Fashion Souvenirs began life as a short exploratory article. The content of this work explored in text and images the under-represented concept of the Fashion Souvenir and its role in contemporary society.

In defining the 'Fashion Souvenir' it may be described as clothing, jewellery, accessories and even cosmetics and perfume, purchased while travelling or on holiday. The reasons for purchasing these items are myriad, and may include gifts for friends or family, as a last minute solution to replace items you forgot to pack in your suitcase or as a memento of a happy time or place you visited. The opportunities to purchase fashion souvenirs are equally diverse, encompassing not only boutiques and shops in hotels and holiday resorts, but also airports and cruise ships, markets and souks, street vendors or beach-hawkers, art galleries and museums. If you forgot to bring something back, you can even search the Internet for online souvenir shops.

In our search for these items, as souvenirs of our experiences of distant locations and communities, we remain intent on seeking out the 'authentic' or 'genuine' article. Yet in many of the average holiday resorts, even those claiming to remain 'untouched' or 'undiscovered', we often come away disappointed. Even the most remote place is now engaged with the dilemmas globalisation has brought. It seems as if nearly every T-shirt or pair of shoes we buy has the legend 'Made in China' emblazoned upon it. This brings about the question; does the fashion souvenir really need to be genuine? Or is it more important that it only represents our ideals of local yet cosmopolitan experiences?

Today's society is perhaps better connected in terms of communications, and its knowledge of the far-flung corners of the world is as extensive as it has ever been. Yet it is curious to note that today's generation of teens and twenties retain the desire to be connected to the world in closest proximity to them. Social networking sites like Bebo and Facebook are evidence of this. At the same time their desire to be seen as knowledgeable, in a worldly and cosmopolitan sense, is equally compelling. London's streets, for example, throng with students on field trips, decked out in T-shirts or hooded tops emblazoned with Union Jacks, or the legend 'I love London', playing on Milton Glaser's original 'I love NY'. Old emblems of colonial arrogance, it appears, are re-appropriated as signifiers of explorative freedom and discovery. Although seemingly tacky or cheap, these garments are signifiers of fashionable chic and independence. Identification with specific locales, identities and patriotism remains as pertinent as ever.

Fashion Souvenirs seeks to address issues of identity, ethics, cosmopolitanism and globalisation. Through the medium of the objects themselves, the Fashion Souvenirs are taken out of their original context and exhibited and examined as emblems of both the badge of worldliness and also as fashion items in their own right. Existing as they do between fashion and anti-fashion, the Fashion Souvenirs project seeks to explore the role these objects have in contemporary society and, in turn, how that society reacts to them. Part archive, part exhibition space, through the medium of the online world, in the form of this website, Fashion Souvenirs acts as a focus for a dialogue and commentary on the world
we live in today.

Download the original article Fashion Souvenirs by Nathaniel Dafydd Beard
Fashion Souvenirs 2009 NDB


Nathaniel Dafydd Beard curator
Working as a writer, curator and conceptualist, Nathaniel's practice is located in the zeitgeist of contemporary fashion culture. He is a graduate of both the London College of Fashion in the UK and ArtEZ Hogeschool voor beeldende kunsten Arnhem, in the Netherlands. A former research assistant on the 2nd Fashion in Film Festival: If Looks Could Kill, his articles have appeared in a diverse range of publications including Fashion Theory: Journal of Dress, Body and Culture and Sexymachinery. He has recently lectured on fashion, ethics and culture in both the UK and Italy. Currently he is affiliated to the Royal College of Art in London as an MPhil/PhD candidate in the School of Fashion and Textiles. www.nadabea.com

Jasmine Falconer photographer
Jasmine is a graduate of the University of Brighton's Editorial Photography course. Since completing an internship with the prestigious P.S.1 Contemporary Arts Centre in New York, Jasmine has continually worked as a photographer, being based in London since 2004. Her current personal work entitled So what are your thoughts? looks at how thought, feeling and memory are manifested
in our physicality. Recently she has exhibited her work in collaboration with Collective [space], an international group of photographers. Actively involved with the benefits of photography as a platform for social and creative engagement Jasmine has developed and taught photographic workshops for Mind,
amongst others. www.jasminefalconer.com

Research Assistants
Sagra Redondo Garcia Madrid, Spain
Nicole Vinokur Cape Town & Johannesburg, South Africa
Orlinda Young New York, USA

With grateful thanks to all the shopkeepers and tourists we have approached during the continuing field-research for this project, both in the UK and around the world, many of whom wished to remain anonymous.