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Enduring Style: Practice Makes Perfect

By: Bethany Hexom

June 5, 2014

Photo Credit: Steve Becker photography


Columbia College’s Fashion Studies program is partnering with Willis Tower for its Enduring Style: Practice Makes Perfect exhibition on display throughout the building’s ground-floor lobby through Sept. 5.

“The exhibition focuses on the longevity of good design,” said Virginia Heaven, assistant professor of Fashion Studies and exhibition curator. “Trends come and go but personal style is a constant, a reminder that we should acquire or perhaps curate our wardrobe of apparel to last for decades.”

The exhibition consists of 38 fashion ensembles created by current students and graduates of the Fashion program enhanced with 14 large-scale fashion photographs by students in the Photography Department. The images capture various moments in the design process as a backdrop to the ensembles, revealing a blend of ideas, research, skills and practical applications. The “enduring styles” are showcased in four categories:


• Experimental Style – re-evaluating a wearable silhouette, using innovative techniques to redefine high style, creating looks which appear out-of-step with today’s trends but pave the way for new thoughts on beauty and ready-to-wear apparel.

• City Style – emphasizing on-trend, wearable looks for the modern woman, taking the same outfit from the office to nightlife.

• Event Style – re-defining contemporary beauty and reviving the luster on classic event style, putting it back on luxurious, hand-made works.

• Art Style – highlighting personal and social values, these styles focus on society, culture and humanity with one-of-a-kind and ready-to-wear apparel design, as well as art objects, cosplay and theatrical costumes.


The exhibition also includes garments designed by students involved in the “Sari Re-imagined” project in partnership with the Eye on India Festival. They include 18 new looks that combine the best of tradition and innovation and are ‘housed’ in the soaring Wacker Drive lobby among three, 23-foot tall statuesque mannequins (santos) also made by students of the Fashion Studies Department.

The Fashion Studies Department is devoted to understanding, defining and practicing all things fashion forward with a conscience. Students have an opportunity to study design and making, merchandise management, visual merchandising and styling; they learn about the theory and practice of a vast fashion industry. They are emboldened to be the authors of the future of fashion.