On Tuesday March 26th, 2019, Dr. Enrica Picarelli presented her research to the first year MA Fashion Studies class in their Interpreting Fashion class. Picarelli is an independent researcher and received her PhD in 2010 in Cultural and Postcolonial Studies of the Anglophone world at the University of Naples in Italy. She created a blog in 2014 entitled ‘Afrosatorialism’ which, according to Dr. Picarelli, is a ‘research project on African fashion and street styles.’

Picarelli’s interest in African fashion came from a personal experience with an African designer, which sparked her interest of fashion in the region. She presented to the MA Fashion Studies class on ‘Africanism’ and the changing perspectives on African fashion. Her presentation looked at the emerging interest in the African fashion landscape and the role that it plays in the global arena of fashion. This interest in African fashion has expanded especially within the last decade. Throughout her presentation, Picarelli showed the class different examples of African fashion emerging in the global fashion narrative over the last few decades. Such examples included influential political figures and celebrities such as Michelle Obama and Beyonce wearing African designers such as Duro Olowu (Nigeria) and Rich Mnisi (South Africa).

Dr. Picarelli also outlined a historical context to the emergence and expansion of African fashion. A strong narrative that came through her presentation was how Africa is such a diverse and expansive continent where different fashion expands across 54 countries. Another important concept that Picarelli highlighted is the ‘mediatisation of African fashion’ looking at African fashion blogs and fashion films. To explore more about Dr. Enrica Picarelli’s work on African fashion, take a look at her Instagram and blog entitled “AFROSARTORIALISM.’

Her presentation was informative and inspirational, and it was a pleasure to have her teach the first year MA Fashion Studies class.

Written by Deandra Green

Photo courtesy of Dr. Enrica Picarelli