Chair of Fashion Theory
BSc (Hons) LSE MA (HUJI) PhD (Oxford)
Professor Efrat Tseëlon trained in social psychology and cultural analysis and is Chair of Fashion Theory at the School of Design, University of Leeds.
Since receiving her PhD from Oxford University on Communicating via Clothing which was a critique of method, Tseëlon has developed the perspective of Critical Fashion Studies: interrogating the products and practices of fashion as an ideological discourse.
1989 PhD in Social Psychology, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford.
1984 MA in Communication, Institute of Communication and Media, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
1979 BSc (Hons) in Social Psychology, London School of Economics, University of London.
Professor Efrat Tseëlon has pioneered new approaches to fashion research with emphasis on wearers instead of designers, and on ordinary clothes instead of designer fashion. This countered the trend that dominated fashion research in the 70s and 80s moving it from focus on ‘museum fashion’ to ‘everyday dressing’, and from ‘fashion’ to ‘clothing’. It reflected a shift of focus from artefact-based stereotype approach where the symbolic meanings of clothes were treated as fixed, to use-based wardrobe approach where meanings are treated as negotiated and changing.
Drawing on a rich industrial experience of market research and marketing consultancy, she introduced an innovative range of methods from marketing and qualitative research into research on fashion. These included focus groups, open-ended surveys, visual methods, as well as methods that combine the richness of qualitative input with the rigour of statistical analysis (such as Multi-Dimensional Scaling and Q methodology).
Tseëlon pioneered Intellect books Journal series of fashion studies, and is the editor in chief of Critical Studies in Fashion & Beauty. Her publications cover a diverse range of topics from the meaning of beauty as stigma, through the role of fairy tale characters in using appearance as a tool of gender construction, to the role of school uniforms in inculcating the ’hidden curriculum’.
In The masque of femininity (1995) and Masquerade & Identities (2001) she developed the theory of fashion as an ideology of gender construction, and of masquerade as a technology of identity critique. In Fashion Ethics (2013) she analysed the dynamics of the ethical turn in fashion as ideological discourse.
(2001) Masquerade and identities : essays on gender, sexuality and marginality. Routledge.
(2011) “A critique of the ethical fashion paradigm”, Critical Studies in Fashion & Beauty. 2: 03-68.
(2010) “Is identity a useful critical tool?”, Critical Studies in Fashion & Beauty. 1.2: 151-159.
(2010) “Outlining a fashion studies project”, Critical Studies in Fashion & Beauty. 1.1: 3-52.
(2008) “Making Sense scientific claims in advertising. A study of scientifically aware consumers”, PUBLIC UNDERST SCI. 17.2: 211-230.
(2001) “Fashion research and its discontents”, Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture. 5.4: 435-452.
(2001) “Revisiting the spectatorial gaze in film”, Studies in Symbolic Interaction. 24: 299-319.
(2012) “Fashion, Fantasy and Anxiety”, In: Gonzalez AM (eds.) The emotions and cultural analysis. Ashgate.
(2012) “How successful is communication via clothing? Thoughts and evidence for an unexamined paradigm.”, In: Gonzalez AM; Bovone L (eds.) Identities through fashion: a multidisciplinary approach. Oxford: Berg. 109-137
(2012) “Authenticity”, In: Geczy A; Karaminas V (eds.) Art and Fashion. Oxford: Berg. 111-121
(2010) “Jean Budrillard”, In: The Berg Companion to Fashion. 57-59
(2009) “Problem-based Learning: The perfect tool for a creative curriculum”, In: Parker L (eds.) Sustainable Fashion, a handbook of educators. Bristol: Labour Behind the Label.
(2006) “Not just a historical relic: contemporary debate on school uniform in Europe and the US”, In: Hackspiel-Mikosch E; Haas S (eds.) Civilian uniforms as symbolic communication. Franz Steiner Verlag. 227-241
(2004) “Baudrillard”, In: Steele V (eds.) The Encyclopedia of clothing and Fashion. NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons.
(2009) Toxic beauty & discourse of health. Cosmetic Cultures: beauty, globalisation, politics, practices
(2009) The fallacy of ethical fashion. Fashions: Business Practices in Historical Perspective
(2009) Is ethical fashion sustainable?. Moda Critica, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
(2004) A Body of Evidence: The Dead Body as a Guarantor of Truth. Proceedings: The Corpse in Contemporary Culture The Corpse in Contemporary Culture.
(2004) Deviant Identities? The Pathologisation of Visible Differences. Proceedings: Visability, Appearance and Embodiement Visability, Appearance and Embodiement.
(2003) Uniformity, Identity and Masquerade. Proceedings: The Beauty of Uniformity The Beauty of Uniformity.
(2002) The Politics of School Uniform. Proceedings: Presented at The Conference on Uniforms, Krefeld Textile Museum Presented at The Conference on Uniforms, Krefeld Textile Museum.
Reviews of books/exhibitions in refereed journals
Tseëlon, E. (2010). Charlotte Waite’s Fairy Project: Rethinking the fashion show Critical Studies in Fashion & Beauty, 1 (1), 136-143.
Tseëlon, E. (2013). Parcours St. Germain, Critical Studies in Fashion & Beauty, 4 (1&2), 183-196
Tseëlon, E. (2013). Models, the body of fashion & Stardust, Critical Studies in Fashion & Beauty, 4 (1&2), 196-206.
Tseëlon, E. (2014). Sofie Berzon MacKie, ‘The House’, Critical Studies in Fashion & Beauty, 5 (2), 337–351.
Tseëlon, E. & Guedes M. G. (2014). Why people buy fashion. In Solomon, M. R. (ed) Why we buy: Understanding consumer behaviour, The marketing & management collection, Henry Stuart Talks Ltd, London (online at http://hstalks.com/?=MM1643317)
Tseëlon, E. (2015). ‘Strikking’/‘Knitting History’, Critical Studies in Fashion & Beauty, 6 (1), 125-133.
Tseëlon, E. (2017). ‘Travel and fashion. Volez, Voguez, Voyagez – Louis Vuitton’, Critical Studies in Fashion & Beauty, 8 (2), 287-302.
Keynote & speaking invitations at international meetings
Tseëlon, E. (2010). Keynote speaker at ‘Fashion Addictions’ – the 11th International Conference of ModaCult – Center for the Study of Fashion and of Cultural Production of the Università Cattolica of Milan (Image addiction: Normalisation of pathology), Milan, May 5.
Tseëlon, E. (2010). Invited speaker at an international seminar ‘The role of emotions in cultural analysis’ at the Institute for Culture and Society (ICS), University of Navarra, Pamplona, November 29-30 (Fashion, fantasy & anxiety).
Tseëlon, E. (2010). Invited speaker at an international Conference ‘Fast Forward’ organised by Labour Behind the Label project Fashioning an Ethical Industry (The fallacy of ethical fashion: Discourse and practice), London, March 2.
Tseëlon, E. (2010). Invited discussant at the Social Trends Institute expert meeting ‘Construction of New Realities in Medicine’ at the IESE Business School, Barcelona, Spain, April 15-17.
Tseëlon, E. (2011). Invited speaker at the Social Trends Institute expert meeting ‘Being Human in a Consumer Society’ at the IESE Business School, Barcelona, Spain, March 31-April 2 (The Challenge of ethical fashion).
Tseëlon, E. (2011). Invited speaker at an international symposium ‘Fashion and Emotions’ at the Institute for Culture and Society (ICS), University of Navarra international seminar, Pamplona, Spain, May 19-20 (The myth of the rational consumer).
Tseëlon, E. (2011). Invited speaker at a panel discussion on Ethical fashion at the American University in Paris (AUP) September 22, 2011.
Tseëlon, E. (2012). Keynote speaker at an international conference ‘International Sustainable & Inclusive Design’, Guimarães, Portugal, November 10 (A critical analysis of ethical fashion).
Tseëlon, E. (2013). Keynote speaker at an international symposium ‘Fashion in a Cultural Key’ at the Institute for Culture and Society (ICS), University of Navarra international seminar, Pamplona, Spain, April 19-20 (Post Identity – call for new engagement).
Tseëlon, E. (2014). Keynote speaker at an international conference ‘Fashion in Fiction: Style Stories and Transglobal Narratives’, City University of Hong Kong June 12-14 (Revisiting the emperor’s new clothes).
Tseëlon, E. (2014). Keynote speaker at an international conference ‘Fashion: Model and Readers: On Iconic Representation in Culture’, University of Lodz and the Strzeminski Academy of Fine Arts. Lodz, Poland, October 22-24 (Models of transition: the changing cultural role of the fashion model).
Tseëlon, E. (2014). Keynote speaker at a symposium Stockholm Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International Program (IASPIS), Stockholm, Sweden, December 8 (Body texts and sub-texts).
Tseëlon, E. (2015). Keynote speaker at a symposium ‘Critiques of luxury’, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway, May 5 (Luxury fashion exposes the fiction of ethical fashion discourse).
Tseëlon, E. (2015). Invited speaker at an international conference ‘Fashion through History: Costumes Symbols Communication’, Sapienza Università di Roma, Rome, Italy, May 20-21 (New fashion world order: The iompact of globalisation on how we buy fashion).
Advisory roles (for commercial, educational, public sector bodies)
(2009) Expert reviewer for the British Council to review application of the London College of Fashion for ‘Inspire: Strategic Partnership Award’, December 5.
(2010) Reviewer of project proposal SSH10-039 ‘Performing Cultural Identity, in the context of Diversity-Identity’ Call 2010 within the funding program: ‘Social Sciences and Humanities in Vienna’ run by Vienna Science and Technology Fund (WWTF), July 12.
(2011) Served on the Advisory Board of the Master of Arts in Global Communications (including fashion), American University of Paris, from June 7.
(2012) External reviewer for a proposal for postdoctoral fellowship START programme, The Icelandic Research Fund 2012, on behalf of RANNIS, The Icelandic Centre for Research (www.rannis.is) Reykjavík, Iceland, October.
(2011-2014) Advisory Board for an ESRC 3 year funded project coordinated by department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield ‘If the Shoe Fits: Footwear, Identity and Transition’.
(2016) Review for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada of an Insight Grant
(2017) External reviewer for a proposal for the Danish charity Velux Foundation for the project entitled ‘Politics of Appearance? Redressing the Muslim Headscarf’ in Denmark, May.
Reviews regularly papers for journals. e.g. Cultural Sociology (2013) Ephemera (2015) Annals of Leisure Research (2015), SageOPEN (2015).
Reviews for publishers (e.g. Book proposal and manuscript reviews for Routledge: ‘Fashion Statements’ (reviewed 10/5/2009) ‘Fashion Ethics’ (reviewed 10/10/2011), Fashion Theory (reviewed 2014), Palgrave Macmillan: ‘The Visual Politics of Female Power Dressing in Contemporary Media’ and ‘Dressed for Love: gender, the reproductive body and the fashioning of care/self-care’ (reviewed 2017.
Review of promotion at Parsons School of Design (2009), the University of the Arts, London (2012).
Founder of the journal series of fashion of Intellect Books, and editor in chief of its flagship journal: Critical Studies in Fashion and Beauty; founding member and editorial board member of the journal Fashion Theory.
Selection of media contributions
April 20 2011 interviewed by Yorkshire Post on politicians’ misuse use of the sartorial code.
July 6, 2011, interviewed for the New Scientist on online retail.
August 23, 2011, interviewed for The Guardian on school uniform.
October 4, 2011, interviewed for the Belgian newspaper Le Vif on school uniform.
2015, interviewed for Fucsia: Revista Especializada en el Mundo de la Mujer, on cosmetic surgery ‘En Hollywood nadie quiere envejecer’ (In Hollywood no one wants to grow old)