How old are you?
I’m a ‘mature’ student.
Can you tell us about your background?
I was born in the California Bay Area and have my BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz. For the past thirteen years, prior to moving to London to join this program in September of 2013, I lived in the Los Angeles area. I have my undergraduate degree in psychology and have also studied fashion design, history and textiles in the LA area for several years. I have worked in various industries in Los Angeles but notably as an onset wardrobe assistant, and most recently as a vinyl records and vintage clothing dealer.
What drew you to fashion?
I have always been fascinated by clothing and accessories as symbols of femininity and historic pieces of the past. I succinctly remember my first purse from when I was five years old – a red little handbag from the 1970s. This was my first access to femininity and struck a strong chord and stayed with me. When I was in junior high school, it was my mother’s colorful 1970s’ Mexican ponchos that sparked a similar interest. I believe that was what drew me to begin collecting vintage clothing in high school. At 19, I discovered the mod scene and from that point on, I took an active interest in 1960s’ fashion, film, music and culture.
Why did you join this MA?
I was drawn to this course because it was the only course of its kind in the world, and being that London is at the forefront of fashion theory and design, it was the perfect city to be in. I also wanted to be able to explore the theoretical underpinnings of fashion theory and, of course, cement my understanding of fashion history.
What extra-curricular activities have you been involved with?
I have been a vinyl collector and DJ for nearly fourteen years using the pseudonym Leenda Karina. I have DJed throughout London and in Glasgow as well. Most recently, through the University of the Arts London, I have been chosen to DJ at the Sixties Snapshot event, inspired by Dennis Hopper’s photographs at the Royal Academy of Arts on 11 October of this year. I am extremely interested in the harmony between music and fashion, specifically in historical garments and vinyl records that together tell a story.
Where do you hope to be in two years from now?
I hope to be working in a museum, with their historic fashion collection, either in a curatorial or archival capacity. I would also like to be working on a book about the Yé-yé movement and/or 1960s’ 45 RPM picture sleeves.