The Seneca Canadian Fashion Diversity Project (SCFDP) is a multimedia resource for education about (as well as celebration of) fashion diversity. Hosted on a website supported by the Seneca Library, the SCFDP focuses on fashion diversity research, garnered through object-based methodologies centered on garments from the Seneca Fashion Resource Centre collection (SFRC). This research will explore and expand on the SFRC collection, utilizing the lens of diversity to examine where alternative histories can be traced within existing garments from the collection, as well as look for gaps that need to be filled. These include people of colour, our First Nations History, LGBTQ+, and those living with a disability. Canada has an incredibly diverse population; this is not reflected in traditional fashion historical narratives. The SCFDP works to rectify this.
Canadian artist Gordon Shadrach gave the inaugural lecture for the SCFDP on March 28, 2022, to students from the Fashion Studies (FST) Fashion Arts (FAA), Fashion Business (FAB), and Fashion Business Management (FBM) programs of the Seneca School of Fashion.
In his inspiring and provocative talk, Shadrach covered topics such as the cultural meanings of specific garments like the hoodie and uniforms, as well as the semiotics of dress as they relate to the representation and perceptions of Black men. He also talked about his recent series of paintings that explore the history of Black loyalists in Canada.
The Seneca Canadian Fashion Diversity Project is made possible by a grant to fund the student researchers, as well as institutional support for Dr. Mark Joseph O’Connell.
The Seneca Canadian Fashion Diversity Project research team members are: Olivia Belande, Mara Buda, Anna Ludmirsky, Dr. Mark Joseph O’Connell and Rose de Paulsen.
Olivia Belande is a twenty-two year old fashion student currently residing in Toronto with her cat. She has a deep interest in vintage garments (particularly those from the 40s through 60s), and the people who wore them. She uses writing as a tool to explore her own blackness through fashion history, and to help make much needed space in the fashion community for other BIPOC and Queer folks like herself. She is also usually overdressed for most events.
Mara Buda is a Fashion Arts student at Seneca College going into their third year. After many years of searching for her true passion, she found joy in creating garments in small scale for dolls, where she got to play around with the idea of gender fluidity and has experimented with historical fashion recreation. The intersectionality between being a neurodivergent, fat, queer and gender-nonconforming (nonbinary) immigrant has led them to find empowerment within these communities. Their goal for the future is to do their best to uplift marginalized voices through the lens of inclusive but also fun and whimsical fashion.
Anna Ludmirsky is a twenty-one-year-old queer, Jewish, First Generation Canadian born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. Anna is the founder and former president of the Women Empowerment club of her high school and is currently studying in her second term of the Fashion Arts program at Seneca College with a strong passion for fashion history and design. Alongside her alternative fashion, you can find her taking a pair of scissors to most of her garments to make them more unique. As a plus-size queer woman, in the future she hopes to design garments for those who wish to express themselves through their clothes no matter the size/shape.
Dr. Mark Joseph O’Connell is a professor of fashion studies at Seneca College. His research focuses on globalization and social justice in fashion. His articles have been published in Fashion Theory; Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture; Fashion, Style & Popular Culture; Queer Studies in Media & Popular Culture and Fashion Studies. In addition to his academic work Mark is also an artist and writer, and prior to teaching worked as a designer both in-house at M.A.C Cosmetics and for his own clothing line Modular Menswear.
Rose de Paulsen is a second year Fashion Arts Student at Seneca College with an interest in costuming and performance wear. She attended York University’s Theatre Production Program where she found a love of creating costumes and garments, as well as celebrating Queer and BIPOC identities through performance arts. She now aims to shine a light on the marginalized voices of fashion history and further fashion into accessibility and inclusion.
Published SCFDP Articles:
Bübl x David Dixon: Fashion for a Greater Purpose
Zoran Dobric: Kohaze & Cross-Cultural Collaboration
Bonnets Get a Bad Wrap
Textiles Abroad! Seneca Students Learn of Andean Culture
Gordon Shadrach Lecture for the Seneca School of Fashion
POC Canadian Women Leading the Future of Fashion Magazines
Ribbon Skirts: Resilience with Every Ribbon
All Eyes on Alfred: A Look Back at Canada’s King of Fashion
Alex S. Yu: Made with Dream and Love
Round of Applause for Our Kings – Appreciation Post for Canadian Drag Kings!
The Cry for True Androgyny: Navigating Genderless Fashion in a Binary Industry
Anita Clarke, “Engineering Storyteller” of the Online Fashion World
Edith Strauss – From Schmatte to Riches, The Woman Who Left a Legacy within the Fashion Industry
Making What Others Say is a Flaw, into a Success Story – Winnie Harlow
Rebecca Belmore, Art as a Call to Action
Breaking Barriers, Forging Pathways: Yasmin Warsame
Marie Marguerite Rose: A Story of Early-Colonial French Chic and Emancipation…