Diasporic Fashion - Weekend of Global Cultures - Research Center for Material Culture
9 December 2017

Diasporic Fashion

Weekend of Global Cultures | 9 Dec 2017 | Tropenmuseum

Diasporic Fashion was part of the Weekend of Global Cultures, an event that explored themes such as style, representation, gender and identity in relation to the fashioned self and community. What forms of belonging (e.g. racial belonging/queer/blackness or spatial belonging/urban marginalization) does Diasporic Fashion express and make possible?

Diasporic Fashion

Focusing on the work of fashion designer and thinker Grace Wales Bonner, we looked into the influences, forms of self representation, struggles and work that artists, designers and taste makers need to go through to showcase, or even fashion, other forms of culture making and design. Radical designer Grace Wales Bonner's work is rooted in academic histories and critical theories of the colonial portrayals of blackness as both the ‘other’, as regressive, and as brutish.  Bonner’s design and artistic work is critically acclaimed and rooted in activism, cinematic and cinematic and literary narratives from (queer) artists of colour.

Diasporic Fashion is part of a series of events that aim offer a framework for artists, fashion designers, students, writers and academics to rethink, (re-) interpret existing narratives of material culture (specifically textiles) within the collection of the Museum of World Cultures. This framework looks at the historicization of textiles, meaning of style and craftsmanship by inviting experts, academics and fashion designers to question notions of authenticity, appropriation and how it is interweaved in the collection and knowledge production at ethnographic museums. By highlighting the questions and objects surrounding fashion, representation, materiality and identity the museum aims to foster a relationship between audiences and makers and its collection.


  • Grace Wales Bonner
  • Majid Karrouch
  • Anoma Whittaker (moderator)

Grace Wales Bonner

Grace Wales Bonner graduated from Central St. Martins in 2014. She was awarded Emerging Menswear Designer at the British Fashion Awards in 2015, and the LVMH Young Designer Prize in 2016. Wales Bonner has presented at the Serpentine Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Informed by broad research that encompasses critical theory, composition, literature, and histori- cal sources, Wales Bonner explores a distinctive notion of luxury via a hybrid of European and African approaches. International stockists include Dover Street Market, Selfridges, 10 Corso Como, and Joyce. 

Photo credit: Kirsten van Santen