York University's First Fashion Exhibition
15 January - 13 March 2020
Clothing has a powerful effect on our understanding of self, as well as how we interact with the wider world. It is a means of protection, identity formation, and social distinction. Our entire world, specifically within a fashion context, is ordered towards male/female binaries. But what of identities that sit beyond these constraints? What if you are also a person of colour? How does race factor into the equation? How is clothing used to reflect such intersectional identities? This exhibition explores such questions of sartorial self-framing. The participants featured in this exhibition share with you their own stories of navigating our binaried world. This dynamic is important as such voices have historically been edited or erased completely from many institutional narratives.
Archetypes of gender are represented in clothing loans from the York University Fashion Archive and the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario. These displays refer to the ways in which fashion has framed our perception of gender. While the exhibition focus is primarily on Western fashion, the ‘Wedding’ section offers a global perspective on how different cultures have stereotypically perceived gender. A small survey of special occasion clothing from India, Sri-Lanka, and China reflects the ethnicities of some participants.
Re:Framing Gender privileges an ethic of collaboration, both between the participants and the exhibition team, and the wider institution. The show was devised in collaboration with multiple faculties across York University, uniting the departments of Theatre, Film, Women & Gender Studies, Art History Graduate Studies, and the Art Gallery of York University.
- Jason Cyrus