CIAD Biennial Dress Conference: Fibres Threads and Fabrics - Textiles and Cloth as Material Culture
On 28 October 2022 London College of Fashion, UAL hosted the Costume Institute of the African Diaspora’s (CIAD) Biennial Dress Conference: Fibres, Threads and Fabrics – Textiles and Cloth as Material Culture. CIAD is an independent organisation that develops research into the history, culture, socio-political aspects and cross-cultural influences within the field of clothing, fashion, and adornment from global communities with African heritage. The conference was generously supported by LCF Global and LCF Research Office. The main conference image was a photo-realistic illustration, kindly donated by Bahamian artist K. Smith entitled Miss Emily's Eleven String set against an image of cloth from the Seychelles Craft Village.
CIAD’s second dress conference, focused on the creation, representations and significance attributed to fabric and textiles and how those aspects of the social reality of people of African heritage determined their feelings towards and relationship with cloth. The event, which was postponed due to the pandemic was presented in association with Fashion Academics Creating Equality (FACE) and rounded up Black History Month celebrations for UAL.
Researchers from the USA, Brazil, Botswana, Wales, the Bahamas and England presented a range of incredibly diverse papers on Panos da Costa in Brazilian Candomblé, the bead work of the Mojamboro apron, a comparative analysis of the themes included in Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust and Beyonce’s Lemonade and current research being undertaken into translations and understanding of Madras fabric.
The keynote speaker was Pamela Burnside, President of the Creative Nassau cultural organisation in the Bahamas who secured membership for the City of Nassau to be designated as a City of Crafts and Folk Art in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. She presented on the long and dynamic history of textile development through straw plaiting in the Bahamas and future exchange programmes with CIAD.
Led by Teleica Kirkland, Creative Director of CIAD and Lecturer in Cultural and Historical Studies at LCF, the conference provided a rare but inviting environment where researchers who engage in African Diaspora fashion and textiles research were able to come together and share their work.
Apart from the incredibly engaging presentations, there was also a screening of the documentary Wax Print (2018) which is an independent film made by film maker Aiwan Obinyan about the history, development, commerce, and identity of the fabric ubiquitously known as African Wax Print.
A huge thank you to all the delegates, researchers, and contributors to this conference.