Fashion as memory

Research behind the museum’s exhibition on Brent’s multiracial history was shared with dress historians from around the world at a conference last month

Warren Reilly presenting at a conference.
Warren presenting at the Dress Historians Conference, April 2023.

It was amazing to share my love of fashion and history with people all over the world

Warren Reilly, Associate Creative Director

It was a “full circle moment” when The Mixed Museum’s Associate Creative Director spoke on the topic of ‘fashion as memory’ at the Association of Dress Historians Annual New Research Conference last month.

Warren Reilly was at Manchester Metropolitan University to share material from By The Cut of Their Cloth, the exhibition he co-curated for the museum, based on research he carried out while studying at the university.

“It felt like a fantastic full circle moment to be back at my former university presenting my research for the exhibition, which was inspired by my dissertation, Pageboys to Protégés,” he said. “It was amazing to be able to share my love of fashion and history with people all over the world, from Australia to Brazil.”

Warren Reilly wearing a beautiful black and white dress posing with a friend in a university lecture theatre.
Warren and his friend Amanda at the Dress Historians Conference.

A warm reception

Warren's talk - in which he shared his mother's memories of being a bridesmaid as well as how fashion can provide insights into marginalised histories - was warmly received by members of the audience, both those attending in person and remotely around the world. 

Warren Reilly standing in front of a presentation comparing a mixed race woman in a 1980s' bridesmaid's dress to Scarlett O'Hara's dress in Gone With the Wind.

Warren, your research is truly inspiring! I was captivated by the way you were able to draw on your family's photographic archive to uncover both visual and historical connections.

Virtual attendee, Dress Historians Conference

About the event

The Dress Historians conference is an annual event celebrating new scholars and new scholarship in the fields of dress and textile history. This year, it explored untold stories, interpretation, making and haptic investigation, with contributions from established and emerging scholars.

Many thanks to the Pasold Research Fund for making Warren’s in-person attendance at the ADH conference possible.

Graphic of the Association of Dress Historian's annual conference 2023