Life lately: feeling more settled in London

Dear fashion friends,

I can’t believe a month has passed already since the last time I wrote. And I do realize I’m failing you (again) because it took me a whole month to get back here rather than two weeks, as I promised last time. I do want to get back into a regular publishing schedule soon, but I need to figure out my new life first.

And what a new life it’s turning out to be!

I’ve moved to new cities several times in my life, but I’ve never been as busy in the first couple of months as I’ve been here. It’s been a “good” kind of busy, as I’ve gotten to see lots of new places, new people, old friends, and long-social media buddies finally in person. I’ve also started to become part of a bunch of really exciting intellectual networks and conversations here in the UK, which I absolutely love.

One of such networks is dedicated to making historical dress, led by Serena Dyer and Sarah Bendall. They’ve been hosting a series of workshops since August and on Monday I had the pleasure to attend in person for the first time! We learned about different approaches to remaking/reconstruction/recreation in fashion history, heard about the joys and tribulations of being a fashion historian on YouTube, unfolded an 18th-century sack gown to understand both its construction and the incredible amounts of fabric that it takes to create it, and (my personal favorite) considered tailoring manuals as a form of scientific communication. It was a long day of scholarship but one of the best I’ve had in a while!

Other favorite events from the past month include the Museum of London’s “lates” around the exhibition Fashion City: How Jewish Londoners Shaped Global Style (on view until July 7th), a night of poetry and music around a set of knitted tapestries depicting “The Irish of Kilburn” at Kiln Theatre, and Jill Burke’s talk on Renaissance cosmetics and female beauty at the Paul Mellon Centre last night.

Online, I had the honor to lead a session of the Fashion and Race Database reading club on “Fashioning Caste and Race in Colonial Spanish America.” We talked about the role of dress and casta/genre paintings in maintaining Spanish colonial control and trying to organize a very “messy,” mixed-race society. 

Also at the FRD, I wrote a review of The Missing Thread: Untold Histories of British Fashion, on view at Somerset House between September 21, 2023 and January 7, 2024. To me, this exhibition was brilliant mostly because it:

highlighted some of the recurring subjects and spaces that have shaped much of Black British culture over the last fifty years, while evidencing their influence on mainstream fashion in the country and beyond. As more initiatives continue to expand our knowledge of Black fashion at a global level, this exhibition functions as a stepping stone from which to continue building increasingly diverse histories of fashion.

Speaking of more diverse histories of fashion, I also published a new (and unscripted!) podcast episode, where I spoke a little bit more about what I’m trying to do to continue “decentering” fashion now that I’m in one of its global capitals, my favorite runway shows from London Fashion Week, and my teaching and research strategies for this new stage of my career. Please give it a listen and let me know what you think!

Coming Soon

You’ve probably seen the news about Loro Piana’s exploitation of Andean workers. And you probably expect that I have very strong opinions about it. Not only do I have opinions about Loro Piana’s business dynamics, but also about how the news is being shared and how this one case relates to fashion in Latin America more broadly. I have started to put my ideas together for my next “loose thoughts,” so do expect an email on the topic in a couple of weeks (or early access on Patreon next week).

I also have a very exciting guest coming up on the podcast next week so I’ll email you as soon as the episode goes live.

Next Thursday, March 28th, I’ll be hosting a second FRD event on “Self-fashioning, empire, and racialization in the Americas” at 11:00 am EST. This time I’ll be joined by Philippe Halbert and Janine Yorimoto Boldt with the aim to unpack the role of portraiture and the arts in the creation of “race” in the colonial Americas. Please, please join if you can!

Finally, I’ll be traveling back to Colombia to do some research into dress displays for a special project encouraged by Kenna Libes, so do expect lots of new Instagram content directly from some of my favorite museums in Bogotá (and I’ll likely report back with some of my highs here too).


Thank you, thank you for reading and following along in my intellectual adventures! Don’t hesitate to email me or message me on social media with any comments, questions, or ideas.

Until next time,

—L 🩷

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