- By The Museum at FIT
- In Expedition Research Fashion History Objects Publication
- Tagged with anoraks Antarctica Arctic footwear Bard Graduate Center Capitol of Canada Clarence Birdseye Expedition: Fashion from the Extreme Explorers Club Hudson’s Bay Company Indian Slipper Co. Inuit National Maritime Museum parkas polar explorer Royal Geographical Society Sarah Pickman Scott Polar Research Institute sealskin boots University of Cambridge vintage clothing Walter Haythornthwaite Wilfred Grenfell
- On 1 Nov | '2017
Sarah Pickman is a Ph.D. candidate at Yale University studying the history of science and medicine. She contributed the essay “Dress, Image, and Cultural Encounter in the Heroic Age of Polar Exploration” to the book, Expedition: Fashion from the Extreme.
When you’re a graduate student, one of the questions you’re asked most frequently (besides “What are you going to do with that degree?” and “When are you going to finish?”) is, “How did you get interested in that?” In my case, my interest in polar exploration and clothing started with a single pair of boots.
I’ve always been interested in fashion history. I love browsing vintage clothing sales and thrift stores. About seven years ago, I purchased a pair of mid-century sealskin boots at a vintage fair in New York. They intrigued me because, while I knew little about traditional Inuit clothing at the time, the shape and material of the boots seemed to evoke native Arctic footwear, while the laces, short shaft, and rubber soles pointed to shoes made for a mainstream Western market. The boots were a kind of fashion hybrid. I put them in my closet, planning to wear them when the weather was cold enough.(more…)