© 2018

Fashion, Dress and Identity in South Asian Diaspora Narratives

From the Eighteenth Century to Monica Ali

  • Represents the first study of dress in British South Asian diasporic narratives

  • Takes a multidisciplinary approach, covering literature, cultural studies and fashion theory

  • Examines a range of literature, from the eighteenth century to the present

Palgrave Macmillan

About this book


This book is the first book-length study to explore the sartorial politics of identity in the literature of the South Asian diaspora in Britain. Using fashion and dress as the main focus of analysis, and linking them with a myriad of identity concerns, the book takes the reader on a journey from the eighteenth century to the new millennium, from early travel account by South Asian writers to contemporary British-Asian fictions. Besides sartorial readings of other key authors and texts, the book provides an in-depth exploration of Kamala Markandaya’s The Nowhere Man (1972), Hanif Kureishi’s The Buddha of Suburbia (1990), Meera Syal’s Life Isn’t All Ha Ha Hee Hee (1999) and Monica Ali’s Brick Lane (2003).This work examines what an analysis of dress contributes to the interpretation of the featured texts, their contexts and identity politics, but it also considers what literature has added to past and present discussions on the South Asian dressed body in Britain. Endowed with an interdisciplinary emphasis, the book is of interest to students and academics in a variety of fields, including literary criticism, socio-cultural studies and fashion theory. 


Cultural Studies Clothing Fashion Burka Colonial Muslim Monica Ali South Asian Diaspora British and Irish Literature

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of Santiago de CompostelaSantiagoSpain

About the authors

Noemí Pereira-Ares is a Research Fellow in the Department of English and German Studies at the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Her research interests include South Asian diaspora literature, migrant literature(s) in English, postcolonial, diaspora and transcultural studies, fashion theory and the sociological study of dress in literature. 

Bibliographic information


“Fashion, Dress and Identity … convincingly illustrates how dress, body and self are inextricably linked, more so in the context of contact zones … . This book is certainly of interest for specialists in diaspora studies but it is also a most convincing example of the urgent need to study the importance and functions of dress in literature. It can undoubtedly fulfil the expectations of scholars working on the literary representation of the South Asian diaspora … .” (Margarita Estévez-Saá, International Journal of Fashion Studies, Vol. 5 (02), 2018)