Teleica Kirkland; Fashion Historian and the founder of the Costume Institute of the African Diaspora. Furthermore, She is in a bid to preserve black history in a time where it’s being erased.
Clothing and Fashion in general, has been a vital part of cultural representation for people of African origin. Who can forget effortlessly stylish women wearing matching wax-print top and bottoms? Meanwhile, urban youth have used these same prints in new and exciting ways.
Clothing tells a story of how people live, work, and identify themselves. Such, excluding Africa and its diaspora from the conversation, undermines the cultural impact it has had. While that threatens the push for more robust historical documentation of African people, Kirkland is not backing down. It’s noteworthy that the rise of haute couture marked a period of newfound creativity and wealth in France. Isn’t it also worth knowing, for example, how fashion changed in various African countries? There has been a significant difference before and after the liberation movements of the 1960s.
This is where Teleica Kirkland’s efforts step in. In 2011, she was a professor at the London College of Fashion. While she was there, she founded the UK-based Costume Institute of the African Diaspora (CIAD). It was a “growing resource hub” for knowledge sharing around African clothing and dressing.”The whole idea behind it is to establish a discussion. How they have used dressing to define and identify themselves as they’ve been scattered across the world.” Kirkland Continues; “Whether it’s been through the middle passage, enslavement, or whatever economic or social movement.”
With clothing, Teleica Kirkland is hoping to answer a much larger question about global Black identities. “How have Africans taken their adornments, their clothing, their fashion, and used it to define and identify themselves wherever they may find themselves? “