Texas Fashion Collection examines history of comfortable clothing in new exhibition

This 1940s Claire McCardell outfit will be on display in Sportswear to Athleisur
This 1940s Claire McCardell outfit will be on display in Sportswear to Athleisure: The Creation of Comfortable Clothing, an exhibition from the University of North Texas’ Texas Fashion Collection running from Sept. 8 (Friday) to Dec. 8 (Friday) at UNT ArtSpace Dallas.
This contemporary Nike outfit will be on display in Sportswear to Athleisure: Th
This contemporary Nike outfit will be on display in Sportswear to Athleisure: The Creation of Comfortable Clothing, an exhibition from the University of North Texas’ Texas Fashion Collection running from Sept. 8 (Friday) to Dec. 8 (Friday) at UNT ArtSpace Dallas.
Thursday, August 17, 2017 - 08:29

What: Sportswear to Athleisure: The Creation of Comfortable Clothing, an exhibition about the history of comfortable clothing from the University of North Texas’ Texas Fashion Collection

When: Sept. 8 (Friday) to Dec. 8 (Friday). Private tours can be arranged by emailing tfc@unt.edu.

Where: UNT ArtSpace Dallas, 1901 Main St., Dallas

Hours: See  http://gallery.unt.edu/galleries/artspace.

Cost: Free.

DENTON (UNT), Texas -- The recent popularity of yoga pants for everyday wear has raised eyebrows among some fashion critics, but comfortable clothing has been around for decades.

A new exhibition, Sportswear to Athleisure: The Creation of Comfortable Clothing, will feature the history of such fashion, using garments from the University of North Texas’ Texas Fashion Collection. The exhibition runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays from Sept. 8 (Friday) to Dec. 8 (Friday) at UNT ArtSpace Dallas, as well as special TFC curatorial tours from noon to 5 p.m. Sept. 8 (Friday).

“This should be an interesting exhibition to understand how the comfortable clothing of today developed,” said Annette Becker, assistant director for the collection.

Becker went through the collection’s 20,000-item archive to find outfits for the exhibition. They include a Claire McCardell five-piece separates collection from the 1940s that women could wear on the weekends and vacations for sporting activities. The beach set included a bandeau top, skirt, halter dress, diaper-style bottom and short jacket.

In the 1950s and 1960s, fashion designer RudiGernreich brought the materials used by dancing troupes to mainstream fashion. A double-knit wool was used for various garments so it shaped to the wearer – considered revolutionary for the time.

A “speed suit” from the 1970s from Vera Maxwell was inspired by the West German Olympics team uniform and designed so the wearer could put it on as quickly as possible. The garment was a knit top attached to a shirt with an elastic waistband that could be pulled over the head. Unlike other garments, it had no hooks or other fastenings.

“It’s interesting to think about how clothing today is inspired by these pieces,” Becker said. 

The exhibition will feature contemporary pieces from designers such as acclaimed Italian designer Riccardo Tisci. An ensemble from his 2016 collaboration with NikeLab paired his high-fashion sensibilities with the activewear brand’s innovative performance fabrics, incorporating creativity from two radically different perspectives.

The exhibition allows the collection to bring more contemporary pieces into its repository. Fashion design students had been interested in exploring street wear and casual wear for their research, Becker said.

Some 1970s-era items from the Texas Fashion Collection also will be seen at Night Fever: Fashions from Funk to Disco, an exhibition running Sept. 20 (Wednesday) to Nov. 1 (Wednesday) at the Galleria shopping center in Dallas.

Becker said the exhibition at a shopping center allows more people to see it.

“It’s wonderful we have a way to create access to the collection,” she said. 

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