Conference

Fashion Forward: Centering Justice in Fashion History—A Museum Exhibition

Authors
  • Joshua D. Simon (Iowa State University)
  • Kyra Streck (Iowa State University)
  • Ginger D. Stanciel (Iowa State University)
  • Kelly L Reddy-Best (Oregon State University)

Abstract

Fashion Forward: Centering Justice in Fashion History is a digital and mounted exhibition at the Textiles and Clothing Museum at Iowa State that confronts the traditions and practices of the past by reinterpreting a selection of objects from our collection using justice-oriented lenses. The chosen objects were previously featured in the exhibition and corresponding catalog Treasures of the Textiles and Clothing Museum (2013). The use of the word “treasures” implies that these objects have great significance, value, or prestige, but this assessment has also been based largely on traditional, dominant understandings of history. Objects within museum collections— ours included—are biased toward the histories of white, heterosexual, and affluent individuals, those who have traditionally held more power in society. Through the themes of cultural appropriation and imperialism, racial inequities, socio-economic and class barriers, environmental justice, women and feminism, and shifting masculinities, we center and uplift marginalized voices. In this exhibition, we reveal additional stories that often have been omitted from mainstream narratives, inviting visitors and other scholars to consider and create fashion histories that are forward-thinking, equitable, and just.

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Published on
04 Mar 2022