The Team

Sarah Cheang

Sarah Cheang joined the RCA in September 2011. From 2005 to 2011, she was Senior Lecturer in Cultural and Historical Studies at London College of Fashion, where she established courses on fashion, race and the body. She has a special interest in the role of Chinese material culture within histories of Western fashionable dress and domestic interiors, a subject on which she has published widely and lectures frequently.  Her co-edited collection, Hair: Styling, Culture and Fashion (2008), and continued research and publishing on hair, fashion and identity have also led to contributions to magazines, exhibition catalogues, festivals, radio and television.

Since arriving at the RCA, she has led the AHRC Network Project Fashion and Translation: Britain, Japan, China Korea (2014–2015), as well as convening events on global design and cultural translation.

She recently co-edited a special edition of International Journal of Fashion Studies on East Asian fashion, and is preparing for publication a book entitled Sinophilia which is a new study of twentieth-century chinoiserie and fashion.

Sarah’s teaching interests reflect her passion for and commitment to the broadening of curricula to include the nuanced study of non-Western art and design, and embodied feminine responses to material culture, topics that have historically been considered outside of the canon. Issues of gender, race and ethnicity are often uppermost in her work.  She works actively to challenge the Eurocentricity of fashion studies though her teaching, writing and in association with the Non-Western Fashion Conference series, for which she is an advisor.

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Shayna Stephanie Goncalves

Shayna Goncalves works in the fashion and the creative industry doing business development, marketing, creative direction, syllabus design and teaching, gender equality research, and social equity activism.

As Head of Marketing for FILA RSA (Sep 2019 – Dec 2020), she led 2 nationwide window campaigns for Sportscene, pitched the company’s market value to key clients, directed seasonal shoots, and implemented marketing processes for photoshoots, influencer ceding and international sample tracking.

Before FILA, Shayna worked as Business Development Executive for SlikourOnLife and The Stylista where she signed the 2-year volunteer engagement contract with UNICEF South Africa and the Cape Town Fashion Week Winter 2019 contract with Africa Fashion International.

As the Creative Director for The Stylista, Shayna wrote and pitched the content strategy to The Foschini Group Rewards which remains The Stylista’s sole client to date.

Shayna holds an MA in Fashion Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Gender and Sexuality Studies from Parsons New School for Design. Her thesis looked at the miniskirt rape of Nwabisa Ngcukana to address the Intersectional experience of being female, black, and African. Her work deals with subjectivity, identity politics, and postcolonial theory.

In her classes, she has taught students to practice equal distribution of wealth, power and representation across all levels of a fashion business from supply chain to campaign. Shayna’s writing in academia and industry brings into fashion studies the works of rev. angel Kyodo williams, Lama Rod Owens, Pema Chodrón, Thich Nhat Hahh and John Mackey to intergrate conscious fashioning, spiritual teaching, healing, and universal love into her structural framework of activism.

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Erica De Greef

Erica De Greef is a South African-based, independent fashion curator, researcher and activist with a keen focus on the politics, power and poetics of contemporary African fashion. Her work looks to investigate the impact of the past on contemporary creativity and seeks out the possibilities for new, decolonial fashion futures. She is co-founding member of the African Fashion Research Institute [AFRI], together with fashion practitioner and thinker, Lesiba Mabitsela. They aim to offer both real and virtual spaces that engage with contemporary African fashion as archive, as discourse and as diverse ways of being. Erica led a robust and dynamic programme of exhibitions and research engaging with African fashion as the first Fashion Curator (2018-2019) at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art (MOCAA). Erica is a steering member of the Research Collective for Decolonizing Fashion. 

Recent Publications (selection)

  • Curating Fashion as Decolonial Practice: Ndwalane’s Mblaselo and a Politics of Remembering’ (2020) Fashion Theory, 24:6, 901-920
  • Did we say politics? When fashion and heritage are made to speak’ (2020) International Journal of Fashion Studies, 7:1
  • Ipopeng Ext. ‘Anthro 1’ with Thebe Magugu (2020). Johannesburg and London: Faculty Press and Commission Studio
  • Two Fashion Tales: Re-use as Memory Practice in South Africa.’ In (ed.) Solen Kipoz (2020) Slowness in Fashion, London: Dixi Books  
  • Three Pairs of Khaki Trousers, or How to Decolonise a Museum.’ In (ed.) Djurdja Bartlett (2019) Fashion and Politics, London: Yale University Press
  • Tracing the Quiet Cultural Activism: Laduma Ngxokolo and Black Coffee.’ In (eds.) Kerstin Pinther and Alexandra Weigand (2018) Flow of Forms|Forms of Flow: Design Histories between Africa and Europe, Munchen: Verlag Bieleveld

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M. Angela Jansen

Angela Jansen is an independent researcher, educator, consultant, curator and director of the Research Collective for Decoloniality & Fashion. She is the author of Moroccan Fashion: Design, Tradition and Modernity (London: Bloomsbury, 2014) and coeditor with Jennifer Craik of Modern Fashion Traditions: Negotiating Tradition and Modernity Through Fashion (London: Bloomsbury, 2016). She is also the guest co-editor with Toby Slade of the special issue of Fashion Theory on Decolonialityand Fashion (Vol 24(6) 2020).

Her scholarship grows out of an effort to underwrite an ongoing critique concerning Eurocentrism, contemporary fashion and false claims to universality. She argues that the way fashion, as a noun, is being defined according to a temporality (of contemporaneity), a system (of inequality) and an industry (of capitalism) particular to modernity, coloniality is inherent to its definition. Whereas fashion as a verb, the act of fashioning the body, is of all temporalities and geographies.

With her research, she aims to contribute to a decolonial fashion discourse that proposes a radical redefinition of fashion by delinking it from modernity—the very core of its constitution—and therefore from coloniality by redefining it as a multitude of possibilities—in and outside of modernity—rather than a normative framework falsely claiming universality. Decolonial fashion discourse critiques the discrimination, denial and erasure of a diversity of ways of fashioning the body due to unequal global power relations based on modern-colonial order, the Euro–American canon of normativity and the exploitation and abuse of culture, human life and Earth.

In 2012, she initiated the Research Collective for Decolonizing Fashion (RCDF), which has played a strong informative role in her scholarly development. As a virtual space beyond institutions, the RCDF experiments with other ways of knowledge-production in regard to fashion, through the communal, through listening to and acknowledging a diversity of voices across geography, age, race, gender and life experiences. Without any structural or external funding, but through collaborative projects with local partners equally committed to disrupting contemporary fashion discourse, the Collective initiates and contributes to a diversity of activities and projects.

In addition to publishing, lecturing, consulting, curating and running the RCDF, she has worked as strategic cultural policy advisor for the Municipality of Maastricht (2020-21) and cultural policy officer for the Dutch Embassy in Rabat (2006-2012). 

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Nana Sharif-Korsgaard

Based in the Netherlands, Nana is a recent graduate of the Design-Culture and Economics program with a fashion profile (BA) from the University of Southern Denmark (SDU). Her BA thesis focused on cultural appropriation within fashion. Being bi-racial and growing up in several countries, she has witnessed fashion’s diversity, and the ways in which Eurocentric power structures have left little to nothing for minorities and their cultural heritage. After seeing the effect of this within fashion studies, she has become an advocate for its decolonization. She continues her work towards an understanding of the power structures which have allowed for the continual exploitation of people of color as well as cultural appropriation through her blog, Cultural Miss Representation.

Since completing her education in Denmark, she has collaborated with the Canadian Fashion Scholars Network on developing teaching and learning resources on cultural appropriation for educators, curators, and professionals. She is a co-founder and contributor to The Critical Pulse Magazine and works as an international consultant in diversity and inclusivity.  

Mi Medrado

Mi is a Brazilian Anthropologist based in Los Angeles, CA. She teaches and conducts her doctoral research at the University of California, Los Angeles, examining the contemporary production and circulation of Media and the Fashion industry in the Global South. Such multi-sited research (U.S.A, Brazil, Angola) focus on Brazilian Telenovela costume design as material culture and its racial capitalism exchange. Medrado holds graduate certificates in Fashion Law, Fordham University, New York; and in Critical Theory, from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, EHESS, Paris (2017 and 2019). In Brazil, she is among the initiators of the Fashion and Decolonization: Global South Crossing working group, and has lectured in renowned Social Sciences and fashion schools. Mi presented her research at the Sorbonne Universitè, The City University New York, Brazilian Fashion Colloquium and

The Brazilian Studies Association (BRASA), among others conferences. Her most recent presentation was “How to examine the production and circulation of material goods in/of capitalism – through decolonial turn as methodological practice?”, at the Centro de Estudos sobre África e Desenvolvimento (CesA), Lisbon School of Economics and Management.As an engaged PhD Student, Medrado has contributed to events organization at the University of Oxford, San Diego State University, and on UCLA campus, where she has been involved in working groups, community activism and editorial teams. She was the editor-in-chief for The On Screen issue – Arts, Literature and Culture Magazine of Spanish and Portuguese. GSA Publications, UCLA (9) 2018. Mi is founder of the ModainConverstion, a fashion criticism project, and is writing articles on Brazilian telenovela costume design-ers history for the upcoming British Bloomsbury, Visual Arts Encyclopedia of Film and Television Costume Design. She is also writing an Afro-Brazilian fashion article for the International Journal of Fashion Studies (2023).

Publications (selection)

  • Moda como objeto de estudo em Luanda” (Fashion as study object in Luanda). In: Reflexões sobre e de Angola- inscrevendo saberes e pensamentos. Revista Tranversos, Laboratório de Estudo das Diferenças e Desigualdades Sociais. Rio de Janeiro State University.n. 15, Abril. 2019.
  • Sistema de Produção e Circulação Cultural: O figurino televisivo brasileiro em Luanda, Angola.” Paris, France. Iberic@l: Revue d’études ibériques et ibéro, Centre de Recherches Interdisciplinaires sur les Mondes Ibériques Contemporains, Sorbonne Université. Numéro 14 – Automne 2018.
  • Figuring Colonialism – Reflections on the Banana Social Use.”Salamanca, Spain. Revista Antropología del Cuerpo, Body Anthropology Magazine. Vol. 1 n. 0, Jul./Dec. 2015.

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Kat Sark

Kat Sark, PhD, teaches fashion studies in the Department of Design and Communications at the University of Southern Denmark. She specializes in cultural analysis, cultural history, media and gender studies, as well as fashion cultures. She is the founder of the Canadian Fashion Scholars Network, the co-founder of the Urban Chic book series, and the co-author of Montréal Chic: A Locational History of Montreal Fashion (2016), and Berliner Chic: A Locational History of Berlin Fashion (2011). Her dissertation, entitled Branding Berlin (2014), is a cultural analysis study of the urban, economic, political, and cultural transformation in post-Wall Berlin

and won the Best Dissertation Prize from the CAUTG. Her research on cities, gender, fashion, film, theatre and culture can be followed on her blog, Suites Culturelles.

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Toby Slade

Toby Slade is an Associate Professor at the University of Technology Sydney and an authority on Japanese fashion and popular culture. His current research focuses on the history, contemporary forms and changing meaning of luxury in Japan, revealing shifts in definitions of social value and patterns of consumption throughout history.  Toby worked for 16 years at the University of Tokyo and Bunka Gakeun University in Japan. He is the author of two books: Japanese Fashion: A Cultural History (Berg, 2009) was the first English-language book to explore the entire historical sweep of fashion and clothing in

Japan, with a particular emphasis on the modernity of Japanese clothing and its implications for contemporary theories of fashion. His second book, Introducing Japanese Popular Culture (Routledge, 2018), looks at fashion as a central component of popular culture. Toby is a founding member of the Research Collective for Decolonialising Fashion and a guest editor of a special issue of Fashion Theory (September 2020) that explores Fashion and Decoloniality.

Publications (selection)

  • Slade, T. Japanese Fashion: A Cultural History (Oxford: Berg Publishers, 2009)
  • Slade, T. and A. Freedman (eds) Introducing Japanese Popular Culture (London: Routledge, 2017).

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Ellye Van Grieken

Ellye Van Grieken is a second year History of Design (MA) Student at the Victoria and Albert Museum/Royal College of Art in London. She completed her undergraduate degree in Art History at the University of Sussex. Her MA research focuses on how identity is represented and constructed through dress and performance. Her current research examines the global phenomenon of trousers for women at the beginning of the 20th century. She is also interested in translating her research into an interactive medium that can render it more accessible to a wider audience. Her undergraduate research focused on the photographs of Seydou Keita and the issue of agency. 

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Thinking of joining the team? Get in touch