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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Here I am with my mom, Shukla Reyes, in homemade matching outfits (ca. 1978). She made so many matching outfits for us from patterns bought at Woolworth’s that I don’t remember how many we had. My mother was extremely fashionable - she had furs, leopard print coats, blazers - she was always dressed to perfection. As a young woman, she moved from India to London for beauty school where she was spotted by a director making a movie about the Bengali riots called A Private Enterprise (1974). She thought she might become an actress but that didn’t work out. Instead, she moved to California and married my dad.

Instead of buying me new clothes, she passed her clothes on to me. And that was embarrassing when all I wanted was a Guess denim skirt. I’ve inherited most of her clothes and her style. Because of my mother and her dressmaking skills and personal style, I thrift and avoid trends and labels except for designer shoes (which were my mom’s weakness too). I’ve adopted her carefree, thrifting attitude - I still sew things up to fit me.

Many thanks to Rani Neutill for sharing this sweet photo and story of her mom.

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