In episode 194, Kestrel welcomes Shahidha Bari, author of Dressed: A Philosophy Of Clothes, to the show. A Professor of Fashion Cultures and Histories at the London College of Fashion and a fellow of the Forum for European Philosophy at London School of Economics, Shahidha is dedicated to contributing a discourse around fashion to the philosophy field.

“I feel like there has to be some sort of intellectual, cultural shift about the way that we regard our clothes— the forms of attention we give them — not just in how we buy, but how we think about them as artifacts: artifacts that have passed through many hands before they come to our own and artifacts that are expressive of our humanity.”
-Shahidha Bari, Author of Dressed: A Philosophy Of Clothes

On this week’s show, Shahidha shares more on her background and how her unique experiences with dressing throughout her childhood along with her synesthesia have influenced the work that she does today.

While Shahidha was writing her book, Dressed: A Philosophy of Clothes, the Rana Plaza disaster happened. According to her, this garment factory tragedy impacted the book was was writing. For Shahidha, she believes there must be some sort of cultural shift in the way that we regard our garments, and that they warrant dignity as well.

The below thoughts, ideas + organizations were brought up in this chat:

  • Synesthesia: when your sensory faculties can get muddled up — Shahidha has a unique way in which her perceptual factors and memories work where she often associates people and words with color and texture

  • “So I lived in a world where the way you existed and moved through the world was shaped by your clothes.”

  • Phenomenology: recording or thinking about the feeling of things, the feeling of existence

  • “I think the quintessential experience of womanhood is the failure to be a woman, which is why I’m so interested in the experience of trans women too.”

  • “There’s a kind of dignity that I wanted to give our clothes — I think that the people who make our clothes very often make it in such unhappy circumstances, that they warrant dignity too, and us being able to give our clothes dignity is one way that we start to recognize the kind of dignity we need to extend to the people who make our clothes too.”

  • “I think there’s a lot to be said for being comfortable right now.”

  • Buy Shahidha's book Dressed: A Philosophy Of Clothes here >

This week's episode is brought to you by Fair Trade USA. Each year, Fair Trade USA honors the people who made our clothes and advocates for safer and more sustainable practices in its 'We Wear Fair Trade' campaign.

Visit https://www.fairtradecertified.org/we-wear-fair-trade to learn about the fair trade difference in fashion and to meet this year's featured activists.