Vintage Essentials combines style and history

Kara Willingham

Q: What is the Vintage Essentials class?

A: The Vintage Essentials class meets once a week on Tuesday afternoon. It is a four hour lecture/lab class combined in that we do some real ‘hands on’ activities with actual vintage garments span an age range from 1850’s to today’s clothing. This class is perfect for anyone who loves fashion and for current fashionista’s given that today’s’ fashions really do pull from past decades for inspiration. What most designers do is reincorporate bits and pieces from the past . An example of this would be Ralph Lauren’s fall collection. It is pure ‘My Fair Lady’ – specifically the Ascot horse race scene where Audrey Hepburn is in a black and white dress. That collection also went on to incorporate 1930s style garden party full length

Q: Who should take the class?

A: The class is also perfect for any one who loves fashion history or any kind of history. A lot of fashion is inspired and affected by world events and it is interesting to see how war, economics, cultural movements etc. affect what we wear. The importance of this class from a fashion sense is to have an appreciation of design, culture, history and will hopefully help the design student develop an eye for their own designs.

Q: Sounds like the class can appeal to many students, what else will students learn?

A: The class incorporates all angles of vintage clothing, from identifying the age/era, evaluating construction, wear, alterations, value, collecting, reselling, cleaning, storing, restoring and remaking. Currently we are working on how to organize, document, clean, store and present an actual collection of clothes from the 1880s.

Q: You are very knowledgeable on the subject, what types of fashions are you interested in?

A: As to my personal opinions and background in fashion…. I like when fashion of era incorporated good design, fit, function, feminine qualities and excellent construction. My favorite fashion era would be the late 1890s to the end of 1910. Horrible time for women, but the clothes were spectacular. My next favorite would be the mid-to-late 30s and then the late 40s to mid 1950s. These were the last decades of the ‘complete’ look, matching shoes and handbags, gloves, how fun.

Q: When did you become interested in fashion?

A: I started sewing in the fifth grade and it is the love of sewing and challenging my construction skills that makes me happy. There’s nothing better than one someone is ‘wowed’ by the fact that I’ve made something beautiful that fits well and is hopefully ‘stylish’ at the same time. I don’t consider myself a slave to fashion. I really could care less what the latest trends are. I focus on colors and fit that flatter my figure and thankfully because in today’s fashion world, really, anything goes. I focus on design, color, fit and function.

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