Evanston History Center announces inaugural ReFashioning History design competition and fundraiser

Credit: Evanston History Center

History meets haute couture when one of the largest costume collections in the state will be reimagined by Chicagoland designers.

The Evanston History Center announces its inaugural ReFashioning History exhibition and fundraiser, set to take place on Thursday, June 27, 2024, at the Dawes House. This community event invites professional fashion designers and design students to participate in a uniquely creative endeavor, drawing inspiration from the Evanston History Center’s extensive and historically significant costume collection.

With over 20,000 garments, textiles, and accessories, the Center’s Costume Collection stands as one of the largest in the state of Illinois. Spanning various periods and styles, the collection encompasses clothing and accessories worn by Evanston residents from all walks of life. From renowned designers such as Dior and Pucci to local creations and homemade garments, the collection offers a diverse array of inspiration for participants.

Designers are encouraged to explore a curated selection of objects from the Center’s vast collection, spanning from the early nineteenth century to the present day. From this selection, designers, technicians, stylists, and creators can craft their own unique interpretations and creations. This juried competition offers the opportunity for finalists to be highlighted at the ReFashioning History event. The four first-place designs will also receive a cash prize of $750 each.

This year’s Jury members are: Raquel Adorno, Professional Costume Designer, based in Chicago and Puerto Rico; Liz Cramer, Co-Director Evanston Made; Josh Chernoff, Founder of Suitable Fabrications; Rachel Jennens, Costume Collection Curator, Evanston History Center; Janet Messmer, Professor Emeritus, DePaul University; and Linda Roethke, Director MFA Stage Design, Northwestern University.

ReFashioning History guests will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a
preview of the Center’s new fashion exhibition. The exhibition viewing will be followed by an intimate fashion showcase, where featured designers will share insights into their processes and interpretations, offering guests a deeper understanding of the fusion of history and contemporary design.

Guests will also have the chance to indulge in stylish refreshments while enjoying the ambiance of the historic lakefront terrace. Proceeds from the event will support the Evanston History Center’s mission and the ongoing care of its collections, ensuring that the rich tapestry of Evanston’s history continues to be preserved and shared with future generations.

The Evanston History Center is now inviting individuals to purchase tickets or to participate.


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