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The account injecting diversity into Instagram’s nostalgia-fest

Meet the girl behind @rewindbeauties, @dazedfashion’s Instagram account of the week

Among the endless Instagram accounts paying homage to the heady days of the 1970s – and a sea of girls with Farrah Fawcett-locks, in denim hot pants and floral, ruffled-sleeve blouses – lives @rewindbeauties, an account with a unique point of view.

Started by Mica, a London-based creative writer and curator – who was frustrated at the lack of representation of people of colour on the aforementioned 70s accounts – @rewindbeauties is on a mission to better represent the era, while sharing thoughts on intersectionality. Growing up, Mica found herself fascinated by the photographers, counterculture and political movements of the 70s, along with old-school Volkswagens and a pair of platform shoes (or two) – all of which feature on her account. Expect archive clothing adverts, vintage cars, nostalgic interiors, images of musicians, poignant political press imagery and riotous moments from history aplenty.

Highlights include images of protesters at a “Feminists Against Racism” rally in Tallahassee, Florida in 1977, feminist graffiti on a 1979 Fiat advertisement in London, and work by Jamaican photographers Neil Kenlock and Rose Murray that sit among a host of other politically-charged images that document global history. Here, Mica tells us more about her account.

How would you describe your account?

@rewindbeauties: As an archive of beautiful people, places and things. There are many layers to it, but to put it simply I’d say ‘intersectional nostalgia’.

What made you start @rewindbeauties?

@rewindbeauties: I was frustrated at the lack of representation on accounts that focused on the 60s and 70s. I think the fashion and movements are fascinating, but not everyone was blonde or from the US, so I began to explore imagery that noted black people and communities of colour. I’ve always collected images; as a child I’d make collages by cutting things out from magazines and leaflets. As I got older, I began to do more research and use old photos for art inspiration. It wasn’t just the subject that interested me, but the photographers and the politics, the counterculture and the revolutionary movements of the era too. So I combined my new found photographs amongst platform shoes, Volkswagens and images of Woodstock, and began posting under @rewindbeauties.

What’s your main mission?

@rewindbeauties: To share relatable imagery and have a platform for women to see fabulous clothes, learn about the baddest babes and exchange ideas. The aim is to make intersectionality mainstream. The term was coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989, noting how our experience of oppression differed – even intensified – when we take into account the overlapping layers of our identity: gender and race, as well as class and sexual orientation. I don’t think it’s something people should be in awe of. I have never been a woman without being black, so I find the concept fairly simple.

What’s the criteria for a @rewindbeauties post?

@rewindbeauties: I try to make sure the images are good quality and not something I’ve seen often. I also have an obvious rule – no fascists or bigots, no matter how much of a babe they look. Relevant is also great – even if the image is from 1966, if it can relate to current affairs then it’s a keeper!

“I also have an obvious rule – no fascists or bigots, no matter how much of a babe they look” – @rewindbeauties

You’re starting a shop soon...

@rewindbeauties: I’ve been sourcing stock for Rewind Beauties for nearly a year and I’ll be selling vintage clothes and reworked pieces I’ve embroidered amongst other things. I’ve also had the opportunity to connect with photographers and artists, so I’m looking forward to collaborating with them. I’d also like women and girls from across the world to be able to sell their artwork to an audience in the same headspace.

What do your references reveal about you?

@rewindbeauties: Probably that I like colour and fashion, and I know representation is important. I’m sure it reveals that I am very political – images are a form of activism, too.

Who are your favourite artists?

@rewindbeauties: Guan Milan was a game-changer and I find Fauvism fascinating. Jurell Cayetano and Chris Ofili are so different, but they both use colour like magic! Judith Baca is also an activist, she has a lovely eye – her work is so important. But Frida Kahlo hands down is The Babe. My GCSE art teacher showed me her work and I’ve been obsessed with her symbolism and fearlessness ever since.

And photographers?

@rewindbeauties: So many! Graciela Iturbide, Danny Lyon and Jamel Shabazz. I love Jack Garofalo, Jennie Baptiste and Malick Sidibé. I think Gordon Parks has a phenomenal way of telling stories.

Who do you count as the most inspiring women?

@rewindbeauties: Susan Sontag was a great writer and activist – her essays in 1966, “Against Interpretation”, were ahead of her time. Angela Davis because she is non-stop. I grew up hearing stories about her, and last year I attended a talk of hers at the Southbank Centre. She had the whole audience absorbed. Pam Grier – I loved her style and the roles she played in film. Grier is the main reason I became so interested in Blaxploitation. Andre Lourde was an amazing activist! Her writing and poetry are a 10. She actually died the year I was born, but I've learnt so much from her words. One thing in particular that she noted was, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” Self care is so important for everyone, but I think it's a beautiful reminder to activists.

Has anything unexpected come from your account?

@rewindbeauties: Most definitely – so many stories and loads of amazing energy! Additional context has been given to images and I’ve connected with women around the world who understand the importance of intersectionality. We are learning and unlearning all the time. So much solidarity. From times when there’s been natural disasters as well as acts of terrorism to messages of support for the migrants in Calais. When my brother died, I had followers send truly beautiful messages. It’s still unbelievably hard, but people that I’d never met sharing their truth and sending support was unreal. I’m really grateful for that.

Who do you love to follow on Instagram?

@rewindbeauties: @4frontproject, @themakingsofmama, @the70z, @reclaimyourpower, @seventiees, and @thebazaarbohemian.