By Krista DeJulio & Samantha Plumley – Features Editor & 1851 Staff
Jill Carey, Associate Professor of Fashion and curator of the Lasell Fashion Collection, recently traveled to Hanoi, Vietnam to acquire more than 40 pieces of “both vintage and current ethnic dress” from local Vietnamese culture. Carey traveled with a group of Lasell students who were participating in a Shoulder-to-Shoulder service trip in December.
Carey’s overall purpose for travelling was to purchase pieces, develop contacts, and collect resources not avail- able in the US. She also joined Lasell students with their service initiative.
“Through this experience I learned about the impact that poverty has on Vietnamese families and the welfare of their children,” said Carey.
Lasell students partnered with Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, which protects Vietnamese children against trafficking. The foundation focuses on the health, well-being, and education of the children, with the ultimate goal of reuniting them with their families. By participating in the trip, Carey gained insight regarding the Hanoi community, including the issues faced by its people.
Carey applied and received two grants to fund her trip and purchase the clothing. Carey said she “did not want to pass [this opportunity] by,” as she had traveled to China last May and did not make any purchases for the school’s collection.
In addition to the service learning aspects of the trip, Carey traveled with David Thomas, an expert in Vietnamese art, in the search for the desired garments. Through Thomas, Carey made contacts with expert authenticators and people who collected such garments. The network provided her with opportunities to purchase garments for men, women, children, and ceremonial attire, for a small exhibition for the Lasell Fashion Collection.
Many of the garments feature embroidery design and appliqué throughout with accompanying patterns and velvet accents. The garments are dark, yet colorful, with floral patterns and wrapped skirts as well as head pieces.
The Lasell Fashion Collection includes a “working collection and exhibition collection.” As a resource to the fashion department, students have access to the working collection for studying purposes. The collection is also beneficial to courses involving sociology and history because of the cultural and historical backgrounds that clothes depict. Pieces in the collection can be used in displays on and off campus, even loaned to outside exhibitors.
Carey expects the exhibit to go live within the next two years once each garment is authenticated and cataloged. The garments will be showcased in the Wedeman Art Gallery in Yamawaki.
Senior fashion merchandising major Jessica Lomas said, “As a cataloger for the Lasell Fashion Collection, I have been inspired by the pieces [Carey] has chosen to archive; her newest selections from her travels to Vietnam are no exception. They capture the culture and time period to educate and attract students from all majors and interests.”
Carey said the exhibition would be “the first of its kind” and these garments will “add to the global profile of the collection.”
Like most clothing collections, the Lasell Fashion Collection contains a majority of garments that originate from Europe and the US. Through partnerships with other colleges and galleries, the exposure of these garments on the community will provide cultural understanding of traditional Vietnamese style and handcrafted techniques.