The Fashion Institute of Technology and The Textile Society of America present
Early Fashion and Textiles by the Nile, Euphrates and Tigris – A Conversation
Saturday, May 8, 2021, 3:00–4:00 pm EST
This virtual panel brings together scholars and practitioners who will discuss their studies of and encounters with ancient textiles, clothes, and fashion. We will explore practical textile and dress making techniques of the cultures along the Nile, Euphrates and Tigris rivers during the 3rd millennium BCE. What does archaeological and art historical evidence tell us about clothes, fashion, innovation, and raw materials from thousands of years ago? How was fashion used to express cultural, societal, and personal identities? Please join us in this fascinating panel co-hosted by the Fashion Institute of Technology and The Textile Society of America to find out how ancient fashion and clothes making techniques can influence the way we make, design, and wear textiles today.
It was as a curator at UCL’s Petrie Museum that Rosalind Janssen first developed her expertise in textiles, following the discovery of a series of early garments. This was followed by a lectureship in Egyptology at UCL’s Institute of Archaeology, and a subsequent lectureship in Education at the UCL Institute of Education. Rosalind is widely published within both Egyptology and Education, She is the author of the Shire Egyptology volume Egyptian Textiles.
Janet Johnstone is a clothing consultant specialising in the interpretation and construction of ancient Egyptian clothing.
Using experimental archaeology techniques she investigates how authentic ancient Egyptian clothing was worn and her reconstructions impart a real sense of how ancient Egyptian men, women and children looked and lived in the Pharaonic period. She works at Shephard Travis Textile Conservation Studio readying historic costume, textiles and tapestries for mounting, exhibition display and storage. Janet has worked in Egypt since 2014 with the Gurob Harem Palace Project, directed by Marine Yoyotte, on the post excavation Textile Project material directed by Jan Picton. By recording and analysing the wide range and large quantity of linen textiles used as burial cloth at Gurob, a number of reused garments including a near complete child’s tunic has shed light on life at the harem palace. Janet has published a number of articles on ancient Egyptian clothing and experimental textile archaeology as well as co-authoring a paper with Dr Geoffrey Tassie on Egyptian Baladi dance.
Janet is a committee member of the Friends of the Petrie Museum and a Director on the Board of the Egyptian Cultural Heritage Organisation (ECHO).
Elizabeth Clancy trained in costume design at the Yale School of Drama and has enjoyed a career designing premieres on Broadway (Passing Strange, A Christmas Story, The Goat, The Ride Down Mt. Morgan), Off-Bway (The Lady from Dubbuque, In the Blood, A Dybbuk, Waiting for Godot), and the leading regional theatres in the country. Her work has been seen internationally (A Few Good Men on London’s West End, Death of a Salesman at the Gate, Dublin, and The Glass Menagerie at Shanghai Dramatic Arts). She became fascinated by the art of the ancient Near East while teaching fashion history at FIT, especially intrigued by the depictions of textiles on the temple statues from the Third Millennium BCE. In recent years, Beth has had the opportunity to build her knowledge of the area, studying with Alexander Nagel at FIT and Zainab Bahrani and Sidney Babcock at Columbia. She has also benefited from the mentorship of Kyunghee Pyun at FIT, Amy Gansell at St. John’s University, and Agnete Lassen at Yale. She is currently studying Akkadian with Ronald Wallenfels at the Hebrew Judaic studies department at NYU. After taking part in the Columbia curatorial seminar for the upcoming Morgan Museum exhibition “She Who Wrote” she looks forward to aiding their education department in programming about the lives of Mesopotamian women. Beth has just begun an MA in art history at the Institute of Fine Arts. Using her instincts from theatre and skills as a weaver, her research often focuses on experimental reconstruction, utilizing the craft of textile production of the ancient world to try to unlock new understandings of the past.
Moderated by Jennifer Miyuki Babcock and Alexander Nagel