URI fashion exhibit celebrates 125 years of college fashion

The diverse culture within the University of Rhode Island has always been proud part of the community’s history and it can now be explored in a unique fashion exhibit in Quinn Hall.

The graduate students in Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design have put together an exhibit celebrating 125 years at the University of Rhode Island. The exhibit holds a charming collection of pieces that have made their way through history.

While previous collections were oriented around “The Other White Dress” and “Lace: The Elegant Fabric,” the students have not missed the opportunity to indulge in the school’s history for this year’s inspiration. Celebrating URI’s 125th anniversary, this year’s exhibit showcases garments that were typical of students to wear throughout the years.

Every visitor takes a walk through history as they come across dresses and suits from the 1970s, classic basketball jerseys and a Chi Omega sorority cap dating as far back as 1937, all of which were donated to the gallery.

Photographs from the school’s past homecomings, student council and swim team allow visitors to put each and every garment into perspective. As the students put the exhibit together, gathering donations from alumni, they learned to dress the mannequins and find pieces for the cases that did not hold the more three-dimensional items.

Linda Welters, a professor of the TMD department, contributed photographs to the 100th Anniversary exhibit 25 years ago. Now, she says the part of this year’s exhibit that spoke to her most was a piece from the 1940s that shows the students.

“We have the dress and shoes so that’s unusual to see,” Welters said. “The weirdest was the basketball uniforms. It’s just so strange compared to what we have now.”

As Welters mentioned, this exhibit occurs at least once a year, but it is always interesting to see the anniversary exhibits to really see how styles have developed. It is a wonder what might be held in the 150th anniversary exhibit.

“From walking through the exhibit I saw a lot of history,” said Randy Duran, a freshman at URI. “I realized URI has a rich history and is a place where a lot of change occurs, not only in style but in diversity and inclusion.”

Like many other students, Duran’s curiosity about the changes URI has undergone within its 125 years drew him to the exhibit. Given its very distinct and unique purpose, this exhibit is sure to stand out from many others.

It does not solely embrace how far URI has come today, but it also appreciates every period that has made it the university it is today. As they do every year, the students have not failed to impress with their hard work displayed in this year’s exhibit.