Based in the UK, the Costume Institute of the African Diaspora (CIAD) is devoted to the study of those rich, diverse, and colorful cultures that resulted from the migration–voluntary or otherwise–of natives of African countries. The national costume and traditional dress of these places–Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica, and so many others–is at once sharply defined and easily confused, distinctly of its own nation but comprising elements taken from British, Dutch, West African dress practices. The scholars that write for the site, led by Founder and Director Teleica Kirkland, keep the reader informed through thoughtful articles with a personal bent, as well as news articles, suggested reading, engaging photography, and other materials.
It is a space for research, resources, and reconnecting, both with one’s own heritage and with other scholars of diaspora, colonialism, dress history, and more (this might sound familiar to WT readers?). Sign up for their newsletter; the updates are not frequent, but I hope it picks up soon–this website could be an unparalleled resource for such a broad, yet specific and complex, subject matter.
Do you get the CIAD newsletter, or frequent their website? Share other websites you admire that celebrate a certain diaspora! Which cultures do you think need more representation in dress research? Do you think websites are effective tools for spreading knowledge and understanding about dress cultures?
Leave your comments below!