Annemarie Strassel is a labor activist, communications strategist and cultural historian with expertise in fashion studies based in Detroit. She holds a PhD in American Studies from Yale University and has taught in the Department of Fashion Studies at Columbia College, Chicago, while acting as the Communications Director for UNITE HERE, the union of hospitality workers across North America.
As a McNeil Fellow in American Material Culture at Yale University, Strassel specialized in fashion studies, using clothing and design to explore new dimensions of cultural production, social experience, and political practice. She is currently working on her first book entitled Closet Revolution: Feminism in Fashion and the Making of American Style. She has presented her research nationwide, and an excerpt of her book project has been published in Women’s Studies Quarterly (Spring/Summer 2013).
In addition to her academic work, Strassel serves as the Director of Communications for UNITE HERE, a labor union representing 270,000 workers across North America. Building on more than 15 years of experience in the labor movement, she has spearheaded grassroots campaigns that have been crucial to achieving justice and greater visibility for women and people of color who struggle, often invisibly, in the hospitality industry. Her work is inspired by American fashion critic and labor organizer Elizabeth Hawes (1903-1971), pictured above, and all those who cut against the grain.