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The fashion souvenirs collated here in this photo archive are all photographed alone, outside of their original context. Away from the body of their wearer they appear perhaps lifeless, without a soul, almost ghost-like. Yet physical objects,
in the very nature of their physicality, retain the tangibility of psychological experience. In this instance, the objects are souvenirs in the sense that they are representative of both actual and experienced places, yet at the same time, they are also indicators of aspirational and emotional connections.

Embodied within the objects themselves are a number of elements. As items of clothing or adornment they exist in a strange no-man's-land between practicality and frivolity, and between fashion and anti-fashion. Often purchased on the spur-of-the-moment, fashion souvenirs fulfil the idea of spontaneity, of living
in a particular moment. As the photograph itself captures a specific, never-to-be-repeated, moment in time, similarly the fashion souvenir retains the memory of
a location in the moment it was first experienced. Often incorporating very fixed and solid emblems of cultural or national identity, such as flags, animals, cartoons or colours, they project a permanence and a sense of anchoring in the maelstrom of society.

These objects were never intended to grace any catwalk, and yet they have
been adopted as fashionable and desirable accoutrements by a new generation. Globalisation was supposed to have eradicated the nuances of the local, the parochial and the particular. Here in the closing first decade of the 21st Century, however, this need to connect, or re-connect, with the local remains as important as ever. The search for genuine and authentic experiences is embodied by the fashion souvenir - an object that represents this connection to the local, yet cosmopolitan, world.

The actual genuineness of the fashion souvenir is open to speculation, as
many are often 'Made in China', rather than the locality to which they aspire
to pertain. Perhaps, however, this matters very little. What is more important
is their embodiment of the experiences of real life and the lived-through experience. While fashion souvenirs may be perceived as a fake construct, their very physicality embraces the notions of a certain type of memory, bound up
in the aspirations of worldliness and cosmopolitanism.

Text by Nathaniel Dafydd Beard 2009
Photography by Jasmine Falconer 2009