Fashion Design Students Study Local Immigrants

Fashion Design Students Study Local Immigrants

Students in the Fashion Design & Merchandising program at Ulster BOCES are working collaboratively with other local high school students on the Reher Center for Immigrant Culture and History’s "Stitched Together" project.

The Career & Technical Center students are creating clothing representing nine women who worked at the Jacobson and Sons Shirt Factory in Kingston during World War I.

The project began when students from Kingston Catholic School researched the 1918 Census to learn about the women and then shared their findings with Rhinebeck High School’s creative writing class. The Rhinebeck students then used this information to write diaries for each of the female garment workers, which they passed on to the Ulster BOCES students. After receiving the fictional biographies, the Ulster BOCES students considered the influences that the war and the women’s suffrage movement had on apparel, such as the emergence of more practical dresses with reconstructed silhouettes, to create their designs.

Videographer Paula Mitchell of Mitchell Communications compiled student-recorded interviews of the Ulster BOCES students, with topics of discussion including how the Stitched Together project brought the history of these individuals to life for the students and how it made them more appreciative of the roles that women played in the local garment industry.

The students’ finished outfits and the video will be part of an exhibit that will open in June in the Reher Center courtyard.

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