For the latest episode of The Way We Dress, Barbara Anastacio captures a study of four women—a flight attendant, a park ranger, a policewoman, and a nun—and how each of their daily uniforms shapes their sense of identity. Here, the New York-based director explains the inspiration behind her film:
“I was always drawn to the idea of uniforms, even more so after working in the fashion industry. Though I’m all for expressing yourself through style, the idea of developing some kind of uniform always appealed to me—a self-imposed outfit that would transcend any style or trend and save a lot of time every morning."
“I was curious to see how these women negotiate their identities through their uniforms. I wanted it to explore some of the more clichéd examples—the policewoman, the flight attendant, the nun. Access to these kinds of people was very limited, as there’s quite a complicated process of authorization to go through."
“The first woman that really inspired me for this project was Betty Reid Soskin. She’s a park ranger at the Rosie The Riveter Museum in Richmond, California. She lived through the civil rights movement, at a time when wearing a uniform as a black person and a woman was inconceivable. Now at age 94 she wears her uniform proudly, with elegance and style. She owns it."
“I could see in each of these women the importance of the uniform in their process of becoming who they are each day, be it more feminine (the flight attendant), more legitimized (the park ranger) or just more liberated (the nun). Overall, I was surprised by the general view of the uniform as this liberating tool.”