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Merienda Talk: Classism & Fashion

Start Date: May 22, 2024
End Date: May 22, 2024
From: 2:00 PM

Free Event -As part of our current exhibit “Desert Couture: Two Centuries of Fashion in the Southwest,” we will be hosting a Merienda Talk where we explore the intersection of fashion and class.

For centuries, fashion has been a way of visualizing identity, whether by choice or out of obligation. In the last two hundred years, industrialization and commercialization have done much to accelerate fashion cycles, with today’s algorithm-driven industry seeing fashion trends live and die within the span of a few days. During this conversation, we will explore some of the questions that complicate fashion, its history, and its present state. For example, is fashion inherently classist? Who has fashion been accessible to? How do fast fashion companies “democratize” fashion for some consumers at the expense of those who produce the garments? In what ways does fashion co-opt frequently marginalized subcultures (punk, grunge, streetwear, traditional Indigenous, etc.) and elevate them to elite spaces?

The conversation will be moderated by the El Paso Museum of History and will feature Dr. Andrea Severson Lopez (Assistant Professor, Doña Ana Community College) and Isabella Sevatiie (Fashion Stylist). We invite the public to bring their curiosity and questions to this participatory event.


Meet the speakers:

Dr. Andrea Severson

Dr. Andrea Severson Lopez is an assistant professor at DACC who specializes in American History, specifically the link between gender and material culture. Her dissertation “Unlaced: The Dress Reform Movement of the late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century” analyzed the link between dress and the expression of gender, class, and politics in American society at the turn of the twentieth century. She is also vice president of Enchantment Historical Productions, a non-profit organization that attempts to educate the public through performance history. 


Isabella Sevatiie

Isabella Sevatiie is a creative director and fashion stylist who pulls from the realms of urbex (urban exploring) and neon, intertwining them to create visually arresting compositions. Her work often embodies a sense of duality, capturing both the raw vulnerability and the electric vitality inherent to the human experience, specifically a queer “human” experience. Using fashion symbolism to convey ethereal, sci-fi-sac-religious-like sentiments, her styling consists of deconstructed aesthetics derived from the underground with experimental "chicness." In an era defined by constant flux and rapid change, Isabella believes that embracing moments of stillness becomes an act of rebellion, a means of transformation, and a way to reclaim self-agency in a world that often feels exclusive and chaotic.


“Desert Couture: Fashioning Two Centuries in the Southwest” highlights the El Paso Museum of History’s diverse collection of textiles, accessories, and garments, which span from the antebellum period up to the mid-late 20th century.


Merienda Talks are a free ongoing series at the El Paso Museum of History that explore current exhibits through informal conversation with experts. In Mexico, “merienda” is a time to share conversation with friends over a bite to eat. In the spirit of merienda, our talks bring the public and professionals together to discover exhibits through discussion.

Part of the El Paso Museums & Cultural Affairs Family.