The relationship between sports and fashion is often overlooked, but the Historic Costume and Textiles Collection at Ohio State is seeking to show students that fashion isn’t exclusive to the runway.
Located in the Gladys Keller Snowden Galleries on the second floor of Campbell Hall, the “Sports and Fashion” exhibit features sports and activewear from the 19th to 21st centuries.
Exhibitgoers will see pieces dating back to 1895 that showcase how fashion and sports have intersected. From changing hem lengths to the transition from wool to nylon, the exhibit will show how the function of sport influenced how athletes and spectators dressed over time.
In planning for the exhibit, the Historic Costume and Textiles Collection team pulled inspiration from the Department of Human Sciences.
“The inspiration was pretty much the makeup of our department,” curator Gayle Strege said. “In the Department of Human Sciences, there’s the fashion and retail studies program, but there’s also kinesiology and physical education and activities programs so we thought to do something for the exhibit that combines all of these programs.”
Featuring authentic pieces from Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Ralph Lauren and several other designers, the exhibit shows that fashion is not limited to suits, gowns and evening wear but sportswear as well.
“I think people tend to think of fashion as just being the high-end designer kind of thing, but it’s influenced so much by so many different factors and sports, especially in American history, [that] have been so influential affecting how some of our clothes look,” Strege said.
Brianna Watson, a fourth-year in fashion and retail studies, said the exhibit helps fashion students visualize and interact with the concepts they are studying.
“These collections add a lot of value to the fashion program because students get to see how fashion has played a big impact on the world,” Watson said.
Watson said the exhibit brings a piece of Ohio State into the collection.
“It was really cool seeing the vintage OSU sweater in the exhibit. I thought it was appropriate with Ohio State being a big sports school,” Watson said.
While the goal of the collection is to expose viewers to historic fashions, Strege said she hopes exhibitors realize the educational value in the exhibit.
“I’m hoping [people] learn how much crossover there is between sports and fashion,” Strege said. “The whole idea that sports and motion and mobility and function play into how clothes are designed and they’re made is something I think you can get out of this exhibit.”
The Sports and Fashion collection will be showcased until Apr. 26. For more information on the exhibit, visit https://ehe.osu.edu/events/sports-and-fashion-exhibit/.