Submitted by Janean Williams, Curator of the Blacksburg Museum & Cultural Foundation
The Blacksburg Museum and Cultural Foundation will present Fashion History Moving Forward: Animating the Present, Considering the Past, an exhibit that references bodices, blouses, and more from the late 1890s to the early 1900s, as inspiration for modern-day designs. The exhibit will be on display from Friday, Dec. 2, through Saturday, Feb. 4, at the Alexander Black House, 204 Draper Rd., in Blacksburg.
Virginia Tech fashion merchandising and design students were asked to research garments from the Blacksburg Museum & Cultural Foundation and those from Virginia Tech’s Oris Glisson Historic Costume and Textile Collection, to create new designs for their first 2D fashion animation project. This exhibit is the result of their efforts.
Admission is free. Exhibit hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday..
An opening reception will be held on Dec. 2 from 5 to 7 p.m.
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 saw 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
The installation will showcase 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.