This chapter argues that fashion and beauty are a crucial set of narratives and practices that map forms of Asian modernity. This introduction lays out the three analytics through which we understand this phenomenon: time, creativity, and labor. “Time of Asia” suggests that fashion and beauty are the quotidian markers influenced by, experienced through, and produced in the temporalities induced by Asia’s recent history. In contrast to the “Johnny-come-lately” stories told about Asia, this introduction foregrounds the new alliances, affiliation, desires, and demands forged within East and Southeast Asia. Moreover, fashion and beauty products that have emerged out of Asia within the last two decades are the result of large ecologies of shared resources and knowledge, interconnected across the region. As such, this introduction argues that creativity in fashion and beauty is not the product of an individual genius but is understood as a collective affair. Finally, this introduction attends to fashion and beauty in its innumerable material and immaterial forms, beyond characterizations of Asians and Asian diasporic subjects as simply laborers or consumers.
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