Laura Beltran-Rubio specializes in the history of art and fashion in the early modern Spanish World. She is a doctoral candidate at the College of William and Mary (Williasmburg, Va.) and received her MA in Fashion Studies from Parsons School of Design. Her dissertation explores the adoption and adaptation of European fashions, their fusion with local indigenous elements of dress, and their representation in portraits and pictures of types in the Viceroyalty of New Granada. More broadly, her research explores the construction of identity through fashion en Europe and Latin America.
Laura is part of the 2020 cohort of the Center for Curatorial Leadership/Mellon Seminar in Curatorial Practice. Internships at El Museo del Barrio and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York sparked Laura’s interest in curatorial work. Laura’s dream is to direct a fashion museum in her native country of Colombia.
Laura is a big proponent of decolonizing fashion and its history, theory, and criticism. She also recognizes the necessity of bringing the field of fashion studies into the Spanish-speaking and Latin American contexts. This has led her to assume the role of a “public-facing scholar” in order to generate wider and more accessible conversations related to fashion studies. This also resulted in the foundation of Culturas de Moda (Fashion Cultures) in 2018, as a Digital Humanities project that aims to bring fashion studies to a broader Spanish-speaking public.
Laura has taught fashion history and fashion studies courses at Parsons (New York) and the Universidad de Los Andes (Bogotá, Colombia). In 2019, she designed and taught the first introductory course to Fashion Studies in Colombia, offered as part of the MA in Design at the Universidad de Los Andes. During the 2019–20 academic year, Laura was an apprentice at the Omohundro Institute for Early American History and Culture (OIEAHC). She has been selected as an assistant for the Equality Lab at William & Mary for 2020–21.
In 2014, Laura received a scholarship from Colfuturo to finance her MA studies. In 2018, she received the Dean’s Recruitment Fellowship at William & Mary. Laura’s studies and research have also been funded by the Department of Art and Design History and Theory at Parsons, William & Mary, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and the Costume Society of America. Her work has been published in Cuaderno, The Journal of Dress History, and Fashion Theory, among other publications.