Two exhibits at the Decker Library highlight fashions in mid-20th century America

"We want to tell you"
College women re-define "smart" in mid-20th century fashion

A new exhibit on the upper level of the Decker Library looks at the impact of college women on mid-20th century fashion in the United States.

As the youth of America became a cultural force after the Great Depression and increasing numbers of women went to college, the impact of their overwhelming preference for casual clothing grew. Fashion designers and retailers responded by providing garments in forms and materials that the students demanded: pants, shorts, culottes, knits, and leisure wear. Department stores began marketing directly to these women via "College Shops" which were staffed by students who also served as fashion consultants. As Deirdre Clemente said, "Sportswear -- a genre of dress that had not existed 20 years before -- became the foundation of the college woman's wardrobe."

Katherine Soper ‘27 and Tom Drew ‘42 were two Maryland Institute alumna who contributed in different ways to the collegiate fashion scene in the mid-20th century -- Katherine Soper as a fashion illustrator and department store art director, and Tom Drew as a sportswear designer and faculty at FIT. The exhibit includes their work.

Fashion drawings by Katherine Soper and designs by Tom Drew are featured on the lower level of the Library.

Both exhibits were curated by Karen Wang '18 and Katherine Cowan, Special Collections Librarian at the Decker Library. Wang has worked during the Fall 2017 semester with the Katherine Soper Fashion Illustration collection and the Tom Drew Design Archive as independent study for credit in the Art History, Theory, and Criticism department, overseen by Katherine Cowan and Jenny Carson.

Image Information:
(left) Illustration by Katherine Soper, detail. (right) Design by Tom Drew.

Monday, December 11

More dates through December 20, 2017

Decker Library: Bunting Center
1401 W Mt Royal Ave, Baltimore, MD 21217, USA

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