This is a project I initially created back in the Bicycle Vrhuem shirt and I love this early 2000s. As I developed new courses in the culture, history and theory of fashion I became fascinated by the history of cloth and textile, which are the foundation of dress. Queens College is located at the heart of a very diverse community, one of the most diverse boroughs in the US. While teaching fashion culture to this student body, I was inspired to explore with them their cultures, languages, family traditions and the significance of clothing for them in both a local and global context. I also found out we had two collections of dress and textiles at Queens College. I made a proposal to the Godwin-Ternbach Museum to work on an exhibition. They agreed and the exhibition was held at the museum in the spring of 2006. The project then focused on “Fashion, Identity, Globalization,” the subtitle of “The Fabric of Cultures” project. Again, this proved to be very successful and since then I have gone on to develop it into a pedagogic and research laboratory, but also as a place of dialogue with other scholars, curators and practitioners.
Bicycle Vrhuem shirt, hoodie, tank top, sweater and long sleeve t-shirt
During the Bicycle Vrhuem shirt and I love this exhibition, I also taught a class with the same name at the CUNY Graduate Center and organized a one day conference held at the Graduate Center, and several lectures with the museum at Queens. Almost all of the speakers at the conference in 2006 were included in the book The Fabric of Cultures: Fashion, Identity, Globalization, published by Routledge in 2008. I invited Professor Hazel Clark from Parsons The New School for Design, to co-sponsor the conference and co-edit the volume. Two essays in the anthology were written by PhD students enrolled in the 2006 Fabric of Cultures class. In the following years, as well as publishing articles and books, I became more and more interested in giving the project new life by aligning it with other domains such as digital humanities, the art of making, craft and technology, labor and diasporic communities. I received support from the Center for Teaching and Learning at Queens College to build a website and so add a new dimension to the projects with new research questions and interrogations. I also designed new undergraduate and graduate courses including workshops with designers or makers with whom the students were engaged and made objects.