All tagged 5-Minute Read

My Jacket is Japanese, Not Me

Last week, I walked out of the tube station and a man chased me all the way down the street calling, “Are you Japanese?” I couldn’t avoid him at the traffic lights, so I replied in my rather English voice, “No, I’m not.” This happens not only in London, but all around the world, and all because I am wearing a grey silk haori jacket that I bought in a vintage shop behind an industrial estate in the very unexotic Birmingham. Fashion allows the individual the freedom to combine clothing and choose styles. In the context of urban London, it seems that anything goes; but on what bodies are the national costumes of others off-limits for bricolage?

Kim Chi and Me

I first did drag my senior year of college, dressing in character with two of my girlfriends as a performance art piece. I borrowed their clothes and a cheap Ricky’s wig and bought a pair of cheap heels from Payless that I didn’t yet know how to walk in. I’ll never forget the first time someone referred to me as a “lady,” even though I still hadn’t quite figured out how to do my makeup.

On Shopping for a Maternity Bikini

This bathing suit bottom could almost be a full-sized strapless swimsuit for a smaller-than-average woman. Off the body, it’s not really recognizable as anything at all, because a garment like this doesn’t have a place in our mental store. It’s transitional, it’s temporary, it’s for these strange bodies we theoretically revere but that realistically freak us out.

The Profit Value of Dress to Protest

At the recent March4Women rally in London there was plenty of evidence that we are all paying attention to how we display our political values. As a researcher, I often find that my best ideas for studies start like this, a glimmer of an idea sparked by a chance meeting; politics and revolution began to stitch together in my thoughts.

Letter from a Fashion Doctor

I spent five years at the Centre for Fashion Studies as a PhD candidate, learning both the trade and the politics of academia. It was challenging in many ways, but it is through hardship that we grow the most, and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to find myself a scholar in this field, regardless of the many obstacles that I found in my way.


Looking at this mess of textiles, we realized there was a prominent flaw within the industry and we were staring directly at it. As the speed of the industry increases and the quality decreases from fast fashion, consumers lose connection with their clothing and choose to buy new instead of cherish the old. As a result, we end up with this, a room full of textiles holding labour, water and raw materials being wasted. 

Save the Garment Center

As a fashion researcher, I was interested in the relationship between craft, creativity, and policy, but I was also deeply concerned about what these changes would mean for the city and the individuals who labor in this space. What was motivating the city to consider removing these protections now? How would fashion manufacturers cope with this change? Where were garment workers’ voices in this process?

Peep This Insta: @fools.and.mortals

Alexis Walker is the assistant curator of Costume and Textiles at the McCord Museum in Montreal by day, and the self-taught embroidery artist behind the Instagram account @fools.and.mortals by night. On the one hand she researches, aides in managing a collection, and assists in curating exhibitions on an award-winning team (including a 2018 Richard Martin Exhibition Award for their show ‘Fashioning Expo’!); on the other, she connects to the age-old creative tradition of woman embellishing textiles by hand.