Monthly recommendations: July, 2020
Since I passed my comprehensive exams for the Ph.D., I’ve been thinking about ways to revive this website. I opened it years ago, when I was first starting to develop a serious interest in fashion. And it has definitely seen me slithering through different approaches, as I slowly become a fashion scholar. In this website, I’ve moved from being a fashion lover sharing what she wore —like who knows how many more— to communicating some of the lessons learned as I worked through the MA in Fashion Studies. Mixed attempts to engage with fashion in ways that did not fit the more traditional academic publications, but that seemed a bit too dense for social media, came later. Until I finally abandoned it, leaving a plain sample of mi professional face with a short bio and an excerpt of my CV.
Yet I can’t stop thinking about getting back to it. I love writing and openly reflecting about what I read, see, and think. And I believe that this website can be a good medium to do it informally, without the pressure of academic publishing. So I have finally decided to get back to it, listening to both my heart’s desires and the requests of the few people who remember what this once attempted to be.
And I’ve decided to begin with one of the rituals that I used to publish every month a few years back: a list with recommended readings and other material that I’ve collected throughout the month. Most of them are related to fashion, although my readings are usually pretty varied. I’ve been reading a lot about yoga and mindfulness recently, although that might not be what people come to find here. Podcasts and other audiovisual content have also become essential for my long sewing sessions, as I work on my eighteenth-century sewing skills (but more on that later). And because I am multilingual, I often engage with content in different languages. Recommendations in all of them will be included here.
I only made the decision to publish this list a few days ago. I’ve tried to recover the most notable resources from the past month or so but there must be many that I’ve just forgotten. There are also some earlier ones that still feel relevant. In any case, I hope this interests you and that you can enjoy some of the recommendations below. Please do let me know what you think and expect news about my research projects and life as a Ph.D. student soon.
On the Jacqueline Durran’s “stylistic remix” for her costume designs in Little Women.
The proliferation of “curating” speaks of a generation anxious for authority and authorship, and also for meaning.Lou Stoppard
Speaking of curating, I wrote “A History of Fashion in Museums” (in Spanish) for Culturas de Moda last month.
Valerie Steele, Savannah Yarborough, Billy Reid, and Vivienne Tam on fashion after Covid-19 (this is from April but, I think, still very relevant).
Clare Hunter’s Threads of Life is a beautiful narration of the ways in which needlework has participated in the history of humankind, moving beyond the oft-cited connection with femininity.
Juhani Pallasmaa’s The Thinking Hand has been one of the “friendliest” pieces of theory that I’ve read in a while and has been super helpful as I think about sewing as a form of inquiry for my Ph.D. thesis. And I can’t not mention Sarah E. Woodyard’s contribution in her MA thesis when it comes to making-as-inquiry.
What Samira Nasr’s appointment means for Harper’s Bazaar and fashion magazines, according to Chantal Fernández at BoF.
A short reflection by Kate Fletcher on fashion after Covid-19:
Perhaps now more than ever, that we must not revert to the old ways, to familiar or prescribed narratives or ‘solutions’. Instead we need to deal in discomfort and uncertainty, and to stay with the trouble of building a new logic for the fashion sector, a new Earth Logic, that will bring us deep and lasting change.Kate Fletcher
How Lorna Simpson’s “cut-out portraits” reflect the complexities of identity.
When it comes to podcasts, I must mention Salón de moda, a new podcast where I joined four of my friends and colleagues to speak about fashion and fashion studies in Spanish.
Monica L. Miller’s two-part interview on Dressed, where they discuss her book Slaves to Fashion: Black Dandyism and the Styling of Black Diasporic Identity (2009).
Rossana Barragán Romano on precariousness, informality, and feminine work in colonial Potosí colonial.
BH100+1: historias de Bauhaus y América Latina (also in Spanish).
5 aspects of fashion in Uruguay that need to change and which, I think, might be extended more broadly to Latin America. This was a suggestion from my wonderful partner in crime, Sandra Mathey García-Rada.
An interview (in Spanish) with the creators of “AYNI – Hoy por ti, mañana por mí” in ¿Moda Sostenible? (also courtesy of Sandra).
The Museo del Traje in Buenos Aires has been offering “tea sessions” with experts of fashion history and studies through their Instagram, usually on Wednesday or Thursday afternoons.
Dr. Alison Matthews David’s conference on fashion and contagious disease in history.
Amber Butchart’s IGTV series “Dirty Laundry”, where she narrates brief episodes of fashion history, aided by her spectacular vintage fashion collection.
Dr. Kate Strasdin on the fashion of Queen Reina Alexandra.
Barney Stinson (of How I Met Your Mother) and the history of the suit to our time. This suggestion came from Marula, whom I also recommend to those interested in literature.