Clothing Across Continents
November 13, 2013 - February 27, 2014
Clothing is an integral part of the human experience. What we choose to wear is a personal expression and often is a statement of social status, of economic reality, and in some places, a necessary practicality. A single piece of cloth can have the power to subvert or enhance social boundaries often associated with concepts of gender, religious difference, or as a marker of occupation. From a long-term perspective, clothing can define eras, as well as, create or confirm cultural identities.
On a global scale, the clothing industry is a mosaic of strategies directed toward fusing markets of fashion trends and human labor that involve large scale manufacture, transportation, communication, and technology. Yet on the scale of the individual, clothing becomes a transformative phenomenon, able to distinguish those special events from the day-to-day of human practices.
In practice, we use our clothes to adorn ourselves, for a time, but eventually our clothing can become cherished heirlooms, we may pass them down to our younger siblings, trade, sell, donate or toss them in the trash. Sometimes, because clothes are so representative of the human experience, we collect and display them in museums. Clothing, as a hallmark of our humanity, merges realms in fascinating ways that reveal the complexity and patterns of human creativity, expression and values.