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Costume Institute of the African Diaspora

Clothing and textiles are often deeply integral to a people's culture and history. For those who are living geographically apart from their ancestral culture, clothing can also offer a way to develop or maintain a connection with their cultural heritage and history. The Costume Institute of the African Diaspora (CIAD) is an organization "dedicated to researching the history and culture of clothing and adornment from the African Diaspora and using that research to produce outcomes such as projects and lectures in order to educate the public about dress cultures developed by people of African heritage." Visitors to CIAD's website can begin by exploring the organization's projects, such as an exhibition about how tartan fabric and patterns traveled among cultures in Africa and the African diaspora. CIAD also created a 35-minute documentary accompanying this exhibition, which is available under Resources, along with several other videos and a bibliography of books about African textiles and fashion. Readers may additionally enjoy CIAD's blog, which offers critical commentary on "the representation and the aesthetics of the black body within the cultural landscape of fashion." Based in London, CIAD was founded in 2011 by its Creative Director and Principal Researcher Teleica Kirkland, who is also an associate lecturer at the London College of Fashion.
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