Vanessa Apira

Research Associate

Love and understanding for textiles came to me by way of my Ugandan family’s emphasis on personal style. I was implicitly taught that colors, textures, and patterns had power and held encoded messages that could influence the lives of their subjects. Textiles were not objects to be owned but entities of their own to be studied, carefully selected, and maintained. This became all the more real to me as I developed a skin sensitivity that resulted in me surpassing my older sister by getting my own room. No longer able to share clothes and mindlessly dress, I became more aware of how textile production and sourcing could intimately ease and disrupt my life. It was not until I was in college and away from the familiar sources of adornment and like-minded views of personal style that I understood how much my cultural textile view affected my life. This led me to classes that traced the migration of African textiles, dress patterns, and meaning/world-making through adornment.