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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It’s 1956 in San Francisco and this is my grandmother, Encar Villanueva. She’s standing next my grandfather’s cadillac. Today, my grandmother or lola (in Tagalog) lives in a nursing home in San Francisco in the late stages of Alzheimer’s. But when this photo was taken, her personality was very strong. Because she was the eldest of her sisters and a stay-at-home mother raising two boys, she definitely was the disciplinarian in the home. (My grandpa was often overseas working as a cook for the US Navy). ¬†Although Lola was opinionated and religious, she always knew how to have a good time and throw a great party. She often had her friends over for food, dancing, and praying the rosary - like any good Filipino Catholic.

Her style was always on-trend. In all her pictures with her girlfriends, church friends, relatives, grandma Encar always stood out. She was never scared of wearing bright colors and accessorizing her outfits with jewelry, bright purses or shoes. As a child I remember going through closets (seven closets to be exact) of her clothes, jewelry, shoes, coats and purses. I still have a number of things of hers to this day. She had impeccable style.

In 2011, I wrote a play about my grandmother and have performed it several times as a one woman show called Forgetting the Details.

Submitted by Nicole Maxali (San Francisco, CA)


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