Creating African Fashion Histories
Politics, Museums, and Sartorial Practices
Published by: Indiana University Press
360 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 mm, 81 color illus., 7 b&w illus.
- ISBN: 9780253060129
- Published: April 2022
Creating African Fashion Histories examines the stark disjuncture between African self-fashioning and museum practices. Conventionally, African clothing, textiles, and body adornments were classified by museums as examples of trade goods, art, and ethnographic materials—never as "fashion." Counterposing the dynamism of African fashion with museums' historic holdings thus provides a unique way of confronting ways in which coloniality persists in knowledge and institutions today. This volume brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars and curators to debate sources and approaches for constructing African fashion histories and to examine their potential for decolonizing museums, fashion studies, and global cultural history.
The editors of this volume seek to answer questions such as: How can researchers use museum collections to reveal traces of past self-fashioning that are obscured by racialized forms of knowledge and institutional practice? How can archival, visual, oral, ethnographic, and online sources be deployed to capture the diversity of African sartorial pasts? How can scholars and curators decolonize the Eurocentric frames of thinking encapsulated in historic collections and current curricula? Can new collections of African fashion decolonize museum practice?
From Moroccan fashion bloggers to upmarket Lagos designers, the voices in this ground-breaking collection reveal fascinating histories and geographies of circulation within and beyond the continent and its diasporic communities.
1. Introduction: Creating African Fashion Histories: Politics, Museums, and Sartorial Practices, by JoAnn McGregor
Part I: Constructing African Fashion Histories
2. Historicizing Fashion in Western Africa: Global Linkages, Regional Markets, and Local Tastes, 1400-1850, by Jody Benjamin
3. Finding Fashion in the Museum: (Re)Assembling a Precolonial Eastern African Fashion Moment, by Sarah Fee
4. Beloved, Ignored, and Contested: The Politics of Kente in Ghana since the 1960s, by Malika Kraamer
Part II: Transmitting and Translating African Fashion Identities
5. Translocal Subjectivities, Space, and Aesthetics: The World of Nigerian Fashion, by Harriet Hughes
6. Fabric in the Fashion Photography of Omar Victor Diop, by Beth Buggenhagen
7. "There Was No Fashion in Morocco Before": (Re)Creating Contemporary Moroccan Fashion History, by M. Angela Jansen
8. Unrest and Dress: The Symbol of the Sycamore Tree in Oromo Adornment, by Peri M. Klemm
Part III: Collecting, Curating, and Displaying Africa Fashions
9. Stories behind the Collections and Why They Matter: Examples from Indiana University, by Heather Akou
10. Refashioning Clothing Collections in South African Museums, by Erica de Greef
11. Fashioning Africa: Using a New Collection of Dress to Decolonize Museum Practice, by Edith Ojo, Helen Mears, and Nicola Stylianou