All fashion objects tell a story, and these stories can shed light on other issues, informing our understanding of the past. This September, we decided to start for the material hold in our archive and recover the stories of the people and communities behind the ideation, production, success or failure of those objects.
'Flower Basket' sandals by designer Andre Perugia, Courtesy Shoes or No Shoes, All Rights Reserved
Fashion speaks to the public about people, habits, styles, and history through a material and visual language. It has, over the centuries, been an extraordinary viewpoint on contemporary society, offering a rich platform of reflection on key issues, ranging from practices of production and consumption to the establishment of hierarchies and roles, and the construction of identities.
On the other hand, fashion is the result of a reflection, it is a design discipline that entails a process of thinking and making, and therefore is an exquisitely human activity. And also, a shared activity, to which contribute not only designers, but technicians, manufacturers, photographers, models and image-makers: this month we will try to recover the names of those actors who have shaped the history of fashion but are now almost forgotten.
'Henry' ensemble by Gina Fratini, 1973-75, Courtesy Victoria and Albert Museum, CC-BY
Fashion is an important part of our common cultural heritage. It permeates different spheres of our life, from economics to psychology, society and culture. It relates to the individual as well as to the society. Thanks to the objects hold in archives, and to the stories encapsulated in their materiality, we are able to reconstruct the biographies of these people, and give them the attention they deserve. This is how the archive becomes alive: it gets reactivated transforming a material memory into a story that can recovered, preserved and disseminated to the broad audience of the present.