Fashion Matters: the power of fashion history

Fashion Matters: the power of fashion history

Hello, my name is Megan and I love fashion very much.  I love personal style.  I love getting dressed.  I love thinking about where my vintage clothes come from.  I love reading books about the history of New Zealand fashion.  I love looking at pictures of clothes, old and new.  And so you can imagine my hard out delight to learn that the Friends of Te Papa was hosting a lecture series about fashion and that they were happy for me to come along. 

First up, the lecturer is Dr Peter McNeil.  Read that bio and note that he is "the world’s greatest expert on 18th-century men’s dress".  I'm just going to say it again: the careers adviser at Cambridge High School in 1999 (Mrs Lee) was a very nice lady but she did me dirty on the career suggestions.  Dr McNeil is two of my favourite things in a human: effing knowledgeable without being a dick about it, and an incredibly snappy dresser.  Te Papa let me chat to him after his lecture and honestly I could have sat there all night (also, he told me some of his students don't know where wool comes from, so that's horrifying).  He was insightful and interesting, and like me, is intrigued to see where our choices in technology and politics now will take us in fashion.  

I went to the Fashion and Textiles: Eden to Edo lecture and enjoyed it thoroughly.  I strongly recommend if you are interested in history, art or fashion in any combination, or if you have an interest in the evolution of human history and personal politics (and then how that is conveyed through dress).  I left on the pure high that is feeling your brain fully light up, and it is not an exaggeration to say that I could have easily listened to another hour.  Meanwhile, I could barely hack 20 minutes in a law lecture without losing focus.  WHY, MRS LEE, WHY. 

Friends of Te Papa is hosting another four lectures over the coming months, so run do not walk and book your tickets if you are in Wellington or nearby.  I will definitely be going to the one about Macaroni men (look at him below!), and the one on the late, fabulous Schiap.  Come and sit with me so we can debrief on everything we learned over coffee afterward!

But what if you aren't in Wellington?  Sorry my buds, no fabulous lecture series for you, but there are other fascinating sources of fashion history for the taking via the internet.  Some of my repeat favourites include:

New Zealand Fashion Museum

An extraordinary online resource, NZFM says "The New Zealand Fashion Museum is for anyone with a love of fashion, heritage, innovation and creativity. With no fixed abode other than this online address, it is a museum dedicated to the curation of New Zealand’s rich fashion past, making it relevant for the present and future." 

NZ On Screen

Please enjoy this video of the 1986 Benson and Hedges Fashion Design Awards.  There's 181 results when you search for "fashion"!

Dressed: The History of Fashion

A great podcast presented by two American fashion historians.  Great to play while you are pootling about.  Recent episodes about fashion and politics and the role of fashion in the French Revolution were particularly A+. 

Sometimes I like to just click "view all exhibits" at the Costume Institute's online collection.  There's over 34,000 items so should keep you occupied for a minute. 

Where do you get your fashion inspo (including books - tell me what wonderful books to buy!) and education?