Ryerson Fashion Research Collection

Opening the closet door to a Canadian fashion archive

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Exhibitions of the Ryerson Fashion Research Collection

By Ingrid Mida, BA, MA. Collection Co-ordinator.


Evening Dress in white satin with black velvet applique. Label: Pat McDonagh. FRC2013.99.020.

One way collections come to life is through exhibitions. The public exhibition of garments from the Ryerson Fashion Research Collection has occurred only three times in its  thirty-two year history.

In June 1987, there was an exhibition of 1960s garments called “Youthquake: Canadian Fashion in the 1960s” for two weeks in the Olive Baker Lounge on campus. In a Toronto Star article called “Exhibit Features ’60s gear” by Fashion writer Nancy Hastings she interviewed Professor Kathy Cleaver who put the exhibit together with student Jacques Buteau. Kathy was quoted as saying she “felt it was important to look back on the beginnings of this Canadian fashion consciousness” and that she had “recovered vintage garments from designers’ storerooms and fashionable closets”.

Toronto Star Article, June 11, 1987 "Exhibit features '60s gear"

Toronto Star Article, June 11, 1987 “Exhibit features ’60s gear”

In October 1989, there was an exhibition of early 20th century garments called “Every hour an Occasion, Women’s Dress 1900-1910” curated by Kathy Cleaver and Alan Suddon and designed by Robert Ott for display in the Olive Baker Lounge on campus.

In November 2007, the School of Fashion celebrated its 40-year anniversary with an exhibition at the Design Exchange in Toronto called “From Home Ec to High Tech: 60 Years of Fashion Education at Ryerson”. This display traced the evolution of the School of Fashion from its inception in 1948 and was researched and designed by students and supervised by Dr. Alison Matthews David. Photos of that exhibit are available here.

Although there are no immediate plans to have a public exhibition, this digital portal – as well as the Pinterest site – might be thought of as a online museum – a gallery open at your convenience – wherever and whenever you need it!

This project has been sponsored by a grant from the Learning & Teaching Office of Ryerson University.