like language is a way of conveying culture and creativity. It lends itself to being widely investigated both on a linguistic and cultural level as in many cases of Native populations. In these cultures the language, or words of fashion, express themselves in artistic and craft productions, which are also the vehicle of the Native’s tradition and worldview.
The appropriation of, symbols, styles and terminology by the fashion industry is strictly connected to colonial practices still active to date, and have become part of a globalized heritage.
The aim of this contribution is to explore the linguistic influence of English on the lexicon of global fashion and to show language globalization in a positive light, as a breakthrough, both open and inclusive at the same time. Some words belonging to the Native populations of America will be analyzed as part of a globalized heritage of native fashion language, and as a sign of ‘counter-conquest’ or ‘counter-colonization’.


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How to Cite

Lorusso, M. (2019). The Global ‘Wordrobe’. Ethnic Counter-Conquest in the Language of Fashion. ZoneModa Journal, 9(2), 89–102.