… and the continuing legacy of Native appropriations in American fashion.
By Emily McGoldrick (Independent Scholar, New York City)
Image 1: Nike’s “Pro Tattoo” collection of women’s exercise apparel, before its discontinuation.
When Nike unveiled their Pro Tattoo line of women’s workout gear this summer, a wave of protest followed. The small collection included a sports bra, exercise tights, and a bodysuit decorated with the intricate black line patterns of traditional Samoan pe’a tattoos [Image 1]. Nike launched the garments at the end of July, and quietly pulled them from shelves and online retailers three weeks later. The company issued an apology that stated, “The Nike Tattoo Tech collection was inspired by tattoo graphics. We apologize to anyone who views this design as insensitive to any specific culture. No offense was intended.”
On View September 27, 2013–February 2, 2014
At the Bard Graduate Center, New York, NY
Walter Mitschke for H. R. Mallinson & Co. Drawing for “Zuni Tribe,” ca. 1927. Pencil and gouache on paper. Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Gift of Robert and Joan Brancale, 2008.1950.35.
By Ann Marguerite Tartsinis, Curator of the Exhibition
An American Style: Global Sources for New York Textile and Fashion Design, 1915-1928 examines the efforts of the American Museum of Natural History to educate and inspire New York textile and fashion designers during and after World War I. This remarkable exhibition features rare textiles and garments ranging from a 1920’s hand-batiked caftan-style dress and mass-market hand-blocked silks to Native American and other indigenous dress. Never-before-seen photographs, objects, and design manuals will be on view.