Fashion History Moving Forward

Fashion History Moving Forward 2Fashion History Moving Forward: Animating the Present, Considering the Past is an exhibit that references bodices, blouses and more, from the late 1890s to the early 1900s, as inspiration for modern day designs.

Virginia Tech fashion merchandising and design students were asked to research garments from the Blacksburg Museum & Cultural Foundation, as well as those from Virginia Tech’s Oris Glisson Historic Costume and Textile Collection, to create new designs for their first 2D fashion animation project.

The exhibit will be on display from Friday December 2, 2022 – Saturday, February 4, 2023, at the Alexander Black House, 204 Draper Road SW, Blacksburg, VA, blacksburgmuseum.org, 540-443-1600. Admission is free, hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10–4. Opening reception on Friday, December 2, 5:00 – 7:00 pm.

Earlier this summer, the concept of this fashion installation evolved out of a conversation between Virginia Tech’s Fashion Merchandising and Design Professor, Sarah Wilmot and the Blacksburg Museum’s curator Janean Williams. Upon learning that current fashion designers were now expected to animate their clothing lines, Williams realized the potential for an exhibit incorporating animation and fashion design. Professor Wilmot envisioned designs based on historic costumes within BMCF’s collection, as well as those contained in the Oris Glisson Historic Costume and Textile Collection at Virginia Tech.

For a fall semester Apparel Product Development course, Wilmot assigned students a digital problem-based learning activity, using fashion history to develop a new collection that would be presented using 2D fashion animation. The students were inspired by the delicate laces, ornate patterns, and ruffle details, and by the sustainable silks and cotton fabrics, which have lasted more than 100 years, from the Victorian and Edwardian periods in each institution’s collections.

The installation showcases 12 original garments, alongside the designs and animations of the 18 students, their teaching assistant, as well as Professor Wilmot. Each animation is a story built upon research, technique, inspiration, and the connectedness of the past to the future in motion.