24 Calendar

April 1, 2019
Contact: Wendy Malloy
Museum of History & Industry PR
206 324 1126 Ext. 150

Rarely-Seen Garments and Accessories On View at Seattle Style: Fashion/Function Exhibit

April 1, 2019

Exceptional collection showcases the complex history of clothing in Seattle 

May 4–October 14, 2019

SEATTLE, WA – What Seattleites wear—past and present—reveals something captivating about the city. This and more will be unveiled in Seattle Style: Fashion/Function, a major new exhibit presented by Nordstrom, featuring garments and accessories from Seattle’s Museum of History & Industry’s (MOHAI) collection, on view May 4-October 14, 2019.

No single style defines this region. Instead, when we look at the clothing made and worn here, enduring themes emerge: influences of the weather, ambition, a casual nature, and a spirit of people forging a new path.

This exciting exhibit highlights how elegance and practicality co-existed and converged in Seattle wardrobes, providing new insights into local clothing, ranging from couture to grunge aesthetics.  Alone, few of these ingredients are unique to Seattle. But, woven together, a distinct local story emerges.

“Our customers come from all parts of the community, and we have been in business for more than 118 years to help them feel good by expressing their personal style,” said Adrienne Hixon, Nordstrom Downtown Seattle Store Manager. “We’re thrilled to sponsor this exciting exhibition in our hometown, and to celebrate Seattle’s rich fashion history.”

Rarely-seen garments and accessories from MOHAI’s collection uncover the complex history of clothing in Seattle, including its innovations, its influence and its connections to the broader fashion world, as well as the continuing impact of local stores, companies, and designers.

Curated by MOHAI’s Collections Specialist for Costumes and Textiles Clara Berg, the exhibit explores the sensibility of Seattle fashion, bringing together men’s and women’s fashions from the mid-1800s to today.


“Seattle has a rich history of clothing makers and style leaders,” said Berg. “Outdoor gear, casualwear, grunge—are connected to key parts of our history and had a national and international impact. There are many stories of high fashion in Seattle as well—people who wore it, stores that imported it, and designers who made it.”

Organized into four main sections, Seattle Style surveys key influences on local clothing. Nature and Place explores the relationship with our environment and garments designed for outdoor adventures. Growth and Aspiration tells stories about how clothing options expanded as Seattle became increasingly metropolitan. Northwest Casual takes a deeper look at the city’s affinity for casualwear and its leadership in the casual clothing industry. Innovators and Rule Breakers celebrates Seattle’s rebellious and creative designers and style leaders.

The exhibit is accompanied by a companion book, Seattle Style: Fashion/Function. Edited by Berg, with a foreword by internationally known Seattle-based fashion designer Luly Yang, Seattle Style unveils the complex narrative of Seattle’s vibrant clothing scene.

Additional generous support for Seattle Style: Fashion/Function has been provided by the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Laird Norton Wealth Management, Mike Repass, Eddie Bauer, ArtsFund and the Guendolen Carkeek Plestcheeff Endowment for the Decorative and Design Arts, 4Culture, and the MOHAI Exhibits Fund.

Up-to-date information about Seattle Style: Fashion/Function  and related programming can be found in the MOHAI online calendar, on Facebook or by calling (206) 324-1126.

Upcoming Programs and Events Related to the Seattle Style: Fashion/Function Exhibit

(Details are subject to change, and additional programs and events may be added).

Seattle Style: Fashion/Function Opening Day

Saturday, May 4

10 am – 5 pm

Free for MOHAI members; included with museum admission

Celebrate the opening of Seattle Style: Fashion/Function with a journey through Seattle’s vibrant and complex history of clothing. Tour the exhibit and see artifacts ranging from couture to grunge aesthetics. Go behind the scenes and view rarely seen garments and accessories from the mid-1800s to today.

Seattle Style Docent-Led Tours

Weekday afternoons and Saturdays through Oct. 14

MOHAI, Walker Gallery

See MOHAI’s website for group tour rates; reservations required

Dive deeper into the rich history of Seattle’s clothing makers and style leaders in these intimate 30-minute docent-led tours on weekday afternoons and Saturdays through the run of MOHAI’s Seattle Style exhibit.

Ethical Fashion: Rethinking the Future of an Industry

Wednesday, May 8, 7 pm

$5 MOHAI Members/$10 General Public

Much of the available today is made unethically, worn briefly, and discarded in a landfill when trends change. How can we create fashionable clothing in a more ethical way while designing and developing eco-friendly, sustainable products? Join us for a panel conversation moderated by Sydney Mintle of Gossip & Glamour, featuring local innovators who are redesigning the future of fashion production.

Behind the Seams: High Fashion Favorites

Saturday, May 11, 11 am, 12 pm, and 2 pm

$10 MOHAI Members/$15 Students/$25 General Public; includes museum admission

The special exhibit, Seattle Style: Fashion/Function features an exciting sample of glamorous garments from MOHAI’s collection. Here’s an opportunity to exhibit curator, Clara Berg, for sneak peek of her favorite hidden garments. While at MOHAI, shop local artists and fashion designers at the Mother’s Day Pop Up event at the museum’s MOHAI Mercantile. Enjoy mimosas and other treats while you shop. Special discount for MOHAI members!

INTRINSIC: Student Designer Fashion Show

Friday, May 17, 7 pm

$10 MOHAI Members & Students/$20 General Public

View the future of Seattle fashion in this interactive fashion presentation featuring Seattle Pacific University’s MODE Fashion Group. Student designers and stylists present collections shaped by Seattle history developed in conversation with local fashion businesses and responding to the challenge of designing for a broadly inclusive audience. Meet the designers, view their collections, and learn about their design journeys.

(Re)Fashion: Clothing Repair Fair

Saturday, June 1, 11 am – 2 pm

Demonstration 11 am–2 pm; Workshops at 11 am and 2 pm

Demonstration Free for MOHAI Members (included with admission)

Workshop $30 General Public/$15 Members; includes museum admission

Refuse fast fashion and reclaim your clothes. Join our region’s top clothing saviors to learn how to mend and restore cherished articles from your wardrobe. Drop-in to a mending demonstration, or purchase tickets to a hands-on repair workshop. Visit our website for more details about the creative visible mending techniques offered on this day.

Behind the Seams: Fashioning the Ideal Body

Saturday, June 22

11:00 am; 12:00 pm; 2:00 pm

$10 MOHAI Members/$15 Students/$25 General Public; includes museum admission

In every era, fashionable clothing is designed with an ideal body in mind. Join Seattle Style: Fashion/Function curator, Clara Berg, for a look at how these ever-shifting ideals were built into garments to shape the body and fool the eye. These intimate one-hour sessions allow viewers to discover garments in detail and hear the stories that make them special.

Cocktails & Clothing: Designing Sustainable Fashion

Wednesday, June 26, 7 pm

$30 Members/$50 General Public (21+ Over) Free cocktail included with ticket.

For one night, MOHAI hosts local designers leading the new wave of sustainable fashion in this interactive evening of cocktails and creativity. Witness the unique design process of Janelle Abbott and try your hand at fun and funky upcycling with Malia Peoples. Discover a range of sustainable garments at pop-up shops by Zakiya Cita of The Chayah Movement and Prairie Underground. Remember the evening with a live sketch created by fashion illustrator Galina Adzhigirey.

Seattle Style Month

September 1–30

September is Seattle Style Month! Celebrate MOHAI’s featured exhibit Seattle Style: Fashion/Function with a month-long, city-wide salute to Seattle’s passion for fashion and culture. Unique fashion-inspired events and programs will take place across the city!

Location, Hours, and Admission

MOHAI is located at 860 Terry Ave. in Seattle. Exhibit gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is free on first Thursdays to MOHAI’s regular galleries and open until 8 p.m. As part of the Museums For All program, low-income families can visit MOHAI for a minimal fee of $2 per person with the presentation of an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. For more information, call (206) 324-1126.

Image Captions: Two-piece ball gown, house of Schiaparelli, Paris, maker, Ruth Schoenfeld Blethen Clayburgh,owner ca. 1951. © MOHAI Collection. Sidesaddle riding habit, Shogren, Portland, maker ca. 1907. © MOHAI Collection. Beige Boots, loan courtesy of Nordstrom Archives. Navy and White shoes, loan courtesy of Nordstrom Archives.


MOHAI is dedicated to enriching lives through preserving, sharing, and teaching the diverse history of Seattle, the Puget Sound region, and the nation. As the largest private heritage organization in the State of Washington; the museum engages communities through interactive exhibits, online resources, and award-winning public and youth education programs.  For more information about MOHAI, please visit, or call (206) 324-1126. Facebook: Twitter: @MOHAI.

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