On Friday, October 10, members of the Western Region of the Costume Society of America gathered in Portland, Oregon for a chance to meet, greet, and talk fashion at the annual regional symposium. Held at the Museum of Contemporary Craft, this year's theme was From the Street to the Catwalk, Cultural Influences on Contemporary Fashion. Presentations explored a range of topics, from Western wear to a genealogy of the tuxedo-wearing woman. Symposium attendees were also treated to a curatorial tour of Fashioning Cascadia: The Social Life of the Garment, an exhibit focusing on the fashion culture of the Pacific Northwest. On the final day of the symposium, attendees explored Portland, including trips to the legendary Powell's Books and the Maryhill Museum, home of the Théâtre de la Mode.
The FIDM Museum was well-represented at this symposium, with presentations by FIDM Museum Registrar Meghan Hansen, and former staffers Ilana Winter and Brenna Barks. Brenna kicked off the symposium with her research on Issey Miyake's early work and Ilana offered an entertaining look at Rockmount Ranch Wear, a historic western wear company. Meghan presented a paper on a long-term project involving an extensive archive of fashion runway photos. Take a peek at this page for a list of the other topics Western Region members explored during the symposium.
In addition to the paper presentations, a highlight of the symposium was the opportunity to experience Fashioning Cascadia. The exhibit featured a concise selection of Pacific Northwest fashion designers working at the intersection of craft and fashion. Curator Sarah Margolis-Piñeo told us that she spent approximately a year and a half planning the exhibition, a process that included visiting the studios of many designers located between Seattle and Portland. The final group included a great mix of design philosophies, from the iconic patterns of the Pendleton Woolen Mills to the work of individual designers working to refine their specific vision of fashion. A full list of designers can be found at the Museum's website. Unfortunately, the exhibition is now closed, though the Museum's website offers a wealth of information, including video interviews with each of the designers featured in Fashioning Cascadia. For those who didn't see this exhibition, check out the images below.
Anna Cohen for Imperial Stock Ranch (Shaniko, OR). In 2009, the Imperial Stock Ranch began exploring how to better utilize the wool from their farm-raised sheep. Imperial Yarn was born and is now an important corollary to the Ranch's operations. Knitwear designer Anna Cohen collaborated with the Ranch to create garments using wool and leather by-products.