Creatures of Fashion

Animals, Global Markets, and the Transformation of Patagonia

By John Soluri

264 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 20 halftones, 2 maps, notes, index, 88,332 words

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-7572-5
    Published: April 2024
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-7571-8
    Published: April 2024
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-7573-2
    Published: March 2024

Flows, Migrations, and Exchanges

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Today, the mention of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego conjures images of idyllic landscapes untouched by globalization. Creatures of Fashion upends this, revealing how the exploitation of animals—terrestrial and marine, domesticated and wild, living and dead—was central to the region's transformation from Indigenous lands into the national territories of Argentina and Chile. Drawing on evidence from archives and digital repositories, John Soluri traces the circulation of furs and fibers to explore how the power of fashion stretched far beyond Europe’s houses of haute couture to entangle the fates of Indigenous hunters, migrant workers, and textile manufacturers with those of fur seals, guanacos, and sheep at the "end of the world."

From the nineteenth-century rise of commercial hunting to twentieth-century sheep ranching to contemporary conservation-based tourism, Soluri's narrative explains how struggles for control over the production of commodities and the reproduction of animals drove the social and environmental changes that tied Patagonia to global markets, empires, and wildlife conservation movements. By exposing seams in national territories and global markets knit together by force, this book provides perspectives and analyses vital for understanding contemporary conflicts over mass consumption, the conservation of biodiversity, and struggles for environmental justice in Patagonia and beyond.

About the Author

John Soluri is associate professor of history at Carnegie Mellon University.
For more information about John Soluri, visit the Author Page.


“Soluri’s unusual and interesting history of the region . . . is a lively and well informed contribution to a category of scholarship broadly referred to as Animal Studies, which positions these subjects in academic disciplines that extend well beyond departments of zoology—from environmental history to anthropology and geography—and in which Latin America is rapidly gaining prominence.”—Latin American Review of Books

"A history of animals and fashion that has it all—from seals to sheep and desire to power. This is a stunning read."—Bathsheba Demuth, Brown University

"Soluri expertly interweaves histories of Indigenous displacement, settler colonialism, global migration, and commodity production in this sober account; it is a stellar model of environmental history and animal studies."—Sharika Crawford, United States Naval Academy

"Creatures of Fashion is a subtle, lucid, and imaginative recasting of the environmental dynamics of global capitalist expansion with animals at its center."—Mark Healey, University of Connecticut