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Making Italian AmericaConsumer Culture and the Production of Ethnic Identities$
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Simone Cinotto

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823256235

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823256235.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use.date: 29 July 2021

The Double Life of the Italian Suit

The Double Life of the Italian Suit

Italian Americans and the “Made in Italy” Label

(p.195) 11 The Double Life of the Italian Suit
Making Italian America

Courtney Ritter

Fordham University Press

Since the 1980s, the arrival of new appealing, high-scale “made in Italy” goods and images, which are expressions of a globally popular “Italian Way of Life,” have complicated Italian American “identity shopping.” The chapter focuses on the fortunes of Italian men’s fashion in the U.S. market, by connecting the production side, based in Third Italy (the industrial districts made of networks of small firms and workshops in northern and central Italy), and the consumer side—notably, the embodiment of a reconfigured Italian American identity into designer men’s suits. The flexible and instable Italian identities produced through the influence of the 1980s and 1990s “Made in Italy” label has made Italian Americans a rife location for exploring role of class, ethnicity and consumption in contemporary culture—notions which have become all the more electrified in the current economic climate of recession and crisis of consumerism.

Keywords:   transnationalism, masculinity, fashion, clothes, Italian American, fashion industry, ethnicity, consumption, consumer culture, Third Italy, industrial districts, fashion theory, lifestyle, taste, Mafia (representations)

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