Sharing stories through fashion
FashioNext, in partnership with the Chicago Park District, connects teens with local teaching artists to develop fundamental fashion design skills. Guided by a series of design challenges, inspired by the Museum’s world-renowned costume collection, teens create original pieces that help share their stories. FashioNext is committed to creating access and opportunities for teens throughout the city to learn about the role of fashion in history as well our present and future.
This year, three Chicago Park District sites were selected to pilot this new format. Local teaching artists meet with teens weekly at their park district site for a session of discussion around fashion and history, as well as hands-on activities that introduce fundamental fashion design skills. Each site receives the same materials and challenges, and with the help of their teaching artist, each group of teens create unique pieces. These pieces are then showcased at the FashioNext Expo at the Chicago History Museum.
Theme: Use what you have
The exhibition Silverscreen to Mainstream: American Fashion in the 1930s and ’40s highlights Hollywood’s influence in everyday fashion. Although the United States was in the midst of the Great Depression and heading into World War II, middle class and working class Americans were able to use what little they may have had to create Hollywood-inspired apparel. This spirit of resourcefulness and using what you have is the theme that guides this year’s challenges as teens learn how to deconstruct clothing, make their own patterns, and repurpose old clothing to give it new life through their own creative designs.