Fashion in Bolivia’s cultural economy

Kate Maclean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


This article explores the development of Chola Paceña fashions in La Paz, Bolivia. It traces the social and political lineage of the distinctive pollera dress, and its role in traditions that continue to underpin Aymaran social networks and economies, while it is simultaneously becoming a symbol of their consumer power. Bolivian gross domestic product (GDP) has tripled since 2006, and this wealth has accumulated in the vast urban informal markets which are dominated by people of indigenous and mestizo descent. It is predictable that such a rise in consumption power should enable a burgeoning fashion industry. However, the femininities represented by the designs, the models and the designers place in sharp relief gendered and racialized constructions of value, and how the relationship between tradition, culture and economy has been configured in scholarly work on creative labour, which has been predominantly based on the experience of post-industrial cities in the global North.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-228
JournalInternational Journal of Cultural Studies
Issue number2
Early online date25 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


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