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Fashion is perhaps the most accessible form of design, it touches everyone, literally. This exhibition tries to highlight a connection between the politics, economics, style, technology, and culture of fashion. It also goes a step further and examines this complex system using each fashion item as a lens.

Fashion design is the art of applying design, aesthetics and natural beauty to clothing and its accessories. It is influenced by cultural and social attitudes, and has varied over time and place.

A fashion designer conceives garment combinations of line, proportion, color, and texture. While sewing and pattern-making skills are beneficial, they are not a pre-requisite of successful fashion design. Most fashion designers are formally trained or apprenticed.

Fashion designers attempt to design clothes which are functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. They consider who is likely to wear a garment and the situations in which it will be worn, and they work within a wide range of materials, colors, patterns and styles. Though most clothing worn for everyday wear falls within a narrow range of conventional styles, unusual garments are usually sought for special occasions such as evening wear or party dresses.

In addition to the typological items there are about 30 exhibits that are new prototypes they have either been commissioned or loaned and highlight inspired advancements in technology, social dynamics, aesthetics, or political awareness.

Fashion designers work in a number of ways in designing clothing and accessories such as bracelets and necklaces. Because of the time required to bring a garment onto the market, designers must at times anticipate changes to consumer tastes.

“Clothes make the man,” as Shakespeare wrote, but that line actually comes from a much earlier Greek proverb: “The man is his clothing.” From togas to tights, fashion makes an impression and not just on other people, but on ourselves.

To dive deeper into this conversation, we spoke with several women designers to get a sense of how they use personal style strategically in their work lives, what challenges they face, and how perceptions of workwear differ for corporate designers on the East and West Coasts.

“I had this conversation with someone on my team earlier this week, someone who’s very creative and expressive in the way she dresses. She’s incredibly talented and her talents are being recognized, so she’s being asked to present her ideas, and by extension, herself, to the C-suite. I told her ‘I want to make sure you’re thinking about the way you want to be perceived by them and what you want to do at this company. And thinking about who’s going to help open doors for you and how you can give yourself the best opportunity to walk through those doors.’

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