Fashioning Identities: Ethnic Wedding Dress in New York

Detail photo of the Bhutanese Nepali daura suruwal and handmade dhupi ko mala (wedding garland) in the exhibit.

Exhibit:  November 18, 2018 – June 9, 2019


Fashioning Identities: Ethnic Wedding Dress in New York explores the role of traditional ethnic wedding dress worn within New York State’s diverse cultural landscape: how it is followed, adapted, or re-interpreted.

Ethnic wedding dress refers to the traditional clothing and adornment worn during a wedding ceremony that expresses ethnic identity. In contrast with everyday wear, a wedding ensemble communicates and emphasizes special meaning connected specifically to the ceremony.

Through the lens of clothing, Fashioning Identities highlights the intersection of tradition and innovation, the past and present, the individual and communal through examples of wedding ensembles, items of adornment, and photographs of wedding traditions from Bhutanese Nepali, Filipino, Chinese, Thai, Oaxacan, and Arabic communities in New York. 

Fashioning Identities is a multiyear project made possible through CityLore, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the Coby Foundation, and in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.