Ball State FASH 481 students restyle historic garments for upcoming fashion event
Sophia Greenwood, junior fashion merchandising and apparel design major, said her interest in fashion started when she was 5 years old when her grandma taught her how to sew.
“I was always interested in dress-up, and costumes, and Disney princesses and anything that had to do with dressing up,” Greenwood said. “I liked the way that I felt when I put the clothes on … Even when you were little and you’re shopping — you find your first day of school outfit, and you get so excited.”
Greenwood said her parents noticed her passion for fashion, so they pushed her to be involved in 4-H when she was in fourth grade.
"Innovative Imagery" will show 2-4 p.m. Nov. 16 in the Student Center Ballroom.
The Mary Beeman Historic Costumes Collection began in the 1930s when the Frank C. Ball family gave Mary Beeman, head of the Department of Home Economics, a steamer trunk filled with items of apparel. Also included in the Mary Beeman Collection are photographs, memorabilia and Beeman’s recipe cards from her time at Ball State Teachers College from 1929 until she retired in 1951.
“I [made] a skirt that year, and then I ended up winning one of the championships,” Greenwood said. “From there, I realized that I liked sewing, and I was kind of good at it ... I made stuff every single year in 4-H, and then my senior year, I made my prom dress. Coming to [Ball State], I've obviously made a ton of different garments too, but that was kind of the beginning of me loving it. I loved the clothing in the beginning, but then I learned that I love to make them as well.”
This semester, Greenwood is taking FASH 481 at Ball State where she studies promotional strategies that fashion retailers and manufacturers use. As her class prepares for their annual fall fashion event, she said many of her classmates are so creative that they first struggled to decide on an idea.
“We all had so many ideas and wanted to take it so many different directions that narrowing it down was a little bit hard,” Greenwood said. “But I think it's also worked to our advantage because any time a problem has occurred, there were so many different ways to fix it because we were so creative.”
The class’ first steps, Greenwood said, included brainstorming sessions, where it then ultimately decided not to go the route of a traditional fashion show. Instead, Greenwood, who is one of the event’s co-coordinators, and the rest of the FASH 481 class will present “Innovative Imagery,” a fashion museum featuring a particular collection of clothes.
“Innovative Imagery” will incorporate pieces from Ball State’s Mary Beeman Historic Costumes, a collection of more than 3,000 pieces of men's and women's apparel dating back to the 18th century, according to Ball State’s Digital Media Repository.
Instead of designing their own pieces, FASH 481 students are styling the historical garments in a way they believe reflects the time period they are working with while also incorporating stylistic elements from modern-day fashion.
“We've styled outfits with recycled, or upcycled or donated clothing,” Greenwood said. “It was more like creating outfits based off of clothing that we found or had that are inspired by them instead of creating them.”
Keith Green, senior telecommunications major and part of the FASH 481 marketing team, said he came up with the name “Innovative Imagery.”
“In the end, I thought [the fashion museum’s name would] be innovative because we basically take the works from the Beeman collection and recreate and restyle them with our own clothes,” Green said. “So, I thought, “Innovative Imagery.” What better play on words than that?”
Because there are so many items in the collection, Greenwood said, the FASH 481 students split into different groups — the coordinators, marketing, house & tech, finance and models/backstage — and each group picked pieces from the collection that inspired them.
“We picked the clothes, and we kind of thought about each decade, even if [the clothes were] not exactly made for that decade, kind of reminiscing,” Green said. “We kind of looked up different styles and fads in different things like that from like the '70s, '80s and '90s. We kind of went off that and pulled different outfits [from the Beeman Collection].”
By incorporating and restyling clothing from the Beeman Collection, Greenwood said she and other FASH 481 students hope to bring a different audience to the fashion museum who aren’t normally interested in modern, upbeat fashion.
“[The collection is] just racks and racks of clothing and accessories,” Greenwood said. “There's a ton of handbags and shoes, and then there's like coats [and] jackets. There's men's, and women's [and] children's [clothes]. Basically, anything you can think of is in the house.”
Both Greenwood and Green said they hope individuals who attend “Innovative Imagery” take away the idea that there are opportunities in fashion to create something new from older pieces.
“One thing I hope people will take away from attending this fashion show is that no matter if the fashion is name brand or low budget, you can still create unique pieces out of anything,” Green said. “I just hope people get to see the creativeness and creativity and know that you can make anything look good and that you can look good.”