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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These Mexican American women are on a YWCA outing in 1944. They’re posing in a mountain stream. I’m especially loving the individualist on the far left standing ankle deep in the stream, in trousers and a sweater.

But please note too that the woman in the makeshift two-piece bathing suit, second from the right (her bottoms are most likely shorts that she’s bunched up to reveal as much leg as possible), is ahead of her time. Dominant fashion histories credit French engineer Louis RĂ©ard with the invention of the bikini in 1946 and 19 year-old Parisian model Micheline Bernardini as the first to pose in a bikini - both events took place two years after this photo was taken.

Credit: Los Angeles Public Library

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