Sewing lives: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the global garment industry

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This paper takes Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and uses it as an extended metaphor to investigate the points of destructive alienation and disassociation within the globalised consumption of clothing. The promise of new clothing is a set of garments that function like Victor’s dream of creation; materials are stitched together to give objects that match our closest-held ideals. And yet, because of our quick Victor-Frankenstein-like alienation from these ‘fast fashion’ objects when they no longer please us, clothing becomes, like the monster, an abjected figure for waste and shame, moving around the globe destructively, created from the bodies of the poor and having lost the care of its creator or consumer. Solving the problem of sustainability in the fashion industry involves, this paper argues, taking account of that difficult relationship with the global monstrous, and of the unique ways in which clothes galvanise some of our deepest emotions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8
Number of pages13
JournalCLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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