Kent State University Fashion Museum

For this week’s post, we are going on a field trip! Recently, I was informed that the local college campus has a fashion museum that is open to the public. I love being able to support my local community so I had to go and check it out.

Kent State University’s Museum is located in heart of campus and is easy walking distance to downtown Kent. Over the last couple of years there has been a tremendous amount of growth in the city. You can walk from the museum to downtown and find numerous restaurants to try and stores to shop. At the museum, there are currently three fashion exhibits; (dis)Abled Beauty, Fashion Timeline and Fashions of Southern Africa.

I turned this little adventure in to some mommy-daughter time and brought the little Diva-In-Training along. Honestly, I think I enjoyed it a little more than she did.

About The Museum

The museum at Kent State started when Jerry Silverman, a dress manufacturer from New York, donated a collection of dresses, decorative art objects and books. Rockwell Hall, which houses the museum, was built in 1927 and initially served as the university’s first library, before being renovated in 1985 to become the museum. From humble beginnings, Kent State’s collection has grown to almost 40,000 items, mostly due to generous donations.  As the museum has grown, it has become an internationally acclaimed resource and has one of the foremost collections of historic and regional costumes in the world. As a result of the university’s high standards and continued institutional improvement, the museum has received accreditation from the American Association of Museums (AAM).

(dis)Abled Beauty

The (dis)Abled Beauty was my favorite exhibit. It was interesting to see how fashion has evolved to be functional for those with special needs. The exhibit features more than 40 items. These include prostheses, hearing aides, and mobility devices.

This leather moto jacket and faux leather and ponte leggings outfit was one of my favorite in exhibit. The jacket is 100% leather and is part of Izzy Camilleri 2015 collection. The faux leather and ponte leggings are also part of Izzy’s 2015 collection.

The second outfit from the exhibit that I loved is this dress called Flutter, which is designed to give vibro-tactile feedback in the direction of a loud sound alarm. This will help those with hearing loss to be better able to respond to their environment.

Fashion Timeline

This exhibit showcases the museums collection of historic fashion. There are two centuries worth of fashion history that is designed to show the evolution of styles and silhouettes. In addition to the garments, there are also displays of shoes and hats lining the hallways.

I loved this beaded dress floral dress c. 1926. It is amazing to think something this elaborate would be only a fond memory of people in just a few years. Silk mesh, sequins and bugel beads construct the dress.

I also love this c 1765 French brocaded silk dress. A light blue brocaded silk make up the bodice and skirt. The stomacher, the v-shaped piece in the front, is a reproduction. One thing I noticed about this dress was the height. A younger girl, or someone short like me is whom this dress was made.

Fashions of South Africa

Upstairs in the museum held an amazing collection of fashion from different designers in South Africa. The color in this exhibit was amazing! The exhibit houses fashions spanning across multiple seasons.

In my opinion, this was the show stopper of the collection. This yellow dress is from Khosi Nkosi autumn/winter 2016 collection. The brand combines body hugging knits with African prints.

Finally this jacket which is from Rich Mnisi’s autumn/winter 2016 collection, is another favorite of mine. The jacket is a wool/cotton blend with faux fur and acrylic. Rich has a modern and minimalist aesthetic and likes to play with proportions.

I hope you have enjoyed this little preview of a local gem. Let me know if you have been to the Kent State Fashion Museum, or if you have something similar near you! Click here to find out the museums hours and admission prices along with scheduling a tour.

 

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