Clothing Matters: Asian-African Businessmen in European Suits, 1880-1980

in Comparative Sociology
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Abstract

Asian businessmen in East Africa supplied goods, services and capital to African, Arabic, Asian as well as European customers. Within this complex cultural environment, they had to choose what to wear on any given occasion. Expressing dignity, wealth, trust and reliability are key variables in making cross-cultural business contacts and when it comes to building an appropriate image. When they arrived in East Africa between 1880 and 1920, Hindus and Muslims alike wore their own traditional attire. When they left Africa - around 1970 - they wore a typical European business suit. European clothes are an indicator of their “progressive” ideas, but must also be seen as a critique of their own culture.

Clothing Matters: Asian-African Businessmen in European Suits, 1880-1980

in Comparative Sociology

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