The latest fashionable export from Denmark, following on from interior design and high-quality television drama, hygge is the Scandinavian country’s latest gift to the world. But this particular export is a concept. Roughly described as a feeling of cosy contentment, tips on how to achieve a sense of hygge fill lifestyle and fashion magazines. As is often the case with lifestyle concepts, an older cultural practice has been commodified. 

This week Harlem will be infused with Cuban culture in the form of concerts, Cuban food tastings and fashion shows. The inaugural Harlem/Havana Cultural Exchange kicked off Sunday with a two-hour performance at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, but the exchange will hit up various neighborhood institutions throughout the next week.

The annual J-Pop Summit, hosted by Superfrog Project, will be held from July 22 to 24. This Japanese cultural festival has been held in San Francisco every summer since 2009. By introducing the latest in Japanese music, fashion, film, art, games, tech-innovations, anime, and food, as well as niche subcultures, the festival has become a landing platform for new trends from Japan. 

In 2014, France’s ban on the burqa and niqab — versions of the veil worn by many Muslim women to cover their heads and their bodies —  ignited a firestorm of criticism of how lawmakers continue to censor women’s bodies and how that very censorship simultaneously reflects and fuels increased fear in Europe.

The 21st century has redefined power dressing for western women on the world stage, reflecting a seismic shift in our society. Ironically, the culture of “dressing down” has infiltrated the corridors of power in Europe and the US, making the elite more accessible and “of the people”.

I first realized the extent to which the word “kawaii” had spread across the world untranslated and come to be regarded as a verbal symbol of Japan when I served as a producer for the Kawaii Ambassadors (Cute ambassadors) program in fiscal 2009. Wherever we went, Kawaii Ambassadors were fervently welcomed. In Recife, Brazil, about 20,000 people turned out at an open-air venue to see them.

History will be quick to remind us that China, India, and the Middle East had rich and refined cultures while Europeans were still struggling through the material and intellectual poverty of the Dark Ages and before the existence of the Americas was even known to them.

The selection of a gown for a state dinner is always a matter of sartorial politics, cultural exchange and U.S. Chamber of Commerce-style marketing... It was also a beautiful example of fashion diplomacy.