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.

Wearing Wellbeing

My motivation in wanting to understand how we experience wearing the positive feeling of being happy is based on my personal relationship with my wardrobe and the way I feel about dressing. Fashion creates meaning in my life, dress connects me to others, and clothes allow me to engage with my creativity. I wanted to learn if that was also true for others. 

Our Emotions, Our Dress, Our Work

This issue brings us two reports from scholars working within the academic system, both of whom have found ways to use that structure to think more personally about fashion, dress, history and psychology. In reading through them both, we as editors are left thinking about the deep connections between our emotions, our dress, and our work. 

Re.Imagine

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. 

Vintage Selling and the Responsibilities of Care

The dark water was not a good sign. I was soaking a 1970s yellow and black dress in a plastic tub, in mild temperature water mixed with a little detergent. I had two goals—to alleviate some of the terrible smell and fade some staining in the bodice. The dress was a sturdy fabric, I threw it in its bath without much thought. I figured the worst-case scenario would be the dress was as smelly and stained as before.

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.