Students Gain Experiential Learning Documenting Designer Bonnie Cashin

The University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning could be teaming up with Ohio State University on a fashion-forward project dedicated to Bonnie Cashion, an innovative American fashion designer of the mid-20th century.

Jennifer H. Krivickas, head of UC’s Robert A. Deshon and Karl J. Schlachter Library, will meet with Gayle Strege at OSU in May to discuss possible collaborations on a substantial grant to digitize the Bonnie Cashin collections in a globally accessible database.

“We’re so very excited the Bonnie Cashin project is gaining steam and momentum through the hard work of UC students,” Krivickas said. “A potential partnership with OSU would only make this work even more meaningful.”

Krivickas is the lead professor for “Documenting a Fashion Icon,” an ongoing UC Forward class through which students can study the legendary designer’s collection by photographing and writing descriptions of the clothing as well as learning from local curators and museum professionals.

The UC Bonnie Cashin Collection includes just more than 200 garments, which Cashin designed for Sills and Co., from 1960 through the 1970s. Known for her embrace of separates as a practical fashion alternative for women whose lives were growing ever more complex and ever more fashion-conscious, Cashin made waves but also fans who carried her guiding principles forward into a new generation of clothing styles.

The Cashin-focused UC Forward class was initially offered in 2013 and then again during this past semester. The course is hands-on and incorporates trans-disciplinary work for students across colleges. Students from the College of Design, Art, Architecture & Planning learn alongside students from the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences and other collegiate homes. That’s part of the beauty of UC Forward classes, Krivickas said. Students who would never otherwise have a reason to work together discover shared lessons by studying and then caring for Cashin’s designs.

DAAP initially inherited the Cashin garments as a gift from OSU. A potential partnership would bring the history of the collection full circle, Krivickas said.

Krivickas and UC students have also spent time presenting the fruits of their documentary and preservation work. This spring, students presented their research using actual Cashin garments to illustrate what they’d learned during a luncheon at the Cincinnati Art Museum, and also partnered with the museum to showcase the Cashin exhibition.

The UC Bonnie Cashin class was

highlighted in Women’s Wear Daily

this week.

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