The study of the textile industry has always been central in economic history, from reconstructions of dynamic growth in the medieval wool industry, to the success of silk processing and light and mixed draperies in the early modern period, and the role of cotton as a driving force in the process of industrialization. Although the dynamics which characterize the manufacture of textiles are closely connected with transformations in fashion, economic history has long neglected the role played by fashion as a factor in economic change, treating fashion primarily as a sort of exogenous catalytic element. To examine these and other issues is the purpose of the 52nd Datini Study Week, which invites scholars to analyze the economic and commercial aspects of fashion in the pre-modern period (13th through 18th centuries) by considering the following questions. To what extent were innovations in products, technology, and marketing strategies for textiles and clothing during the pre-modern period responding to the social emulation and rapid pace of change characteristic of fashion? How did different types of consumers and behaviours stimulate the manufacture and trade in textiles, clothing, and dress accessories? Did particular price points or changing distributions of income allow consumers to make more choices about dress that supported individual aspirations? What role did cross-cultural contact play in the intensification of fashion in terms of the range of products available, new processes, and marketing strategies? How can economic historians draw on new methodologies and different types of sources for understanding the relationship between fashion and the economy?
Depending on the Institute’s financial resources, at least 25 scholars will be provided with travel subsidies and hospitality at Prato for the Study Week. The paper should represent an original contribution and either generally comparative or a specific case-study that speaks to the larger questions set out here. Papers proposed by projects or collaborative groups that link scholars from different countries and institutions will be assessed with particular interest if they offer a comparative analysis in geographical or diachronic terms across two or more related research themes. We will also consider innovative session formats for these types of proposals. Papers undergo a peer review process before being accepted for publication. All submitted contributions must be original and not previously published or translated from previous publications.
The provisional texts of the selected contributions or at least a synthesis must reach the Datini Foundation by 30 April 2020. They will be put online (with protected access reserved for the participants of the project and members of the Scientific Committee) in the Institute’s webpages before the Week of Studies in order to allow a deeper discussion of their contents. Authors and titles of provisional texts that have not reached the Fondazione that day can not be included in the final programme. At the Settimana participants will offer a summary presentation of their contribution lasting 20 minutes.