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ReFashioning History Logo, alternates between the words Fashion History to the words ReFashioning History
An Exhibition and Juried Design Show
at the Evanston History Center

Purchase your ticket to the ReFashioning History Fundraiser >

Join us for our inaugural ReFashioning History event at the Evanston History Center on June 27, 2024.

Evanston History Center invites professional and non-professional fashion designers, costume designers, technicians, tailors, stylists, and creators from Chicagoland to take their inspiration from a curated selection of objects from our extensive, historically significant costume collection and create a new look of their own. Learn how to enter below.

Winning creations will be awarded and showcased on the evening of Thursday, June 27, 2024, beginning at 7:00 PM. Guests will be treated to a preview of our new fashion exhibition, followed by a fashion showcase that offers the opportunity to hear directly from featured designers about their processes and interpretations – all while enjoying live music featuring Ezequiel Navarro (oboe) and Abigail Stoner (harp) on our historic lakefront terrace.

With more than 20,000 garments, textiles, and accessories dating from the early nineteenth century to the present, Evanston History Center’s Costume Collection is one of the largest in the state of Illinois. The Collection spans the breadth of Evanston’s history, including garments and accessories for men, women, and children. Collection materials focus on clothing and accessories worn by Evanston residents from all walks of life.

The Collection includes objects from significant designers, such as Dior, Callot Soeurs, Lucien Lelong, House of Worth, Jon Weston, Pucci, and Liberty’s of London. However, as befits the sensibilities of Evanstonians, the majority of the Collection includes objects from other sources. These include the works of lesser-known European designers, the works of American designers including Evanston designers, the products of local department stores and businesses, and clothing made at home by Evanston residents for themselves and their families. Our Costume Curator has selected a number of garments and accessories from a range of periods and styles for entrants to view, as a basis for their own creations. Select pieces include both men’s and women’s wear, from formal to everyday.

Proceeds from ReFashioning History will go towards supporting collections care and the Evanston History Center’s work to collect, preserve and interpret the rich history of the City of Evanston and all its people through exhibits, educational programs, and research facilities.

For those who want to participate in the competition, here is how:

Rules of Entry:

  • To inspire creativity that celebrates the history of fashion seen through the lens of each participant’s own life experience.
  • To provide publicity for participants as part of the EHC ReFashioning History Showcase.
  • To increase community participation in EHC programs.
  • To increase awareness of the Evanston History Center and its Costume Collection.
  • Winners’ designs will be featured at the EHC ReFashioning History Showcase on June 27, 2024, at the Evanston History Center.
  • After the Showcase, the designs will be placed on display at EHC until the first week in November 2024.
  • The four finalists will each receive a $750 prize from generous sponsors.

1. Participants will design and create garments or accessories inspired by objects selected from the EHC Costume Collection by the Costume Curator.

2. Showcase is open to two divisions:

  • Professional (Individuals engaged in theater, fashion, and other industries related to the design, construction, and manufacture of garments and accessories.)
  • Student/Recent Graduate/Amateur (Individuals age 18 and over who are currently students at an accredited institution or who are neither a student nor a Professional as defined above.

3. Each division will have the choice of designing a garment or ensemble, or accessories.

4. Participants must be available for and attend an in-person viewing of the selected objects sometime between April 5 through April 7, 2024 between 1 and 4 pm.

5. Potential participants who are legal residents of the greater Chicago area are eligible to enter. When necessary, a driver’s license and/or state income tax return may be requested to verify state residency.

6. Applicants must submit a design, style board, or supporting portfolio (limited to 3 images) that represents the design inspired for this contest.  A short statement, no more than 150 words, must accompany the design.

7. The high-resolution image(s) of the design, together with the statement must be delivered on or before April 19, 2024 by 5 pm to an electronic location that will be shared with participants attending the viewing on April 5 – 7.

8. When submitting to the ReFashioning History Showcase keep in mind that your submission will be evaluated on multiple dimensions, your entry will be judged together with its design, realization techniques and material of choice.

9. Participants give the EHC permission to use photograph(s) or video of participants and their entries for promotion of the EHC and the EHC Design Showcase.

10. Winning participants, and their models if applicable, must participate in a rehearsal for the Showcase on June 19, 2024.

11. All selected design winners must be present and they, or their designated models, must model their designs at the EHC ReFashioning History Showcase on June 27, 2024 at the Evanston History Center.

Participants must either:

  • Complete the EHC ReFashioning History Entry Form online, or,
  • Print the EHC ReFashioning History Entry Form, fill it out, and deliver it in person or by mail, to the Evanston History Center, ReFashioning History Showcase, 225 Greenwood Street, Evanston, IL 60201.
  • Submit a $10 entry fee for each Age Division or Category entry. The fee can be submitted online by clicking here. Checks (payable to the Evanston History Center) and cash can be delivered in person or by mail to the address above. All requests for waiver of fee will be honored.
  • Entry Form Deadline (EXTENDED!): April 6, 2024, at 5 pm (CST).
  • Fold or roll entries and pack in a box of appropriate size; use tissue paper between layers to prevent wrinkles. Garments should be placed in a garment bag or paper cover for protection. Do not include hangers.
  • Garments or accessories and a copy of the entry form must be delivered in person or by mail, at the participant’s expense, on or before June 3, 2024 at 5 pm.  Late entries will be disqualified.

The Jury is composed of both Academics and Professionals.  The winning designs are selected according to form, functional and evocative aspects of the garments and/or accessories.  The entries are considered for their degree of innovation, aesthetic qualities, choice of materials and fabric, and realization techniques, in addition to the demonstrated inspirational link to one or more of the selected EHC Costume Collection items.  The decision of the judges is final.

  • Participants must select all fabrics, materials and supplies. Participants must sew, knit, crochet felt, or otherwise construct or build all garments or accessories. They may receive instruction and advice from teachers or advisors, and they may work in teams of two or more for the final realization of the object.  If a team creates an entry, all team members must be credited.
  • Participants agree to abide by all the rules and regulations, and will accept the decision of the judges as final.  Failure to comply with the rules will result in disqualification.
  • Participants will be notified of initial selection by April 26. Selected participants must complete the realization of the submitted designs in order to participate in the Showcase.
  • Participants will be notified of results after the final judging by June 14.
  • Decisions of the judges will be final.
  • Keep a “back-up” copy of all paperwork, and photos.
  • Winning garments and accessories will be returned to the participants in the same containers as they were received.  Winning garments or accessories must be picked up between November 4 and November 9, 2024

Purchase your ticket to the ReFashioning History Fundraiser >

ReFashioning History is made possible by these generous community sponsors:

Haute Couture Sponsor:

Hagerty logo

Pret-a-Porter Sponsors:

Evanston Community Bank and Trust

Susan and Dave Turner

Katie Trippi
The Struve Family Women

Style Sponsor: Hannah Handmade

Additional support provided by:

Board of Directors for the Evanston History Center

Northwestern’s Office of Neighborhood and Community Relations

Josh and Julie Chernoff

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