Making History Exhibit

[social4i size=”medium” align=”center”] The Textile Museum of Canada is located at 55 Centre Avenue, and students can enter for free with a Ryerson student I.D. card.

For the past month, the “Making History” project has been on display at the Textile Museum of Canada, where Ryerson students had the opportunity to display designed historical pieces and traditional textile-manipulation techniques. The positive response has now made this project into an annual exhibit.

As part of the History of Costume class by Costume History professor Dr. Alison Matthews David, two thirds of the 72 students decided to do this interactive project over a traditional essay. 14 of the best projects were then selected to display in the museum.

Ryerson has been an institutional member of the Textile Museum for a few years; however, the collaboration could not have started without Connie Laalo, a Fashion Master of Arts student who did an internship in the museum. When Laalo became David’s teaching assistant for the class, she helped introduce the initiative.

According to David, she realized after years of reading student essays that the creative students might engage more with the history if they were involved directly. David believes that there are sometimes more benefits to applying what they learned to something physical.

“It might give them a new understanding of and respect for the makers of dress in other times and cultures,” David says.

The different pieces ranged from traditional shoes, to a lace bonnet, and finally a 1930s dress replication. Carly Hobson, a second year design student, created the only full garment and dress. A recreation of designer Elsa Schiaparelli’s 1937 Lobster Dress, Hobson decided on the dress due to its inclusion of Salvador Dali’s lobster painting. A fan of Dali’s work, Hobson liked the fact that the dress included an aspect of Dali’s lobster phase and his avant-garde sculpture: the Lobster Phone. Schiaparelli and Dali worked on a multitude of projects, this dress being one of the most well-known.

Hobson used basic pattern making and sewing to produce the garment, which took approximately a month to create. It is not often that second year fashion students, or even theatre production students get to present their work to the public.

“It shows what Ryerson students can do and it has definitely evolved since in past years. We do fashion shows but I don’t think we have had anything in a museum before,” Hobson says.

For Hobson, the project made her appreciate the historical techniques to a greater extent. By hand-sewing the neckline and arm-holes, she realized how long everything would have taken without modern technology.

“That was just too much. My hands hurt after. Without sewing machines today, sewing would take forever.”

Hobson recommends other students to take the class if they have the chance.

“Dr. David is really good at what she does. She travels, so she brings back what she learns into the class and makes it interesting. Costume history is a major part of her life, which makes the class very interesting as well. She provides opportunities for us to actually show our work. Some other teachers and classes don’t provide the opportunity to show the public.”

The museum is located at 55 Centre Avenue, and for Ryerson students an ID is all you need to get in for free.