Students can celebrate a century and a half of university history in style, thanks to a new exhibit opening Saturday.
“Campus Fashion: 150 years of College Style,” located in Campbell Hall, will offer a look at fashion trends throughout the university’s history. The collection is presented by the Historic Costumes & Textiles Collection.
Gayle Strege, exhibit curator, said she spent months preparing for the yearlong exhibit. To celebrate the anniversary, Strege said she and her team designed an exhibit focused entirely on students’ fashion over the past 150 years.
The upper gallery walks visitors through a historical timeline from 1870 to the grunge era of the 1990s. The exhibit displays a stark contrast between late 19th-century men in three-piece suits and women in petticoats to 1970s dresses above the knees and blue jeans.
While men’s fashion experienced a gradual transformation, the exhibition shows how women’s fashion took a drastic turn from the rule-based culture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The gallery held a preview of the exhibition Wednesday. Two alumni from the School of Home Economics, now known as the College of Education and Human Ecology, attended the event, where their homemade women’s suits were on display.
Strege cited a letter sweater from an early Ohio State alumnus featured in the lower gallery of the exhibit as her favorite piece.
Marlise Schoeny, assistant curator, was responsible for much of the research on the history of the garments featured in the exhibit, including the letter sweater.
The sweater was worn by Floyd Henderson, a former manager of the cross country team. During her research, Schoeny said she discovered Henderson was an avid Ohio State football fan throughout his life.
“He lived to be 100 and from everything I read was very vibrant all the way through his life and kept coming to games until he was 98,” Schoeny said. “He is what I think of when I go to the alumni game. He is the perfect encapsulation of the sort of quintessential Ohio State student.”
Schoeny said students should visit the exhibit because “it makes you more aware as a student of the legacy that has come before you and how far we’ve come and just how different it has been, yet you can still find the similarities.”
Streges said that they not only collected the garments, but the stories that went with them.
“Fashion in general just kind of reflects our greater society kind of as our university does as well,” Strege said.
While decades pass and styles change, one thing remains the same: Fashion is a means of expression that students use during their time at Ohio State.
“Campus Fashion: 150 years of College Style” is located at Gladys Keller Snowden Gallery in Campbell Hall. The exhibit is open to the public Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free for all.