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‘Our New Old Clothes’ to feature historic garments at SHAPE Gallery

30 January 2013 No Comment


Shippensburg Arts Programming and Education is working with Shippensburg University Fashion Archives to bring a collection of historic garments out of a basement and into downtown Shippensburg.

Silk dress from the late 1840s restored after alterations in the 1940s. (Courtesy)

SHAPE Gallery, 20 W. King St., will act as a fashion time capsule when it hosts the exhibit, “Our New Old Clothes,” Feb. 1 through Feb. 22. Inside will be about 25 mannequins donning clothing that originated between the 1820s and 1970s, said Karin Bohleke, director of SU Fashion Archives.

The exhibit will feature pieces donated to the collection since Bohleke took over the archive in 2007. With a few exceptions, none of the pieces have ever been on display, Bohleke said.

“I think one thing that people will really enjoy is a number of the pieces are really local to Shippensburg, Waynesboro, and I think they will be pleasantly surprised how well the middle class dressed at this time period,” she added.

A garment can give someone a glimpse into the life of the person who first wore it as well as into the larger world around them. Specific lessons can include patterns of consumption, social etiquette and social class, personal presentation, technology of production, distribution, women’s studies and more, Bohleke said.

“This is how we see our ancestors in 3-D,” she added.

SHAPE is excited to show an art form outside of what is typically expected, said Trisha Grace, president of SHAPE.

“Fashion is a form of expression that’s just as powerful as the oils that people paint on a canvas or images people capture through photography,” she added.

This is the first partnership between SHAPE and the Fashion Archives. According to Grace, the gallery collaborated with various local organizations in the past, most recently Shippensburg Historical Society, and the board of directors decided the Fashion Archives should be their next partner.

“It gives them an opportunity to kind of take over the gallery, and present to the local community some of the pieces they’ve received through donations,” Grace said.

The Fashion Archive’s current home is in the lower level of SU’s Harley Hall. The space is open as a gallery, but recent construction on the campus has deterred people from visiting, Bohleke said.

The exhibit opening is scheduled 6 to 8 p.m. Friday. Regular gallery hours are 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday to Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Amber South can be reached at asouth@publicopinionnews.com and 262-4771.

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