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Rarely-seen garments from Seattle's Museum of History & Industry on view at the Seattle Style exhibit
Two-tone oxford, 1930s. Loan courtesy of Nordstrom Archives.

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 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 forward by internationally known Seattle-based fashion designer Luly Yang, Seattle Style unveils the complex narrative of Seattle’s vibrant clothing scene.

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