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Inspired Style: KCAD Fashion Studies and the Grand Rapids Public Museum

Posted July 11, 2016 in StudentFacultyFashion Studies

Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University’s (KCAD’s) Pamella Roland DeVos School of Fashion is working with the Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) to open a new fashion exhibit, Inspired Style, on August 6. This new exhibit is a collaborative fashion project, where students used the Museum’s archival fashion Collection for inspiration to create new, modern interpretations of historic pieces.

Nine students each chose a garment from the Museum’s Collections from different decades spanning the 1850s to 1950s. Their new pieces incorporate elements of the historic garments into their own original work, resulting in a modern artistic interpretation.

Fashion Studies students working

Visitors will be able to examine the various details of both the students’ pieces and the historic garments from which they drew inspiration. 

This exhibit will open in the GRPM’s Circle Theater, located on the Museum’s third floor, on Saturday, August 6 and run through January 8, 2017. Admission to this exhibit will be included with general admission to the Museum.

Inspired Style: KCAD Fashion & GRPM from KCAD-TV on Vimeo.

The GRPM’s extensive clothing Collection offers a significant and multi-faceted view of the social, cultural and fashion history of the Midwestern United States. Since the GRPM began collecting in 1854, it has amassed a comprehensive collection of more than 10,000 clothing items, with strengths in fashionable garments from the 19th and 20th centuries. It is especially strong in the areas of women’s clothing, wedding attire, uniforms, items with local provenance and unique special function items, such as women’s athletic wear. Currently, most of these Collection items are stored in the GRPM’s climate-controlled archives.

Working with KCAD’s Fashion Studies students is one way the GRPM is making its extensive Collections an open and accessible community resource. Students have learned through these artifacts by studying not just the garments but the social environment and circumstances during which the original garments were created.

Fashion Studies students working

“By opening up this amazing connection to our history, the Public Museum allowed our students to explore fashion from a social perspective in addition to the technical and creative aspects of garment design,” said Assistant Professor and KCAD Fashion Studies Program Chair Lori Faulkner. “It was an immersive experience which will guide our students to be intentional in their design process, informing and enhancing their work.” 

Fashion Studies students working

"It is exciting to partner with the KCAD's Pamella Roland DeVos School of Fashion students to be able to use our Collections in a new and exciting way," said Andrea Melvin, Collections Curator at the GRPM. "Our fashion Collection is one of the most expansive Collections we have, and we are always looking for fun ways to share more of what we have with the community; this exhibit is doing just that."

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