Hegemony of Visuality: Fashion and City Branding, the Case of Istanbul

Tuesday, 17 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Nese OZTIMUR, KEN Consultancy&Research, United Kingdom
In today's global capitalist world, city branding is one of the significant methods for the cities to appeal global interest and to claim global city identity. In this context, engaging with fashion turned into a kind of marketing and branding strategy for cities to attract global capital. Fashion is a vital sector for global capitalism. It persuades consumption by creating and imposing images of self representation, and also production relations in fashion sector are in accordance with global capitalism's dynamics.

Istanbul is one of the significant global city in where fashion sector expanded remarkably over the last decade in accordance with the integration of the city to global capitalist market. Istanbul branded as a fashion city with the appearing of different activities, organizations, publications. Branding of Istanbul as a fashion city has specific aspects that are in collaboration with both global and local dynamics.

This paper is going to analyze these conflictual and overlapping aspects by focusing on fashion sector’s relations with global capitalism. How does living in an urban space that is dominated by fashion activities, fashion selling malls, fashion tv programs, fashion related jobs affect dweller's everyday relationship with the urban space and their way of self-representation? How can the organization of the urban space as a fashion capital be debated by using "right to the city' arguments? David Harvey asserted by referring to Henri Lefebvre that “right to the city is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources, but it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city”. How does fashion city image affect dwellers' “right to the city” experiences? How does new identity of Istanbul, being a fashion capital, affect the answer of ‘what kind of city we want’? This paper is going to inquire this questions by focusing on Istanbul.