The Venn Frederic Fashion Library and Institute of Material Culture, Critical Thought and Aesthetics is an archive of installation artist and fashion historian and educator Desirée Venn Frederic.
Using fashion as constructions and reconstructions of identity for global people, The Venn Frederic Library revitalizes the contributions and survival tactics of Indigenous people through aesthetic in a world that repudiates their existence. Based in Washington, D.C., the library’s encyclopedic holdings is comprised of a comprehensive, impeccably edited collection of some 30,000 items ranging from museum quality, period garments, antiques, designer couture, homemade fashions, textiles, accessories, publications, advertisements, and ephemera from the 1800’s to the 1990’s.
The repository places the decorated melananted body as object as constitutive of historical narratives, be they devised by historical figures seeking to understand their past or in the form of modern narratives seeking to shape its present. Emptied of possibility, the melanated being- the colored body is left to dream its modernist dream of a future that never arrives. Fashion as survival, fashion as celebration, fashion as commonplace.
The Collection is accessible to students, scholars, and designers by appointment.
Studio internships available.