Finding Fashion Inspiration in Isolation

While some people are diving deep into their creative endeavors while in isolation, others are struggling to find inspiration within the confines of their own homes. Luckily, the internet and advancements in UX technology allow museums from around the world to continue to display their spring exhibits in a virtual capacity. Whether through lecture-style presentations, narrated gallery walk-through videos, or virtual recreations of the gallery space for viewers to explore, there is a presentation style for just about every viewer.

As the summer winds down and we prepare to begin the fall semester in a few short weeks, fashion design faculty and staff created a short list of some of virtual fashion and art presentations to help serve as a starting point for students that may need a little creative boost. Check out the list below and see where that inspiration leads!

The Cooper Hewitt’s Willi Smith Exhibit and Community Archive

The Cooper Hewitt Museum in Mahattan celebrates Willi Smith, a prominent black fashion designer in the 1980-90s. Willi Smith has ties to the Philadelphia area, studying at the Philadelphia Museum College of Art before moving to New York and starting his iconic WilliWear label. The Design Center at Jefferson loaned Willi Smith jumper from their private collection to this exhibit!

Leeds Museum’s Fast and Slow Fashion in Leeds 1720-2020

The Leeds Museum in England takes a look at local fashion throughout the last three centuries. The exhibit also looks at how fast fashion in the last few decades has made lasting impacts on the fashion industry in the region. 

Victoria & Albert Museum’s Kimono: From Kyoto to Catwalk

The Victoria & Albert Museum in London is well known for its beautiful art and costume collection. For this exhibition, Anna Jackson, curator of the Asian department at the museum, walks you through the gallery space and explains how the kimono transitioned from traditional Japanese garments to international catwalk fame. 

Museum of Fine Art Boston’s Gender Bending Fashion

The Museum of Fine Art in Boston explores many examples of avant-garde clothing which challenge rigid, binary constructs throughout the last century. Viewers are taken on a video walkthrough of the many rooms of this exhibit.

Japan Society NYC’s Boro Textiles: Sustainable Aesthetic

Boro textiles were traditionally used by Japanese peasant families. Scraps of worn-out or leftover fabric are stitched together in a patchwork pattern to create necessary garments for warmth and protection through the harsh winter. Boro textiles are a perfect example of sustainable fashion throughout history!

National Gallery of Victoria’s Collecting Comme

This interactive exhibition features the work of Rei Kawabuko, visionary designer and influential founder of Comme de Garcon. Designs by two of her proteges, Junya Wantanabe and Tao Kurihara are also featured. The exhibition is presented as a digital recreation of the entire gallery, with the viewer “walking” through at eye level. 

National Gallery of Victoria’s Keith Harring and Jean Michel Basquiat 

In NYC in the 1980s, bizarre graffiti art began popping up all over the city streets and subway cars. Learn about Keith Harring and Jean Michel Basquiat, two street artists that left a lasting impact on the art and design world.

Museum at FIT’s Black Fashion Designers Exhibit

Narrated by influential fashion journalist Andre Leon Talley, this exhibit from the Museum at FIT in 2016 looks at a numbers of prominent black fashion designers throughout the last century.

The National Arts Club’s Tartan Talks with Jeffery Banks

Can you tell the difference between tartan and plaid? Listen to celebrated fashion designer Jeffery Banks discuss the history and many uses of tartan, one of the most historically significant prints in history. 

The National Arts Club’s Filipiniana Dress History with Raven Ong

With a long history of colonial rule by the Spanish, the Americans, and finally the Japanese, find out how Western and regional influences have impacted fashion through the Philippines’ history.


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