Schedule – expansive

September 22, 2020 – TUESDAY 2:00 PM
Special Preview: Trans-Atlantic Streetwear

Obsession, Style + Place
Community ID: Fashion’s Pimp Up Posse
Sub-cultures + Under-representation


American Streetwear/Museum of Streetwear


  • Obsession, Style + Place/ Community ID: Fashion’s Pimp Up Posse/ Sub-cultures + Under-representation
    Sneakers, trainers, kicks, webs, strides, soles, creps, beaters, trabs or trainees, whatever you call your footwear, there is a particular tribe who are obsessive about their footwear…
    Sneaker enthusiasts are attached to their possessions unlike any other sub-culture. Obsession, Style and Place is an ongoing project intended to highlight specific sub-groups who live significantly for sneakers. From the birth of the Terrace Casual, the unique seekers and the under-represented sectors born out of this culture. Emphasising this much-loved fashion area gives rise to the tribes and cohesive socio-groups who define and are defined by values and tensions around status, belonging and the need for individuality.
    This research offers new insight from stories from the terraces, provides opportunity to view rare, original and vintage sneakers that informed the birth of the Casuals in Liverpool, UK. To those who subscribe to the pimping up of their sneakers and those not yet heavily featured. Early and emerging research regarding the under-representation of ‘Restorers, Convertors and Customisers’ within the Sneakerhead community. Including the shortage of stories being told in terms of Menswear, it’s past, present and future status contextualises and places the subject within arenas for larger debate, thus raising awareness, and bridging gaps within the field.

  • Museum of Streetwear
    This lecture will focus on Streetwear culture in America. The concept of streetwear is universal and allows people of multiple socioeconomic backgrounds to create trends that influence the direction of the fashion industry. Referencing my 2019 exhibition Museum of Streetwear (The Grind: Skate Culture, Powerlines: Sneaker Culture, Dynasty: Chicago Bulls Influence, Her World: Women in Streetwear) we’ll discuss the experience behind the creation of the exhibit, the impact of sports on fashion, women’s role in this subculture, and Chicago’s influence on Streetwear.

(listen to a discussion about this event on the podcast Bande à part)

OCTOBER 4, 2020 – SUNDAY 2:00 PM
midday conversation: CHICAGO COLLECTIONS

Field Museum
Chicago History Museum
Art Institute of Chicago

DJ: JESSE DE LA PENA / FB: jessedelapena

this music segment sponsored by The Fashion Map

  • Field Museum
    The Field Museum collection began with items displayed at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and has since grown to nearly 40 million artifacts and specimens. Its Anthropological holdings include clothing and adornment from cultures around the globe. Alaka Wali, the museum’s Curator of North American Anthropology, and Susan Neill, Exhibitions Planning Director, will show how collections can inform our understanding of trends, design evolution, and material and technological innovations in local dress traditions. They will also discuss the museum’s previous and current co-curated exhibitions with fashion designers and indigenous artists.

  • Chicago History Museum
    As collection managers working with large fashion collections, our jobs are to provide access and opportunities for learning and discovery for students, scholars, and curators. Learn how the Chicago History Museum has provided this service in the past, and how it hopes to evolve and change going forward.

  • Art Institute of Chicago
    Fabricating Fashion: a case study of curatorial and conservation collaboration
    The Art Institute of Chicago does not have a history of collecting fashion from the western hemisphere, nonetheless we do have a number of garments from the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as an excellent collection of textiles specifically for fashion.  In this presentation, conservator Isaac Facio and curator Melinda Watt will discuss two new acquisitions, a French day dress and Spencer jacket from ca. 1800, and their preparation for the exhibition Fabricating Fashion: Textiles for Dress, 1700-1825. The exhibition, which was originally scheduled to open in March of this year, has been delayed by COVID, but will open in 2022.


October 6, 2020 – tuesday 7:00 pm
Evening dialogue: objects & things

Un/Masking the Face in Fashion
“Saying Yes to the Dress”: Moving Wedding Attire from the Critical Periphery
Gentlemen Prefer Robes

  • Un/Masking the Face in Fashion
    As a category of fashion, masks have been worn in both secular and ritual circumstances across time and cultures. At the heart of masking is the concealment or obscuring of identity. Masks enable the wearer to occupy and enact alternative identities, perform without fear of reprisal and maintain anonymity. They are therefore useful tools to analyze human behavior. Yet while the mask is a pervasive feature within fashion and popular culture, it has, until recently, been largely unrecognised as an influence in fashioning identity today. This paper will analyse the fashion mask, tracing its earliest uses in the sixteenth century through to its presence in contemporary fashion collections where its symbolic potential is embraced. A focus on specific examples will offer insight into fashion designers who have employed the mask as an instrument of fantasy and empowerment. Masking as seen in contexts such as in club culture and Mardi Gras will be evaluated to demonstrate how these grass roots activities have been adopted not only by fashion designers, but by popular culture icons such as Björk, Kanye West, and Lady Gaga within large-scale, mainstream performances. I conclude that the prevalence of the fashion mask is driven by contemporary shifts in identity politics, mirroring the motives of its earliest uses in fashion history.

  • Saying Yes to the Dress: Moving Wedding Attire from the Critical Periphery
    This paper reflects on a class of garment that has been rendered peripheral in fashion studies: wedding attire. First, I reflect on the reasons for the backgrounding of wedding dress, suggesting that the dearth of scholarly attention to this category of clothing reveals critical ambivalence and discomfort with the popular cultural tropes of weddings and “wedding femininity.” I then offer an appraisal of what attention to wedding dress can offer to fashion studies, drawing out in particular its connections to transformation and arguing that dress scholars might usefully mobilize this emphasis on transformation as a more general critical tool. Finally, I offer some examples from my current research on digital feminist wedding culture, which point to the affective and worldmaking dimensions of wedding apparel for queer and feminist subjects. I argue that sustained engagement with wedding-related apparel might add significant texture to accounts of the affective dimensions of left politics today.

  • Gentlemen Prefer Robes
    This paper will analyze the role of men’s robe as garments that represent masculine identities from men of the 1700s to Hugh Hefner. At the periphery of fashion studies, men’s robes are objects used by European and American men to assert their identity as gentlemen. Through formal analysis and contextualized historical uses of robes in the portraits of Nicholas Boylston and Samuel Pepys, this inquiry will trace the identity of the upper class, cultured gentleman, through to its adoption and reinterpretation by Hugh Hefner.
    The orientalist, public-facing, and gender-queering realities of the robe are entangled with conventional understandings of robes as Western, private, and masculine garments. This research examines the motivations and implications of wearing robes and questions how its historical roots inform modern uses. I argue that robes exemplify liminality in themselves as objects and in the identities of their wearers. Orientalist associations of the robe fed beliefs that this is a garment worn by the most intelligent and forward thinking men. Donning one signifies not only the distinction of “gentleman,” but also separation from the East. The assumption of privacy engrained in robe-wearing suggests a sense of vulnerability— something decidedly absent from a traditional masculine identity. Wearing extravagant robes is a performance which intersects private life and public persona. Elements of femininity and extravagance are embedded in these robes, yet remain absent in much of the rest of a man’s wardrobe. Wherever they sit on a gendered scale, robes offer wearers an escape from the strict rules of everyday dress. From the banyans of the 17th and 18th Centuries to the iconic robes of Hugh Hefner, the freedom from mundanity and culturally prescribed dress has driven generations of men to express a gentlemanly identity through these garments. This paper presents a consideration of the implications robe-wearing exhibits as a performance of this identity.



The Avant-Garde Art of Fashion Therapy
Science Fashion: A Dialogue with Our Material and Nonmaterial Environments
(Ad)Dressing the History of the American Mental Hospital

  • The Avant-Garde Art of Fashion Therapy
    Fashion is often interpreted summarily as a radical artistic outlet and inventive method of clothing. This presentation takes up the challenge of redefining fashion by examining the interconnection of styling choices and emotional states. In describing the world of fashion, with anecdotal evidence from Nigeria, this discussion creates a connection between fashion therapy and the pioneering trend of sustainable fashion. In highlighting methods for socially and environmentally sustainable fashion, the psychology of fashion is underlined as a parallel alternative to medical therapy, in which fashion becomes an individually-tailored safe space for expressions and lasting coping mechanisms. This presentation, thus, promotes vibrant cultural and psychological awareness of fashion. In doing this, it establishes style as a critical therapeutic and emotional healing process that enables sustainability in fashion. The methods engaged in this work include personal observations, focus groups and survey methods. The presentation provides a 5-7 minute slide collated from gathered research, to reflect practical examples of fashion therapy. Ultimately, as an emerging fashion stylist in Nigeria, I hope to, through this work, encourage fashion professionals and vested individuals, to promote the creative and psychological continuity that fashion entails.

  • Science Fashion: A dialogue with our material and nonmaterial environments
    At the periphery of a wider conversation about FashionTech, in both digital/web-based and hardware/wearable based technologies is the integration of multi-disciplinary sciences into product concepts. Science Fashion is a realm that combines principles of design, specifically for the body, and incorporates one or several of many scientific disciplines including psychology, materials science, engineering, ergonomics, physiology, and biology. Unique and unprecedented applications of different fields of science are being integrated into products to address specific societal needs or as commentary on our current and speculative future state.
    In this paper, I look specifically at the interaction between the wearer and their environment using examples from the field I call Fashion Science. Citing examples from around the world, and with different motivations and intentions, these designs speak to a broader narrative reflecting global culture and how our feelings about the environments we live in (physical and psychological, private and public) impact the way we interact with the world. Fashion exists uniquely at this physical barrier between ourselves and these environments, and thus has become a medium for discussing and commenting on the dynamic.
    Fashion technology has become a blanket term for too much of the work being created today. By distinguishing this subset of Fashion Science, I hope to create a space for discussion and celebration of paradigm shifting ideas making their way into, and even driving, important cultural discourse.

  • (Ad)Dressing the History of the American Mental Hospital
    In this paper, I interrogate how institutions in the twentieth-century United States instilled “healthy” values into patients using clothing—a process in which intimate garments literally and figuratively pressured the body to conform to certain standards. Using milieu theory and advertisements for asylum clothing, I argue that the “moral” architecture of the asylum was recreated on the bodies of its patients to instill them with the “strength” and “resistance” required of the mentally healthy. Healthy relationships between self and others were modeled in relationships between self and objects, first among them clothes, inside the institution—this involved, namely, self-control of bodily exposure. J. C. Flügel and other clothing theorists also explicitly linked clothing with architecture. As such, values built into the architecture of institutions were recreated on the body. This process was also part of a movement of asylum control from external to internal, and from obvious to subtler, means; clothing from the institutional division of the Chicago-based company Karoll’s, for instance, was designed to “keep the wearer from becoming uneasily conscious of apparel.” These garments were explicitly gendered, and thus functioned as a means by which to inculcate gender norms as part of treatment. This paper argues that by looking at clothing of those relegated to mental institutions, purposely placed just outside of cities, one can learn more about the values of wider society—those of health, normality, and identity. It is also part of a broader project to expand the work of fashion studies into the history of medicine, where fashion is, like these patients, relegated to the periphery.


OCTOBER 8, 2020 – THURSDAY 7:00 PM

Dressing Sheba’s Daughters: A Deep History of South Arabian Fashion
From Shanzhai Chic to Gangnam Style: Seven Practices of Cultural-Economic Mediation in China and Korea
The Refashioning of Blaxploitation: Identity, Fashion, and Mainstream Commercialization

Sex Worker Style: What Does It Mean to be Dressed Like a Whore?

  • A Dress for the Daughters of Sheba? Advocating for Deep Histories and Collaborations on Past South Arabian Fashion and Textile Industries
    Traditional ancient South Arabian fashion and textiles remain vastly understudied and little explored. This presentation will provide the goals, reasons, and first results of an ongoing collaborative research initiative. The project aims to document and advocate for including a deep history of ancient to contemporary South Arabian fashion and textile histories into contemporary research educational curricula. Creating collaborative research opportunities and contemporary interest have an impact on the survival and future of Yemen’s rich traditions and young people’s careers. Based on our archaeological records, what was ‘fashion’ on the ancient roads of South Arabia and why? Why is it important to look at 19th and 20th century explorers visiting South Arabia, and to find alternative and more collaborative approaches to the study of woven materials from Yemen?

  • From shanzhai chic to Gangnam style: seven practices of cultural-economic mediation in China and Korea
    This paper examines the social construction of ‘fashionability’ – namely, what is ‘desirable’ and ‘fashionable’ – with reference to the concept ‘cultural mediators’ that foregrounds agency, negotiation and the contested practices of market actors in cultural production. It zeroes in on the cultural mediators’ attitudes and positions in the two markets by drawing on 25 in-depth interviews with industry veterans. It shows that the mediators in South Korea and China increasingly occupy hybrid occupational roles and social positions across industries and sectors yet achieve limited success in countering the status quo of Western fashion through mediation. The analysis contributes to the literature with a categorisation of seven mediation practices that shape the valuation of fashion products (i.e. ‘fashionability’) in two ways. Empirically, this categorisation illuminates how cultural mediators make reference habitually to the broader social and cultural contexts to co-construct cultural-aesthetic objects. Theoretically, it advances a cultural-economic approach to the understanding of cultural mediation and challenges the reductionist viewpoint of actor–network theory through the notion of a matrix of cultural-economic agency.

  • The Refashioning of Blaxploitation: Identity, Fashion, and Mainstream Commercialization

    Abstract: Historically, Blaxploitation films from the 1970s are characterized as visually flashy and stereotypically negative in characterizations of the Black experience. Coming out of the “Black is Beautiful” movement, however, Blaxploitation provided Black hipsters with an outlet to forge a unique visual fashion identity and exhibit Black pride in a Hollywood forum/setting. The popularity of Blaxploitation fashion expanded across hipster populations and informed mainstream fashion during its height. This paper explores the past semiotic sartorial representations of three Blaxploitation films, Shaft (1971), Superfly (1972), and Dolemite (1975) in comparison to their contemporary remakes Shaft (2019), Superly (2018), and Dolemite (2019) to investigate the persistent “fashionisms” and their relevance to the mainstream commercialization of the Black aesthetic.

  • Sex Worker Style: What Does It Mean to be Dressed Like a Whore?
    There is a fluid relationship between how sex workers are portrayed in fictional and journalistic media, and how they choose to portray themselves. The manner and meaning of their clothing is both reflected in and created by popular culture. Their dress has been used to cast women in particular as deserving of arrest and/or violence. Their style is used as proof that they do not merit access to “respectable” public spaces. Their garments may read differently on various bodies, particularly visibly marginalized ones.
    Imagery of sex workers both real and imagined influences fashion. Sex workers also often design their own garments and style their own outfits, and as participants in nightlife and streetlife where fashion trends develop, their direct influence has rarely been examined. Although the current trend of co-option of sex workers’ style and its reception in mainstream fashion shows a curiosity about sex workers, that interest may not be equivalent to acceptance
    This 20-minute presentation will provide insight into what sex workers wear and why. People in the adult entertainment industry choose garments for their advertising and work that reflect intersections of multiple desires: those of their patrons; those of legislators and the communities they ostensibly represent; and of the workers themselves. The influence of venue owners and operators on workers’ choices will be addressed as well. The research includes historical and archival sources, media coverage, interviews with sex workers, and insights from Jo’s personal experience as a sex professional, which spans 35 years and includes stripping, lingerie modeling, fetish modeling, professional domination, escorting, and burlesque.

    Note: for purposes of this presentation the term “sex worker” will be used as an umbrella covering many branches of the sex industry, including strippers, dominatrices, cam girls, escorts, and more.


October 9, 2020 – friday 10:00 am
morning Panel:
Looking Through Me – Fashion’s Invisible/Unseen

Decentering Queer Futures: Critical Fashion Practices in the Middle East
Messy Intersections: Gender, Race, and Age
Radical Visibility: A Queer and Disabled Dress Reform Movement Manifesto
Researching the (Infinifat) Ordinary: Examining the Possibilities and Limitations of Activism as Research Methodology

DJ: JAMIE HAYES / IG: @productionmode @partylineonvinyl

  • Decentering Queer Futures: Critical Fashion Practices in the Middle East
    This paper presents the initial findings of my new project on the contemporary queer creative economies in the Middle East, with a focus on fashion. In my research I explore the critical fashion practices of a network of young fashion designers and photographers based respectively in Israel-Palestine, Jordan, and Lebanon who have been responding to oppressive authoritarianism, human rights violations, homophobia, and unemployment in the region by developing queer creative collaborations across the borders. These creative professionals are part of a larger movement of artists in the Middle East who have been experimenting with creative strategies aimed at mobilizing feelings of transnational empathy and solidarity toward social change, vis-à-vis more traditional and radical modalities of ‘resistance art’. Through collaborative actions in fashion design, clothing manufacturing, zine production, and digital media, they ‘enfashion’ political subjectivities across geopolitical borders through their creative work: they employ fashion as a critical tool through which to politicize the act of wearing and, using Giorgio Agamben’s terminology, to mold ‘whatever singularities’ may be at odds with identitarian logics of dominance and separation. This paper contributes to ongoing scholarly work on feminist, anti-racist art practices of world-making under contested conditions as well as to current fashion studies scholarship on politicized sartorial practices. It ultimately seeks to address one main question: can fashion ‘queer’ borders and produce value by forging new forms of collectivity?

  • Messy intersections: gender, race, and age
    This presentation will describe a work in progress: my third, and probably last, book on gender and clothing, a generational autobiography titled Que Sera, Sera. In the beginning, this book was a different creature. It was going to be a history of the design and consumption of fashions for women over fifty, titled Age Appropriate. But the more I researched and thought, the less it made sense to write that book. In fact, the story that begged to be told is not exactly about clothes at all. Que Sera, Sera is about the experiences of one sliver of a generation of women as seen through the clothes they wore and the culture they both inhabited and helped produce. While scholars have studied dress through the lenses of gender, race, class, and at the intersections of those identity markers, their relationship to age has received little attention, and much of that compartmentalized. For example, there are some books about children’s clothing, slightly more on styles specific to adolescents, and very few about women over fifty. Most works on fashion implicitly focus on dress worn by women their twenties and thirties, without necessarily considering generational effects of socioeconomic and cultural factors. In its most extreme form, this results in that imaginary creature, the perpetually young “fashionable woman”.This book uses a longitudinal approach to cultural studies, considering the entire life span of a group of women born in the same year, as a means of transforming the way we think about gender, aging and race.
    Some readers may find the inclusion of race odd; why not just look at gender and age? Why complicate the task by considering race, as well? The answer is that I realized in the early stages of my research that the racial identities of white women were culturally defined and socially learned in ways that even I, as a white woman, did not fully understand. If the goal was to see see how whiteness is intertwined with gender across the life span, it made sense to begin with people who learned to call themselves white as well as female, rather than a more racially diverse sample.

  • Radical Visibility: A Queer and Disabled Dress Reform Movement Manifesto
    The clothing industry is a direct representation of who is valued in society – we see a planet destroying amount of clothes made for tall, skinny, white, cisgender, straight, ablebodied people, while most options for trans and disabled folx are medicalizing (bandage-like/ scrubs) and in drab invisibilizing colors.
    What if we were to resist society’s desire to render us invisible? What if we resist our needs being seen as special or extraneous. What if we collectively refuse to assimilate? We need something widely accessible so that anyone can participate. I suggest a politically forceful aesthetic style called “Radical Visibility”. Physical visibility is an important step towards political/social freedom and equality. When people who have been historically Disenfranchised and erased from society reclaim space and agency— they are radically visible!
    Feeling confident in one’s outward appearance can revolutionize one’s emotional and political reality, thus, Rebirth Garments and the Radical Visibility Zine works in tandem as a way to nurture a community of people who have often been excluded from mainstream fashion and provide a platform for people to confidently express pride in the intersections of their identities.
    Rebirth Garments challenges beauty standards that center cisgender, heterosexual, white, thin, able bodied/minded people, by using the ideology of Radical Visibility as a guide and centering queer and disabled people of all sizes, ethnicities and ages. Radical Visibility is an unapologetic refusal to assimilate, a claim to our bodies, and a celebratory insistence on highlighting the parts of us that society typically shuns. Rebirth Garments embodies Radical Visibility through the use of bright colors, patterns, and innovative designs that accentuate instead of hide our bodies.

  • Researching the (Infinifat) Ordinary: Examining the Possibilities and Limitations of Activism as Research Methodology
    This presentation will explore questions around how we research ordinary, everyday dressing and fashion practices, drawing particular attention to the everyday as a site for activist-oriented research. For embodied identities at the margins, the ordinary practice of dressing one’s body is an activity that is often fraught with political implications. My research looks at how those at the largest end of the fat spectrum (self-identified “infinifats”) experience the mainstream fashion industry and the ways in which they are “hacking” a system that largely ignores them, redirecting social currency and building towards an infinifat-inclusive fashion future. It also explores the infinifat relationship to fashion and dress through a social justice lens. The majority of research that has occurred at the intersection of Fat Studies and Fashion Studies has focused on the fashion and dressing experiences of women who fit the conventional definition of “plus-size.” Commercially available, mass-produced fashion options drop off dramatically for women larger than a US dress size 28 and become almost non-existent for those who are a size 32 or larger. By focusing on superfat people who exist beyond a size 32 I draw attention to the impact that the lack of access to fashion has on the establishment and performance of the superfat identity as well as the power dynamics at play in maintaining the superfat body as especially monstrous or Other.
    The act of “doing” research within this community posed many unique challenges. This paper will explore my unique methodological approach in which I merge Sophie Woodward’s (2007) approach of the “wardrobe interview” with aspects of photo elicitation interviewing to create a new remote photo-based wardrobe interview methodology that works to privilege the everyday. This method, in and of itself, can be considered an activist practice. My research design is intended to challenge the inherently unbalanced researcher/participant power dynamic and provide my participants with the tools they need to establish their own representational voice and present their own unique infinifat epistemologies. Set against the backdrop of my particular research project, this paper will encourage thought and discussion around fashion research as an activist practice.


OCTOBER 9, 2020 – FRIDAY 3:00 PM
afternoon PANEL:
CLOTHING change – fashion in revolution & protest

Rosalind Howard: Aesthetic Dress and the Future Countess of Carlisle
Proletariat Rejection of the Sartorial Prozodezhda; Conformity of the Workers Aesthetic Through Marxism
Dusting off the Dress-up Box: Why we need to take fancy dress costume seriously

DJ: FANITA BANANA / IG: @fanita_banana

  • Rosalind Howard: Aesthetic Dress and the Future Countess of Carlisle
    Rosalind Howard, the future 9th Countess of Carlisle, was pictured in the 1860s wearing an odd dress. Looking as if she walked out of a medieval book of hours, Howard emphasized her
    interest in artwork of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. As an aristocrat, Rosalind undermined the social expectations of her societal status. Rebelling against what Art Historian Barbara Welter named “the cult of true womanhood”, Rosalind dressed in solidarity with the helpmeets of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Art Historian Jan Marsh defines helpmeets as the women enabling the artistic lifestyle of Pre-Raphaelite painters. The style of Rosalind’s dress in a formerly undated photograph of George and Rosalind Howard does not conform to the styles of popular fashion appropriate for her social standing and future duties as Countess of Carlisle. Howard’s dress is one of the first photographed garments to embrace the dress reform followed by the artistic circles of the Pre-Raphaelites.
    To study Rosalind’s motivation behind her sartorial choices, the photograph of George and Rosalind Howard must be put into its contemporary context. In the picture of the Howards, the two are posed by an open window acting out a romantic moment between newlyweds. This idyllic intimacy makes the date of the photograph around 1864, near the beginning of their marriage. Rosalind’s radical politics and autocratic temperament did not foster a congenial partnership with George. This photograph is a contemporary of the series of Jane Morris taken by John Robert Parsons in 1865 and is one of the earliest visual records of Aesthetic dress. Rosalind’s agency, captured in the photograph of the Howards, foreshadows her adamant support of the wives and helpmeets of Pre-Raphaelite painters. Using her societal influence to champion the agency of women within the early Aesthetic movement Rosalind was known for her quick wit and authoritarian demeanor.

  • Proletariat Rejection of the Sartorial Prozodezhda; Conformity of the Workers Aesthetic Through Marxism
    Concluding the descent of the bourgeois Tsarist regime, through the swift Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the now visible proletariat population of Russia, elected to reject excess aesthetics within socialistic culture, stamped out of Marxism. The rise of the constructivism movement, which was fixated on future and utopian gestures of a new Russia, the model of garments, recognized as Prozodezhda, (which translates into Industrial Garment), was to be designed, manufactured and worn by men and women as a collective. It was a gender-neutral garment, with no definition of body, which, unfortunately, could be accentuating and excessive.
    Through the design/build process, the Prozodezhda was promoted, engaged, and marketed to the social order. With the collapse of the bourgeoisie, along with it, the vision of self-efficacy, social justice, and the utopian forecast of Russia, the rejecting of the radical nature of the constructivist’s paradigms; the Prozodezhda concept was disbanded for a more neutral homogeneous fashion.
    My research will be conducted in two parts. First, research data will be collected via the qualitative method of historical phenomenological reduction, (e.g. Husserl’s method, which takes a more transcendental approach to understanding phenomena,) and second, research by design processes which will deliver a critical inquiry of ‘possible’ realities of the past as they parallel contemporary garments. Investigating the proletariat and identifying their concept of garment during their lived experience, this inquiry will ground the reflections of how, possibly, a garment can reduce one’s self-efficacy through intergenerational communities.
    The conclusion will be an insightful journey through the proletariat aesthetic, within industrial post revolution Russia, its paradigm influences and effect on self-efficacy from a holistic view and a sampling within the lived experiences of designers and societies today.

  • Dusting off the Dress-up Box: Why we need to take fancy dress costume seriously
    The only form of clothing that all people, regardless of gender, race, class or sexuality are likely to wear at some point in their lives, fancy dress costume is a symbol of escapism and protest; it stands for a vision of fantasy and fun, while also confronting the reality of cultural stereotypes. Fancy dress costume is also exceptional for being prevalent and peripheral, dismissed by many people within the fashion industry and academy as a skill-less and ephemeral spectacle.
    The proposed paper challenges this orthodoxy by considering the increasing use of fancy dress costume in global public protests, from the Extinction Rebellion and Women’s Marches, to anti-Brexit marches in the UK, and the appearance of life-size animal onesies in Stella McCartney’s AW20 show in Paris. The use of a creative, inclusive and deeply expressive form of clothing and performance at a time of pronounced social anxiety is revealing of the enduring appeal of dressing up, which provides participants a physical and psychological space for contemplation and clarification of their social roles. Harnessed by groups and movements marginalised within their societies, and who would otherwise struggle to be heard, fancy dress costume reveals the truism of Barbara Babcock’s observation that the ‘socially peripheral is often symbolically central, and if we ignore or minimize inversion and other forms of cultural negation we often fail to understand the dynamics of social process generally’. Study of this overlooked sartorial form, which this paper will champion, has the potential to reveal much about the communicative capabilities of our clothing.


OCTOBER 9, 2020 – FRIDAY 7:00 PM
madison moore

In this keynote madison moore explores the queerness of sequins, glitter and other accoutrements of “fabulousness” and how these pave the way for alternative, peripheral methods of being in the world. We will explore fabulousness as a survival tactic, a worldmaking strategy that queer and trans people of color use to create vibrant elsewheres. We will explore recent developments in social media and popular culture to think through how fabulousness offers an escape hatch from the anxieties of a culture that works tirelessly to keep multiply marginalized people at the periphery.  

This event will be moderated by RIKKI BIRD. Following the keynote and discussion, the Chicago Fashion Lyceum will be screening a fashion film by BYRON EDGE that explores the idea of fashion at the periphery set to a soundtrack by Chicago-based DJ SHAUN WRIGHT.

This project is partially supported by the Fashion Studies Department and a generous grant from the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Columbia College Chicago.

REGISTER 9 OCT 7 PM – KEYNOTE – madison moore

OCTOBER 10, 2020 – saturDAY 10:00 aM
morning PANEL:
Our Spaces – Making Space in fashion

Working from the Periphery: The National Association of Fashion and Accessories Designers (NAFAD) and the Promotion of African American Fashion
Peripheral Fashion Cities: Satellites of Style, Culture and Influence
Preserving the Latinx experience through Digital Archives
Adorning Independence: Etta Moten Barnett & Pan African Politics of Dress
Helen Grund: On Fashion, Flâneuring and Forgotten Women

DJ: BUMBAC JOE / IG: @bumbacjoemusic

  • Working from the Periphery: The National Association of Fashion and Accessories Designers (NAFAD) and the Promotion of African American Fashion
    In 1949, faced with discrimination or blatant ignorance from the mainstream fashion industry, a group of black women designers decided to found a professional organization to promote African American women designers in the industry. Collaborating with Mary McLeod Bethune from the National Council for Negro Women (NCNW), this new organization— the National Association of Fashion and Accessories Designers (NAFAD)—grew to become a prominent organization fighting not only for racial equality, but also for a greater visibility of African-American fashion. This paper will examine how NAFAD worked to promote black design and to achieve positions of influence within the industry. Rather than taking a separatist approach, NAFAD sought to join the mainstream, and much of its activities were geared towards gaining a foothold and a recognition as professionals. Comprised of black women, they had to navigate both racial and gender barriers in an industry which favored whites and males, as well as to claim a professional status for their roles as designers. By exploring how NAFAD carved a space of power from the margins, this paper asks to revisit definitions of center and periphery, especially in the context of labor in the fashion industry. In shedding light on this organization, which is itself in the margins of scholarly attention, I ask to shift the conversation to the ways in which we tell the history of the fashion industry in the United States and who do we include in it.

  • Peripheral Fashion Cities: Satellites of Style, Culture and Influence
    Paris, London, Milan, New York, Tokyo are the traditional rollcall of global fashion capitals whose names are emblazoned on carrier bags, shop windows, and products. Who can resist a whiff of Yves Saint Laurent’s ‘Paris’ perfume as way of whisking you away to this entrepôt of elegance and the opportunity to become a Parisienne? Yet the hegemony of these cities has since the late 1980s, early 1990s been assailed by the arrival of other, smaller cities, often well-beyond the periphery of these global centres. Cannes, Copenhagen, Los Angeles, Shanghai, and many others make a claim to be the ‘5th Fashion Capital’; yet does the global fashion system need a 5th Fashion Capital? Who ordains this? Do such other peripheral cities really need to claim such an accolade? Is there an alternative to becoming an influential centre of fashion culture and style? What might this new geographic landscape of peripheral fashion cities look like? Who are the new Parisiennes to aspire to?
    This paper seeks to explore an approach to the peripheral fashion cities which have emerged to challenge notions of the concept of the Fashion Capital. Taking up the examples of Antwerp and Copenhagen as exemplars of fashion cities which have sought to capitalise on their local fashion cultures to exert their authority beyond the realms of their locales to become internationally recognised. Hosting a Fashion Week has become a typical way to claim status as a Fashion Capital; but are there other alternatives? The case of Antwerp seems to prove that this is so; refracted through the global media, museum exhibitions and its own ability to ‘export’ its particular calibre of style through the work of designers such as Martin Margiela, Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulmeester, Raf Simons and brands such as Scapa, Essentiel Antwerp amongst others. In contrast, Copenhagen has sought to take a more commercial approach, a city that capitalises on fashion as a both trade and culture while also becoming a platform to question the systems of fashion. Does Copenhagen now have a claim on being the world’s ‘Sustainable Fashion Capital’? Claiming a space beyond the Fashion Capitals these are cities which are seeking to assert they more than just satellites but rather important and influential centres of fashion trade and culture in their own right. What lessons do they have for other aspiring Fashion Cities?

  • Preserving the Latinx experience through Digital Archives
    In my own work, I investigate garments that represent marginalized communities and discarded histories in museums, and how their inclusion can provide a more diverse understanding of fashion. For this paper, I am focusing on the visual portrayal of the Latinx experience through the recent emergence of multiple Instagram accounts. 
    Due to the homogenization of the terms Latino and Hispanics, we are currently experiencing an awakening of intersectional identifiers – being both American and Latino – creating the increased usage of the term Latinx. 
    The rise in popularity of Instagram pages such as Veteranas and Rucas, founded by Guadalupe Rosales in 2015, portrays Chicana youth culture in the 1980s and 1990s. Another page, New York City based Nuevayorkinos founded by Djali Brown-Cepeda, often highlights the importance of clothing and ‘dressing the part’ as part of the immigrant and generational experience. A few other accounts include Documenting the Nameplate, Latinx Diaspora Archives, and Quinceanera Archives. 
    The participatory nature of the pages – encouraging followers to submit their own photographs and accompanying captions – reframes Latinx visual representation in the American cultural canon. Although the fashion objects represented in these images may not be preserved in museums, the photographs themselves serve as a way of documenting the importance of dress within the Latinx experience. What these and many other digital archives offer is ownership over visual representation in a sartorial history where they have traditionally been excluded. 

  • Adorning Independence: Etta Moten Barnett & Pan African Politics of Dress
    Abstract: In 1957, concert singer and actress Etta Moten Barnett traveled to West Africa to witness the transition from the Gold Coast Colony to Ghana, under the leadership of Kwame Nkrumah. Her Chicago-based radio program documenting the historic occasion took listeners on a tour of both the politics and of the clothing worn by Ghanaian women and Pan-Africanists. Prior to this, Moten Barnett established a fashion and arts boutique in New York City with two friends, called The Afro-Arts Bazaar. The role and popularity of Pan-African adornment is well documented in the 1960s and 1970s–the Black Power era. In this paper, I use radio, photographs, and magazines to map a pre-“Black is Beautiful” use of African-inspired clothing and material culture to foster a connection between the diaspora and uncover the changing uses of this style of adornment in the first half of the twentieth century.

  • Helen Grund: On Fashion, Flâneuring and Forgotten Women
    This paper seeks to establish the importance of deliberately female perspectives within fashion discourse, exemplified through the diary entries of Helen Grund, a German writer and fashion journalist of the Weimar Republic. Grund’s original writing on fashion is vivid and particular. I studied the texts in German to fully grasp their content and the unique female voice that stands in sharp contrast to the work of her contemporaries, such as Walter Benjamin. While her work has remained largely unexplored in Anglo-American fashion discourse, it cannot simply be translated and subsequently analysed, because her use of language is so deliberate and integral to her style. 
    Through a precise process of perpetual translation, coding and analysis, I have determined that Grund’s perhaps most poignant and valuable texts are her diary entries documenting her many travels to Paris between 1924 and 1926. In them, Grund not only presents a uniquely female experience of the time, but offers insights into the lives of women she encounters by taking on the role of a contradictory female flâneur. Grund reveals ways in which women, mostly at the margins of society, utilised fashion to carve out their own spaces. Even though fashion practice has been written about, critically studied and analysed, women’s experiences in what is arguably a phallogocentric industry are often left out of the discourse. This paper offers fresh insights for a fuller understanding of contemporary fashion performances and proposes ways of writing them that challenge the gap between fashion theory and fashion practices.


OCTOBER 10, 2020 – SATURDAY 3:00 PM
In Translation- When Fashion Travels

Shaping Fashion in a South-South Context: Selling Chinese-Made Clothes and Fabrics in Mozambique
Transnational Fashion Studies: A Few Complexities in Fashioning Brazilianness
Necessary Beauty: High Fashion and Home Sewing Practices in Ohio
Defining Fashion from the Periphery: The Case of Late-Colonial Spanish America
Traversing the Peripheries of Time, Space and Place in Style: reinterpreting and reworking traditional Asian textiles and their fashionable application

DJ: CORDELL JOHNSON / IG: @johnson.cordell

  • Shaping Fashion in a South-South Context: Selling Chinese-Made Clothes and Fabrics in Mozambique
    Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Mozambique and China, this paper shows how different actors co-construct perceptions of fashionability with the purpose of selling everyday Chinese-made fashion products in Mozambique. After the collapse of the Mozambican textile and garment industry in the 1990s, the Mozambican fashion market is now dominated by imported products, most of which come from China. Chinese-made clothing and fabrics are ubiquitous and increasingly popular in the East African country. This development is driven by diverse actors: Indian traders with longstanding business ties to Mozambique, Chinese entrepreneurs, Chinese textile companies specializing in African markets, highly mobile West African individual traders, and since recently, young Mozambicans, especially women, who see the availability and affordability of Chinese-made fashion products as an opportunity to start their own business. All of these make use of their specific strengths and advantages, be it access to capital and networks, long-term trading experience, business expertise, or an intimate knowledge of local tastes and fashion trends.
    Analyzing the success of Chinese fashion products from the bottom-up perspective of these actors, it becomes obvious that Western-shaped concepts such as fashionability and authenticity are not applicable to this purely non-Western context. Mozambican consumers do not despise Chinese knock-off fashion products as fake, as long as their quality is good. Therefore, copied products are not perceived as inherently bad, even though they violate Western ideas of intellectual property. To explain how Chinese fashion products were able to conquer the Mozambican market, this paper also redefines the idea of fashionability, meaning what makes a certain product fashionable and desirable. It thereby challenges the persistent Eurocentrism of the dominant fashion discourse, which has been unable to truly grasp the workings and global connections of non-Western fashion systems.

  • Transnational Fashion Studies: A Few Complexities in Fashioning Brazilianness
    Fashion is an inherently transnational phenomenon, despite repeatedly being used by individuals and governments to serve national agendas. In its numerous dimensions, fashion tells complex stories about local, regional, national and international identities, as well as their intersection with global networks of exchange. Looking beyond Western Europe and North America for examples of sartorial innovation constitutes a critical perspective from which to decentre the discipline of Fashion Studies. Yet in opening out a global field of Fashion Studies, scholars need revised methods and theories that can reposition so-called ‘Western’ fashion as simply one system, which operates amongst numerous others. For Renato Ortiz the experience of ‘modernity’ within the context of Latin America is in need of revision; modernity is a discourse through which individuals become aware of modernization taking place, allowing multiple routes for their response to the process. Fashion operates in different systems too, since dress innovations can take vastly different forms and encompass different temporalities in expressing an individual or social group’s experience of the now.
    This paper expands upon ideas explored in the author’s recent book, which examined how fashion in Brazil has been created, worn, displayed, viewed and represented over the last one hundred years through the popular ethnographic gaze of the scientific and ‘educational’ magazine National Geographic. Fashioning Brazil: Globalization and the Representation of Brazilian Dress in National Geographic (2018) considered the impact of globalization, disciplinary shifts in anthropology, as well as local, global and cultural imperialism on the construction of a fashionable identity within Brazil throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Rather than apply Western fashion theory to a distinct Brazilian context, this paper uses Latin American cultural theorists to examine Brazilian fashion as a material object, a visual image, a text to be read, a lived experience and crucially, a notion that travels. Brazilianness, as this paper argues, is a construct that cannot be mapped so easily onto a rotating world, not least when we explore fashion’s transnational flows of exchange and influence.

  • Necessary Beauty: High Fashion and Home Sewing Practices in Ohio
    While working on an exhibition in the Spring of 2012 for the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum in Dennison, OH, I was asked to pick up historic textiles belonging to a member of the museum board. The textiles were housed in Dr. William Huss’s ancestral farmhouse; I was welcome to go through the rooms of the historic home and select garments appropriate to the museum’s exhibition needs. On the back of the dining room door hung two military jackets and several dresses. One of the dresses bore an unusual label that read “Made of a Paul Poiret (Personal) Print Paris.” Poiret’s work was familiar to me but the label, as well as the specific print of the textile, was not. My research in to the career of the self-decreed “King of Fashion,” as well as in to the life of the original owner of the Poiret Personal Print dress told an interesting story of fashion’s dissemination from couture creations to rural women practicing home sewing in the early twentieth century.
    Dr. Huss’s ancestors, the Laws, left many of their articles of clothing and furniture in the home, pieces that were turned over to subsequent generations as the house was passed down through the years. There is evidence based on the objects and textiles left in the home that the Law women were frequent customers of mail order companies and seemed to have a firm grasp of what was fashionable. Dr. Huss’s great-aunt Lida was most likely the owner of the garment, based on a proposed 1927 dating. Lida would have been in her mid-40s at the time of its creation. This dress symbolizes not just the work of a great couturier, but the potential work of many girls and women. It epitomizes unsung contributions to the fashion system of the time, thus offering a broader definition and narrative.
    By studying multiple wardrobes owned by women in North East and Central Ohio, my research strives to synthesize and understand the practice of home sewing with the dissemination of high fashion to multiple ethnic and socio-economic audiences after the turn of the twentieth century. I hope to begin to tell the story of material culture for underrepresented women in rural and urban areas of Ohio, as well as to contribute to a wider understanding of the cultural impact of high fashion.

  • Defining Fashion from the Periphery: The Case of Late-Colonial Spanish America
    Fashion has often been defined as a modern, Western phenomenon. This has relegated the study of fashion in regions like the Spanish colonies in the Americas to the peripheries of fashion history and fashion studies; attributing the word “fashion” to Spanish colonial dress and customs becomes, under this point of view, a definitive misnomer. Yet the colonial inhabitants of Spanish America lived and experienced fashion in a variety of ways. Building on studies that have sought to rescue the idea of fashion in the early modern world and throughout the globe, this paper makes a case for the use of “fashion” in the study of late-colonial dress, manners, and the broader culture of appearances. Using commercial records, court cases, travel chronicles, and other archival documents from the Viceroyalty of New Granada, this paper brings light to the phenomenon of fashion as it was experienced by colonials in the second half of the eighteenth century. Not entirely contrary to contemporary ideas about fashion in Europe, fashion in the Spanish American colony was seen with ambivalence and sparked great debate. In the late-colonial context, however, it was additionally colored by the local anxieties brought about by miscegenation, social disorder, the increasingly strong indigenous presence, and the impending fall of the empire. 

  • Traversing the Peripheries of Time, Space and Place in Style: reinterpreting and reworking traditional Asian textiles and their fashionable application
    Across the temporal, spatial and geographic sites of human existence, textiles have been inexorably linked with the material desire to signal difference and communicate belonging based on expressions of form and function. This innate human need to mark out progress through change by extension beyond the peripheries of time, space and place by extension is expressed in the desire to create particular textiles that are fashioned in prescribed ways. In this sense, textiles constitute a renewable style system, founded on de-centred, historic trading flows from east to west, which can be used as a barometer of transnational exchanges of material goods and symbolic styles mapping out the evolution of cultures and societies. This paper presents a textile design-based project that aimed to reinterpret and revitalise a heritage textile, Canton or Mud silk, produced in Guangdong Province in China’s South-west coastal area for over 500 years using traditional and sustainable production, weaving and dyeing techniques. The intention of the project was to explore how textured mud silk could be reworked utilising new modern day cut-through technologies such as laser-cutting techniques, to explore the social impact and to manage the challenges therein. This project was driven by the following investigative questions: How can we revitalise and transform textile craft using innovative technologies to sustain their appeal and relevance? Should we view traditional crafts as static in form, aesthetics and function? How can we use new technologies to translate and re-form traditionally produced textiles creating innovative design and sustainable outcomes to enhance an understanding of their source and original production processes? The presentation will showcase the evolution of this experimental approach based traversing the peripheries of the textile itself by melding old and new textile forms harmoniously to provide a new commentary on, and interpretation of a traditionally produced textile with extraordinary properties. At the same time, this investigation will demonstrate how the aesthetics of heritage fabric from another culture and geographical place and time can be enhanced by providing it with a new lease of life and an elevated appreciation to sustain its social and sustainable relevance for designers and end users by taking it beyond its traditional boundaries.


OCTOBER 11, 2020 – SunDAY 2:00 PM
midday PANEL:
Holding Patterns – Spaces of Waiting

Collecting on the Periphery: Pocket Contents and Biography in the Clothing of Francis Golding
Materializing Fashion Narratives: Situating Photographic Materialism in the Field of Fashion Studies
Coming in from the Inside: The Permeable Closet as Infinite Periphery
Affecting Objects: Clothing Archives and the Edges of the Fashion

DJ: selective listening

  • Collecting on the Periphery: Pocket Contents and Biography in the Clothing of Francis Golding
    This paper will explore the often-overlooked area on the dressed body which intersects memory and the garment, the pocket. Acting as a liminal space linking the intimate self and the public world, pockets are a place of practical storage, an avenue of gesture and a site of embodied memory in clothing. 
    Reflecting on my curatorial practice and research within the Francis Golding Collections of clothing (acquired in 2015 collaboratively between the Museum of London and London College of Fashion Archives) I will discuss the discovery and analysis of an avid collector and self- documentarian’s pocket contents and how they have been catalogued as part of Golding’s (1944-2013) larger collection of contemporary LGTBQ+ menswear. 
    This paper embraces Dr. Carole Hunt’s assertion that textiles have the ability “to embody both a communal, historical moment and a local individual, specific story…” (2014), and proposes that the pocket provides a peripheral space for authorship of the private and the social selves. The contents of Golding’s pocket are further suggested as a form of historian Jacob Presser’s “egodocument” (Dekker, 2002): life-writing made material.

  • Materializing Fashion Narratives: Situating Photographic Materialism in the Field of Fashion Studies
    In this presentation, I discuss different approaches to the study of fashion through photography and suggest photographic materialism as a new method of analysis. Since the late nineteenth century, photography has served as a rich resource for understanding fashion as both a material object and an immaterial concept. The field of dress history has relied on photography as a form of visual evidence, whereas the emergence of fashion studies has led scholars to engage with a range of theoretical concepts to understand how photographic images influence our perceptions of fashion as an essence or an idea. While fashion studies scholars have begun to engage with additional forms of photography beyond that of the illustrated fashion magazine, the way in which they engage with images of fashion has not entirely changed. Rather than treating photographs as a mere visual reference or illustration of fashion change I ask: what can fashion studies scholars gain from viewing images of fashion as material objects in and of themselves? Drawing from photographic materialism that argues the material and presentational forms of photographs are central to their meaning as images, I demonstrate how the material and technical aspects of photography may offer fashion studies scholars new insight into the creation and circulation of fashion narratives across time, space, and place.

  • Coming in from the inside: The Permeable Closet as Infinite Periphery
    Unlike the dresser, whose outside edges we can see, the closet complicates our spatial understanding of the home it resides in. The nestled logic of the closet’s architecture is clear from the bird’s eye view on a floor plan, but when seen from the room it adjoins the closet appears to go simply beyond. The back wall of the closet is especially curious; on the one hand: it exists, closets do have perimeters and they do end, and yet the back wall of the closet presents itself as permeable again and again. In film and literature, it leads to other worlds both enchanting and sinister – worlds that leak otherworldly things into our own (how else does the monster get into the closet?) and worlds that invite us to cross into them (of the Lion and the Witch variety).
    The closet, as both a marginal and infinite/ubiquitous phenomenon, is central to and yet at the periphery of Fashion Studies: the closet is fully a fashion collection and fully a fashion space and yet is a banal and often overlooked example of both. The closet is storage and portal, mundane and magical, cozy and horrifyingly infinite. This paper proposes a close look at the closet’s permeability and in particular the porousness of its back wall – the periphery of the periphery – as considered through both popular culture texts and the material history of domestic space.

  • Affecting Objects: Clothing Archives and the Edges of the Fashion
    There is something macabre about a dress archive, with its host of garments no longer worn: groups of bodiless bodies, hung up or laid to rest in drawers. Fashion conservator Sarah Scaturro (2017) has compared the conservation lab to a morgue, but for me, it is in the museum archive that this analogy holds most true. The sensation of being in a dress archive is one of muted but contrasting sensory affects, of silence, the coolness of metal, the rustle of Tyvek; of dimmed lights and occasionally musty smells. These empty garments cannot respond and yet the archive teams with agencies: with bodies waiting to affect you. 
    Much has been written in recent years about the role, position and display of dress in museums, however, less explored are clothing archives and the numerous garments which reside within them; objects which are for the most part hidden from view. This paper explores the clothing archive as a powerful yet under-explored space, one where taxonomic principals meet bodily practices and emotional affects. It presents a phenomenological approach to dress archives: examining how archives act upon us, as spaces of fashion, and asking what actions, experiences and affects reside within these often overlooked spaces. In examining the complex dynamics of the fashion archive – an active space with the capacity to transform clothing from everyday dress to archival object – this paper seeks unpack the encounters, affects and experiences housed within the archive and the objects which sit at the peripheries of fashion.
    Drawing on practiced-based research undertaken at the Costume Institute at Metropolitan Museum of Art; it examines the sensory and embodied encounters with garments in archives asking how their affects might be harnessed in the study of fashion and dress. Utilizing the work of phenomenologists Schilder (1935) and Merleau-Ponty (1969) it positions garments in archives as both containers and producers of affect- an affect which in part stems from the bodies that once resided within them, but also from the multiple meaning that they acquire through use storage, preservation and display.