Among the great things Stephens School of Fashion has to offer is the Historic Costume Gallery and Museum. Each year they have elaborate exhibits, and this year the theme is a tribute to America.
The exhibit, called Civic Virtue, features clothing in red, white and blue. The walk through American fashion begins with the 1800s. While walking through the gallery takes mere minutes, the preparation starts nearly a year before it opens.
“I started late, with about two weeks left, and there was still a lot to get done,” Audrah Davidson, a sophomore fashion design major who works at the costume gallery, said.
When preparing for an exhibit, garments that need to be laundered are sent to professionals.
“There are only a few people here that know how to hand-clean the pieces,” Elizabeth Hammond, a junior fashion design major who also does her work study at the gallery, said.
“It’s a lot of work,” Davidson said. Her duties included hand-sewing any rips and tears that were found once the garments were displayed on the mannequins.
“The oldest garment is the white ivory dress from 1865,” Davidson said.
Karlie Kloss, whose sister graduated from Stephens in 2012, donated a 2010 Jason Wu cobalt blue silk romper. Although it’s one of the newer pieces, it fits with the older pieces seamlessly.
Not every piece shown belongs to the gallery. Some of the garments are on loan, rather than being donated for Stephens to keep.
“There are some loaned pieces in this show. When it’s over we have to be sure to send them back in good condition,” Hammond said.
Not many people have had a chance to walk through fashion history. The gallery is open from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursdays and 12:00-3:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, which might explain why so far few people have seen this impressive exhibit.
“Parents’ weekend was busy. We had about 30 people, and that’s pretty good,” Davidson said.