Follow the Thread

a textile & costume history blog from the Design Center at Thomas Jefferson University

The Design Center Inspired My Love for Historical Fashion


by Gabrielle Ramos

Hi, it’s Gabby Ramos, working at the Design Center for my final year of college! Since I’ve worked in the Design Center for about three and a half years, I’ve been able to see a variety of collections of different backgrounds and time periods. I feel that working at the Design Center elevated my knowledge of historical fashion, and sparked a new passion. I was able to use this love of historical fashion to my advantage and create class projects based on objects from the Design Center.

Initially, I think the idea to incorporate historical fashion into my class projects started with two garments I saw at the Design Center. I viewed these corsets, from the Victorian era, and it sent me down a rabbit hole to research similar time periods. I loved being able to see garments so elegant and feminine, and viewing them brought me to a time period I wanted to learn more about.

T&CC 1984.67.1j
T&CC 2022.3.1

Quickly, I fell in love with the Rococo time period which inspired my Junior Studio project. For this fashion design course, we created a concept and design and made the physical garment by the end of the semester. The main concept for my junior year project focused on fine art and fashion from the Rococo period. I mainly focused my concept around a painting called The Swing and combined it with my modern interpretation of women’s fashion from the Rococo time period. Scroll down to see my concept board and final look for my Junior Studio project.

Junior Year Concept Board:
Inspired by the painting, “The Swing” from the Rococo Time Period

For my senior year Portfolio and Fashion Design Layout Class, I wanted to use my Junior Studio concept of being inspired by historical fashion, but change the designs. So, I returned to the corsets at the Design Center and chose to re-imagine sleepwear and lingerie from the Rococo era for the class project.

Personally, those corsets were able to bring me back in time to an era so extravagant and beautiful which was something I wanted to highlight in my collection. My interest in the Rococo time period continued due to its beauty, femininity and soft color palette, which supported my concept. Scroll down to see my concept board and designs for my Rococo inspired sleepwear collection.

Senior Portfolio Project #1: Inspired by the Design Center’s Corsets & Rococo Fashion
Senior Project #1: Rococo sleepwear inspired fashion illustrations

Finally, I also want to note my senior collection since I took my love of historical fashion in a different direction. I was drawn to Italian Renaissance art, from a trip to Italy I took  last summer. While I was in Italy, I had the privilege of viewing Italian Renaissance fine art which included iconic paintings and sculptures. Seeing some of the art in person took my breath away! I was inspired by the religious and mythological stories told through the artwork ranging from the Birth of Venus to Sistine Madonna. I was also inspired by the sculptures’ ability to show draping, which connected to many of the silhouettes I designed. All of this inspired my senior collection, in which I am creating six garments that show my own interpretation of a selection of Renaissance paintings.

Senior Project #1: Rococo sleepwear inspired fashion illustrations


As a lover of historical fashion and the fine arts, working at the Design Center has benefited me so much. It has kept my love of historical fashion alive and introduced me to new time periods that would have never crossed my mind. With all the interesting objects and garments that live in the Design Center, there is always something new to be inspired by. Personally, I love gaining inspiration from the clothing around me, and the Design Center is the perfect place to do it. Come by the Design Center if you ever need some inspiration!

Check out these other projects by Gabby:

Online Portfolio:


Collection Intern, Textile & Costume Collection, The Design Center, Thomas Jefferson University

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