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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Grace Lee poses for a photo at the beach in Long Beach, California in 1932.

Credit: Los Angeles Public Library

I just posted some source information on this and other photos in the series on my other blog, Threadbared. While there are several reasons why these images are not exactly a perfect fit for the Of Another Fashion project (the women were/are not U.S. based and the representational history of the images operates within the logics of sartorial Orientalism), I’m including them here because such images - published in LIFE magazine in December 1951 - would have been a part of the national cultural imaginary about race and fashion in the U.S. In this way, these images (like some of the advertisements and editorials I’ve previously posted) reveal something about the complex assemblage of race, gender, fashion, and beauty that would have shaped the ways in which women of color in the U.S. were seen and saw themselves.

Reblogged from garconniere

3 years ago 99 notes

Tagged with:  #1950s

From an article in LIFE magazine (31 December 1951) called “Life Visits the Beach of Passionate Love.” Click here for source information.

3 years ago 29 notes

Tagged with:  #1950s

From an article in LIFE magazine (31 December 1951) called “Life Visits the Beach of Passionate Love.” Click here for more source information.

3 years ago 40 notes

Tagged with:  #1950s

Our maternal grandmother, Beryl Chambers (upper right, next to the bride, in a beautiful coral dress that she made), immigrated to New York in 1959 from St. Andrew’s, Jamaica. As a single mother of five, our grandmother made a living for her family as a seamstress in New York City. She sewed garments for President Nixon’s wife, Patricia Nixon, and Julie Newmar (the original Catwoman). Unfortunately, she lost her eyesight in the late 1980s and has not been able to sew since.

This photo was taken during our aunt Beverly’s wedding in October 1970 in New York City. My grandmother sewed all of these dresses including the bridesmaid dresses within five months of each other!

Although my grandmother lost her eyesight her design legacy lives on with us and our cousins. A handful of us work as fashion and jewelry designers and attribute much of our influence to our grandmother.

Submitted by Marissa Petersen-Coleman and Allyson Petersen (Chicago, IL).

Mary Martel is posing next to her car wearing the happiest polka dotted dress ever. The photo was taken in 1945 in Los Angeles, California.

Credit: Los Angeles Public Library

I love her smile! It’s unfortunate that there’s no identifying information but this is one seriously fashionable couple. The photograph was taken in 1925 and the couple is listed as Mexican American.

Credit: Los Angeles Public Library

Sisters Raquel Sanchez Negrete and her Carmen Sanchez, circa 1928, hanging out by their car.

Credit: Los Angeles Public Library

In the early 1940s, my grandmother Hattie Henderson Ricks worked in a factory in Wilson, North Carolina that manufactured tents for the war effort. Her first job was tying broken thread and respooling it on bobbins. Women, with their smaller hands, were preferred for this task, though it often resulted in lacerated fingers. This photo, in which she wears her work “uniform” of dungarees, plaid shirt, and oxfords, was taken during this period.

The donor, Lisa Y. Henderson (Atlanta, GA), interviewed her paternal grandmother in Philadelphia on March 11, 1998, while they were looking at a box of pictures. An excerpt of the interview follows below:

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This is a found photograph, purchased online as part of a lot. The donor estimates the photo was taken in the 1930s.

Submitted by Jude Bond (Burlington, VT).

This is my great grandmother, Ekaterina Kvasnikoff, taken in Skagway, Alaska in the 1920s. My grandmother said she was a good-natured, strong, outgoing person and a great storyteller. She was Aleut, born in Ninilchik, Alaska. For generations, she and her people were baptized into the Russian Orthodox faith, hence the Russian name. I think she’s wearing a Russian style hat that was popular at the time.

Submitted by R.T.B. (Western Washington State)

Mary Shon, at center, with friends from the YWCA sitting on a bench at Janss Steps on the UCLA campus in 1940. Royce Hall is partially visible in the background - as are iconic 1940s styles: saddle shoes, bobby socks, and hair rolls for days.

Credit: Los Angeles Public Library

Born in Philadelphia in 1897, Marian Anderson won first place and critical acclaim in a singing competition sponsored by the New York Philharmonic at Lewisohn Stadium in Harlem in 1925. After the Daughters of the American Revolution blocked her appearance at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., in 1939, she performed at the Lincoln Memorial for an Easter morning concert that drew 75,000 people. She’s seen here with Eleanor Roosevelt.

Credit: Photographs and Prints Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library.

The Japanese American fashion designer Sadohara (L) is seen here with two models at a fashion show in the Statler Hotel, Los Angeles, California (13 September 1956). The woman on the far right is the designer Riye Yoshizawa (see here and here) who helped open the Modern School of Fashion.

Photograph by Toyo Miyatake, from the Rafu Shimpo collection at the Japanese American National Museum.

Woman in uniform! This is Susan Ahn in Cedar Falls, Iowa during Navy training. She was the first Asian American in the United States Navy. The photo was taken in 1942.

Credit: Los Angeles Public Library