Of Another Fashion

An alternative archive of the not-quite-hidden but too often ignored fashion histories of U.S. women of color

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Recent U.S. fashion exhibitions such as “Night and Day”; “Fashion and Politics”; “American Woman, Fashioning a National Identity”; and “American High Style: Fashioning a National Collection” have established well the interconnections of fashion, nation, and collective memory. Yet their emphases on formal politics, designer fashion, and evening wear implicitly articulate the sign of American fashion almost exclusively in terms of the experiences, histories, and bodies of bourgeois white women.

To expand this narrow view of American fashion, in June 2010 I began collecting home and professional photographs, magazine articles and advertisements, retail packaging, and garments and accessories of, by, and about women of color from various archives, rare and out-of-print books and magazines, and - most importantly - from the public for an exhibition called “Of Another Fashion”. While I continue to seek out more sartorial ephemera as well as funding for this exhibition, this site serves to digitally archive related textual and visual materials. Further because many of these items cannot be physically displayed due to their fragile condition and quality, this digital archive is a conservational space where they might be viewed and studied.

In providing a glimpse of women of color’s material cultural histories - a glimpse that no doubt only begins to redress the curatorial and critical absence of minoritized fashion histories - this archive and the forthcoming exhibition commemorates lives and experiences too often considered not important enough to save or to study. In this way, Of Another Fashion strives to be, in the words of Verne Harris, a site of “oppositional memory … against systematic forgetting.”

Have a question/comment? Tweet (@AnotherFashion) or email me at the parent website at threadbared.75@gmail.com (subject: “Of Another Fashion”). 

Addendum: As of September 2011, Of Another Fashion is catalogued on WorldCat.org, the world’s largest library database!