March 11, 2020

Re:Framing Gender – York University’s First Fashion Exhibition

Curator’s Statement

Clothing has a powerful effect on our understanding of self, as well as how we interact with the wider world. It is a means of protection, identity formation, and social distinction. Our entire world, specifically within a fashion context, is ordered towards male/female binaries. But what of identities that sit beyond these constraints? What if you are also a person of colour? How does race factor into the equation? How is clothing used to reflect such intersectional identities? This exhibition explores such questions of sartorial self-framing. The participants featured in this exhibition share with you their own stories of navigating our binaried world. This dynamic is important as such voices have historically been edited or erased completely from many institutional narratives.

Archetypes of gender are represented in clothing loans from the York University Fashion Archive and the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario. These displays refer to the ways in which fashion has framed our perception of gender. While the exhibition focus is primarily on Western fashion, the ‘Wedding’ section offers a global perspective on how different cultures have stereotypically perceived gender. A small survey of special occasion clothing from India, Sri-Lanka, and China reflects the ethnicities of some participants.

Re:Framing Gender privileges an ethic of collaboration, both between the participants and the exhibition team, and the wider institution. The show was devised in collaboration with multiple faculties across York University, uniting the departments of Theatre, Film, Women & Gender Studies, Art History Graduate Studies, and the Art Gallery of York University.


Re:Framing Gender runs January 15 – April 17 2020 in The Joan Goldfarb Visual Arts Study Centre (CFA 275). To access the exhibition, take the elevator in the atrium of the Joan and Martin Goldfarb Centre for Fine Arts to the 2nd Floor, then turn left, the Study Centre is at the end of the hall.

CLICK HERE to see more of the exhibition

Gallery hours are Tuesday – Thursday, 12:30pm-4:30pm

For more information on this exhibition, and to view full interviews with the exhibition’s participants, visit the Re:Framing Gender website.

To book an exhibition tour, please contact