While doing research for a talk on the history and future of vanity, I found this incredible photograph by Max Yavno of “las pachucas” — Chicana zoot suiters, in pant suits! This archive already holds several photographs of women zoot suiters but they’re wearing skirt suits or just the pants and a top. This is such a detailed photo of the entire look of las pachucas from the hair to the shoes. Beautiful!
The photo is called “Two Women”. It was taken in Los Angeles, California in 1946.
This is a photograph of my grandmother, Manuela Lizarraga, taken in the market of Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico in the late 1950s. I think that she probably made this dress herself since she came from a humble family with several children. Her views on fashion are more about utility - even the dress she is wearing in the picture is about utility. However, my grandmother, to this day, loves to wear skirts and dresses and I have never seen her wearing pants. I love seeing this photograph of my Mama Nela (as all her grandchildren call her) because it reveals her strong and undeniably sassy character!
Submitted by Kareli Lizarraga (Philadelphia, PA)
This is a photo of my mother, Luz Celenia Perez-Velez in 1952. It was probably shot in a photo studio in the Bronx, New York. She was born in Utuado, Puerto Rico in 1936 so she would have been about 16 years old in this photo. My mother probably sent this photo to him in Korea while they were married and my father carried it around with him until he died in 2008.
I love this picture because her smile is brilliant and full of promise. What is amazing about this photograph is the transformation of a girl who was orphaned at age six and raised by an assortment of extended family, friends, and strangers, with very little education and in extreme poverty. She was the youngest of six kids, and once her brothers made their way to New York, they struggled to bring her there. While her trip was to New York was lonely and frightening, she was enormously grateful to them for bringing her to New York. Just two years after arriving, in her own words, she “blossomed”.
The dress probably came from a factory that her brother owned called Margie Designs. She learned English quickly, and until she died loved fashion. She had an eye for beautiful and classic designs, and looked beautiful each time she stepped outside into the world. She gave all of us our love of fashion, design, and clean lines. I miss her every day.
Submitted by Diana Velez (Brooklyn, NY)
WHY CREATE A TOTE BAG?
There are many reasons (both good and unavoidable) why OF ANOTHER FASHION is a digital archive. One of the best reasons it’s digital is because I wanted it to be accessible to as many people as possible, no matter their geographic location and limitations. But in my wildest thoughts about this project, I never imagined it would reach as many people in as many places as it does. Incredibly, OF ANOTHER FASHION now has over 104,000 followers! I’m overwhelmed and totally grateful to you for following, contributing, and sharing this archive. Please continue to do so!
For awhile now, I’ve wanted to find a way to materially connect audiences to the archive and to each other (including myself!) as well as to give this digital archive a material presence in the real world. This is difficult, as I’ve noted elsewhere, given the general curatorial and critical neglect of women of color’s histories and experiences with regard to fashion. This is one of the reasons why mounting a physical exhibition is extremely challenging.
Despite or rather because of these challenges, I wanted to mark this milestone of 104,000 followers by celebrating the online community that OF ANOTHER FASHION has brought together and which it continues to bring together. Your support underscores the significance of women of color’s fashion histories and practices. And your submissions evidence that style and beauty of another fashion deserves to be preserved, studied, and celebrated.
HOW TO BUY, AND HOW MUCH?
Tote bags (big and sturdy enough for books, groceries, and farmer’s market finds) are $10 each (plus $2 for shipping). You can buy them from my Etsy shop. Please note that I have a limited supply. (OF ANOTHER FASHION has also been featured on the ETSY blog!)
Proceeds will go towards redesigning this site so that it will be an even better online resource for the study of women of color’s fashion histories. Redesign plans include but aren’t limited to: bigger photos; a user-friendly searchable database by year, garment, race, theme, etc; and smart academic and popular essays that help to illuminate and expand the social, material, cultural, and political histories of the lives represented on this site.
WIN A TOTE!
Congratulations to Sharon K. of Brooklyn, NY for winning our Tote Bag Giveaway!
I previously dubbed Lucille Baldwin Brown the loveliest librarian ever. Vivian Gordon Harsh, the woman above, is proving that librarians are their own category of beautiful. Harsh was the first African American librarian to work at the Chicago Public Library. She began her career at the Chicago Public Library in 1924. She studied library science at Simmons College and the University of Chicago.
Credit: The Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature is housed at the Chicago Public Library Woodson Regional Branch
Submitted by Terah Edun
This is Mary F. Clifford, a student at Storer College in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia (1906). I think, although I’m not sure, that this is the daughter of J.R. Clifford, West Virginia’s first African American attorney, and original member of the Niagara Movement.
According to this source, Clifford’s daughter Mary delivered the credo at the Harper’s Ferry meeting of the Niagara Movement in 1906. The name and location are right, so it’s possible that the Mary Clifford in the photograph is Clifford’s daughter. Either way, her outfit is lovely.
Submitted by Molly Dolan, Digital Initiatives and Scholarly Communications Librarian at West Virginia University Libraries (Morgantown, West Virginia)
Maybe the most stylish librarian ever - check out that fascinator! Lucille Baldwin Brown was the first Black public county librarian in Tallahassee, Florida. This photograph is part of the collection at the State Library and Archives of Florida.
This amazing photograph is of USO performers for African American servicemen in World War II. The photograph was taken in Pensacola, Florida and is part of the State Library and Archives of Florida.