The expansion of fashion is often understood as the result of the violent colonial enterprises of European countries around the globe. However, fashion in colonial contexts extended beyond the simple adoption — or imposition — of the styles of dress preferred by European elites. In different cases, colonial peoples expressed their identities through fashion, uniquely combining elements from the cultures of both the colonizers and the colonized. In this process, fashion became a tool through which hierarchies of race, ethnicity, religion, and other social categories could be constructed and expressed. As such, fashion in colonial contexts can reveal both cultural encounters and the variety of tensions that emerged from them.
About The Author
Laura specializes in the history of art and fashion in the early modern Spanish World. She is a doctoral candidate at the College of William and Mary and received her MA in Fashion Studies from Parsons School of Design. Her dissertation explores the adoption and adaptation of European fashions, their fusion with local Indigenous elements of dress, and their representation in portraits and pictures of types in the Viceroyalty of New Granada in the second half of the eighteenth century.