CMU alumna, Dyese Matthews to speak on liberation through fashion


Photo Caption: CMU students fill the French Auditorium to see comedian Emil Wakim, Thursday, April 28, 2022. 

Students and staff are welcome to hear former Central Michigan University student, Dyese Matthews speak on Black history, culture and empowerment through fashion. The presentation will be from 7 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 8 in the French Auditorium. 

“I think it's important that people understand that, especially individuals who are perhaps not part of the movement, that clothes do have a meaning, it's more than just body coverage,” Chairperson of Fashion, Interior Design and Merchandising Tanya Domina said. 

“There's been many periods throughout history when African Americans have been unable to express their identity either through fashion or other forms of adornment,” she said. “And so by being able to do so, it's liberating. It allows individuals to express their identity. It can also, in some cases, connect them with a movement.” 

Keynote Speaker Dyese Matthews is a Ph.D. candidate in Apparel Design at Cornell University. She attended CMU for her bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising and Design in 2018 and earned her master’s in Apparel Merchandising and Design from Iowa State University in 2020, according to CMU’s website

Matthews' many manuscripts and exhibitions focus on topics including dressed embodiment, identity, expression and self-definition with an emphasis on Black identity and fashion, CMU’s website said.

As a component of her Master’s thesis, “The Black Woman Student Experience: Black Identity, Activism and Fashion on the College Campus,” Matthews published a museum exhibition, “Collegiate Fashion and Activism: Black Women’s Styles on the College Campus” stated on Cornell Fashion and Textile Collection’s Facebook page

“Even at CMU, it's possible to create a community,“ Domina said. “I believe that sometimes the students of color, because there's such a small number of them at CMU, feel that it's difficult. I think she's (Matthews) is also going to focus on developing that and how you can develop a community here at CMU,” Domina said.