My dearest childhood friend Stephanie lives in Youngstown, Ohio. We met back when our families were stationed in Germany during middle school. She has three great kids and a full time job so we don’t get to see each other too often. She’s just a five hour drive away so Jordan and I took the long Labor Day weekend for a mini break in the Western Reserve. As per usual, I managed to squeeze in as much sewing / fashion related stuff as humanly possible. Since this is a long post with many, many photos, I’ll just help you along here here and let you jump to the parts that might interest you most. I was lucky enough to spend time looking at quilts and knitting at the The Canfield Fair, fabulous performance costumes at the The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and checking out the amazing costume collection at the Kent State Museum.
When Stephanie suggested the Canfield Fair for our Friday plans I was all about it. And, not just in for the deep fried cheese curds. The Canfield Fair is the largest County Fair in the country! I went online and saw they had quilting exhibits in addition to hand and machine knitting. There was fashion sewing too, but I didn’t grab any photos of those.
After we left Youngstown, Jordan and I headed up to Cleveland for the remainder of the weekend. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was top of our list.
As per usual, I beelined for the costume display.
Oh, Queen Bey. Why did I recognize every single one of the seven costumes on display?
Also, I totally want to be a Supreme.
On Sunday, we drove an hour outside of Cleveland to Kent State University so I could see a few of the current exhibitions from their museum’s costume collection.
Closing this weekend in the incredible Flapper Style: 1920s Fashion. Holy beaded beauty. Flapper Style is a wonderful collection of period pieces. The 40 pieces (mostly dresses and hats) are grouped by themes of Romanticism, Art Deco, Exoticism and Abstraction. Here are a few of my favorites:
Following the incredible Flapper Style, I went to view the Fashion Timeline exhibit which does a remarkable job of tying fashion to current events. From the advent of fabric production to the invention and adoption of the sewing machine, fashion is tied together.
They started with the mid 1700s and wrapped up with the mid 1960s (You can see the interactive timeline here). As I’ve noted before, I have very mixed emotions when it comes to vintage clothes. For me, it’s important to not look at the amazing fashion of the past and idealize what were generally crappy times for people of color and women. I love fashion and costumes and can deeply appreciate the clothes for what they are. But, it’s odd to stand around and admire an antebellum dress that was afforded on the backs of slave labor (says the girl who holds Gone With the Wind and To Kill a Mockingbird up as her favorite books of all time). Or, love the details in a dress from the 50s and 60s and not think about the massive violation of civil rights in America. That said, the exhibit does a good job of noting the part of our history that made fashion possible, like the invention of the cotton gin. Or, acknowledging that women in the work place influenced and changed style very quickly.
Here are a few of the pieces from the collection that really spoke to me.
The final exhibition I saw was Fashion Designs of Southern Africa. While I was originally most excited about this new exhibit, I was underwhelmed in person. Perhaps it’s because I’m admittedly not familiar with designers from Southern Africa.But, I found the selections underwhelming with not enough context.
So, that wraps up all the ways I turned our mini break into my fashion tour of the Western Reserve :-). If you can make it to Kent State I highly recommend you visit their compact but well curated costume museum. And, if you’re at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, give yourself plenty of time. I could have spent hours and hours in there. We also did a bunch of other touristy stuff including walking and biking tours that I very much enjoyed. I can tell you for sure though, Cleveland absolutely rocks!