Wall Photography

In addition to lending garments for the exhibition, the Black women also provided images, which were displayed throughout the exhibition in large-scale prints. These 48 by 36 inch images were hung throughout the gallery in response to the ways that large paintings of white men fill the halls of many universities buildings.


“This picture was taken last year [2018] at my apartment. It shows my identity by my hair. My hair is my pride and joy, but my hair is also a statement piece. It’s very bold and out there and I feel like that is what the black identity and the black culture is—it’s bold. People notice you, you cant ignore it. I feel like this whole outfit shows that in one piece, from the earring to the hair to the shoes and the pants. It’s a lot of items that not a lot of people would put together, puts its different and it goes together. That is what the black culture is—it’s a lot of things that not a lot of people would out together, but it goes together in multiple ways that you wouldn’t think of.” -Truth [2018; photo courtesy of Truth. © All Rights Reserved]
“For me it’s important. Growing up my parents always told me to remember your roots because they ground you later like a tree has to have roots to be able to stand tall while it grows. I always remember to connect to what I was taught growing up, my beliefs, my family is always very important to me. So finding clothes that allow me to connect to people, like my great grandparents that I never got to meet but to have pieces that come from where they came from is almost like I get to experience that myself or that gets to be a part of me when I am wearing it. That is something I look for with that clothing.” -Bianca [c. 2010s; photo courtesy of Bianca. © All Rights Reserved]
“I was in Portland for a conference in 2019 [on race and ethnicity].” -Oni [2019; photo courtesy of Oni. © All Rights Reserved]
“Faux locks. Those beads in my hair are the Pan-African colors, and my baby hairs, and my big hoop earrings. Big hoops are a big thing for Black girls. My baby hairs are laid, swooped—baby hairs are important to black girls too.” -Princess [c. 2010s; photo courtesy of Princess. © All Rights Reserved]
“This was made by a Black designer on campus and she had me a part of her photoshoot and she is African. So it was definitely African elements to it. I am wearing a wig. I thought that was definitely a part of Black woman because it was made by a Black woman. Denim is in the picture. I think denim is a huge thing in Black styles because the first activist women to wear denim wore denim for a reason. You didn’t see denim on middle class Black people because they didn’t want to be associated with a poor fabric like denim. When Black women started wearing denim it really changed everything for a lot of people. These Black women with this giant hair and these giant attitudes are wearing denim, and no one wears denim unless you are poor and work on the farms.” -Destiny [c. 2010s; photo courtesy of Destiny]
“This was last winter [2018], I was helping a friend with a project. She was in photography class and this was for her senior project where it was how do people express themselves through fashion and comfortability. So I went into it with my basic look. I had on my Black Lives Matter jacket, a grungy outfit under, my Doc Martens, my hoops, my box braids. I wanted to embody my Blackness in this photo.” -Brea [2018; photo courtesy of Brea. © All Rights Reserved]
“That was 2017 in the Fall semester. It was taken on the side of the school in a sit-down area. This goes back to what I was saying about the head wraps being a reflection of my Black identity. Now that I look at it, that did not go together at all. But just me wearing the head wrap in general is a style that we have in terms of Black women. So that is how I reflect it, this is just a style that we identify with.” -Aja [2017; photo courtesy of Aja. © All Rights Reserved]
“This was this year in my dorm. I wanted to put on a head wrap because I didn’t want to do my hair, it was already in twists. So I put it up and that is definitely something that I’ve said is very black to me. So I was like Im gonna do it and I also put some make up on because I love make up. Its something I really enjoy because you are able to express yourself through putting things on your face. I find it therapeutic. There are Black women in the business who got me into liking this.” -Brea [2019; photo courtesy of Brea. © All Rights Reserved]


“This was taken 2019 in Colorado after I was in an upsetting racial conversation and I was very frustrated. So I decided to leave and go on a sunset walk. So this is me being happy on my sunset walk. And again, this is a thrifted outfit and, how it expresses my identity? I guess it is very playful and approachable.” -Marie [2019; photo courtesy of Marie. © All Rights Reserved]


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Collegiate Fashion and Activism: Black Women’s Styles on the College Campus Copyright © 2019 by Dyese Matthews and Kelly L. Reddy-Best is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.