One of the most fascinating things about fashion and style is how closely they are wedded to societal happenings. Historically fashion has been informed by wars, women’s movements, music and inventions. Sometimes it seems as though fashion is influencing women, literally manipulating them, as in a corseted gown conforming a woman to sit up straight, be restricted in movement and look decorative. Other times it is as if women are influencing fashion, as in the 1920s when women earned the right to vote, and the acceptance of going out dancing and drinking. With this emerging voice of equality, hemlines rose, hair was worn shorter and a woman could trade in her corset for a silky slip. In the 1960s women rejected many of the patriarchal oppressions put upon them. Spiked heels gave way to comfortable flats, and skirts were traded in for pants. Bikinis, halter tops and miniskirts were an expression of a sexual revolution for women.

Reforming Fashion will show examples of transformations in 20th century apparel and accessories. All of the artifacts are from the Historic and Cultural Textile and Apparel Collection which directly supports the College of Business Design Programs. For more information and links to social media visit our website on the collection.

Keynote: Harsha Walia

Milam Auditorium
Friday March 10th

Harsha will be discussing the global refugee crisis and its implications for North America by reformulating immigrant and refugee rights movements within a transnational analysis of capitalism, labor exploitation, settler colonialism, state building, and racialized empire. In an era of Trump and heightened attacks on racialized communities, this talk aims to challenge and strategize opposition to white supremacy rooted in the leadership of racialized communities.

For more information:


by Tara Pierce

My defining moment with personal identity is a story of realizing you lost yourself and winning yourself back all at once.

I was working two jobs at 55 hours a week. I was engaged. He talked of duplexes, white picket fences, and two kids. And don’t forget the dog.

I dreamed of travel and adventure. I dreamed of backpacks and jungles and surf and mountains and sailing. I was always wrong. I did this wrong, I did that wrong. My ideas, my opinions, my life, all were naive and unrealistic. I should just do as he says. He knows best, he is more experienced. He knows me better than I know myself. I dare not question him. It was the life I knew. And I should give him all my money.

I was wound up so tight and so exhausted from my week it was a miracle I had time to be creative at all, never mind complete a painting. Thank goodness that art was so ingrained in me I would die without making it. Making art is what saved my life.

img_0142For a class, I did a series of self-portraits. By the third painting, I came to this piece before you. I felt quite literally like I was living in disguise. My everyday routine, my clothes, my hair, my work, my apartment; it all went against who I was and who I wanted to be, as if I’d created some elaborate secret agent cover. Even my fiancé denied the parts of myself I held dear. The path of my life and my dreams did not intersect.

Once this piece was finished, I was forced to look at myself. There I was, hiding behind fake glasses and a big nose. I wasn’t being myself, I wasn’t working toward a life I wanted. It felt like I was living someone else’s life. It was cathartic, looking into my hand-painted mirror. I had to act.

I called a friend. I packed a bag. I told him I was leaving. He cried and begged me to stay, acting like a kicked puppy; it was his best manipulation by far, pulling at my tender heart strings there was a fleeting second where I almost faltered. I turned the door knob, kissed him on the forehead, and left.

I scream-cried down the freeway. I parked. I called my friend. I was welcomed to my mother’s warm house and comfy couch. My mother was proud. My father was proud. My friends were proud. But none of them were as proud as me.

My life was suddenly light, bright, and full of possibilities. And I was me again.