Street-fashion exhibit launches new Cornell collection that is looking for donations

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Punk, goth, hippie, neohippie, hip hop and hipster are just a few types of street fashion that Cornell researchers are taking seriously. A new exhibit, "Street Fashion and Youth Subculture: An Ethnographic Costume Exhibition," featuring more than 50 authentic examples of street fashion, has opened in the Elizabeth Schmeck Brown Costume and Textile Gallery, located on the third floor of Cornell's Martha Van Rensselaer Hall. It will be up until May 9, 2007.

The exhibit is the culmination of a three-year, ongoing ethnographic survey of Ithaca street style and its meanings, led by Van Dyk Lewis, professor in the Department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design (formerly the Department of Textiles and Apparel) in the College of Human Ecology, with the help of student researchers.

The Cornell Costume and Textile Collection is seeking donations of street fashion, past and present, to help build a study center for street style at Cornell.

"The cutting edge of fashion emerges from street style of youth subcultures," explains Charlotte Jirousek, associate professor and curator of the Cornell Costume and Textile Collection. "Street style is very individualized fashion that is created by the wearer and is considered hip or cool in the subculture that they are trying to identify with."

The intention of the exhibit, Jirousek says, "is to explore the roots of modern fashion, and also to inaugurate a special collection of street style within the Cornell Costume and Textile Collection."

The street style collection on view in the gallery was largely collected by student researcher Denise Green '07, who is also curating the exhibit. Green took study participants shopping at thrift and vintage stores and solicited gifts of clothing and accessories. Some ensembles for the exhibit are on loan from study participants.

To donate clothes, preferably ensembles, of street fashion that was considered part of a current or past subculture, contact Jirousek at or (607) 255-8064. The gallery is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

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