This display introduces the Functional Fashions clothing line (1955-1976), in which nearly thirty of the United States’ top clothing designers created garments to fit disabled bodies. It remains largest collaborative effort to create clothing by, with, and for disabled persons in American history. Brands ranged from high-end sportswear to everyday labels. Leading the charge was designer Helen Cookman (1894–1973), whose own disability was hearing loss. This display explores how the Functional Fashions line attempted to help disabled users meet the mental and physical requirements of the postwar American ideal of independence. Read more about the installation here.
Functional Fashions is open in the Jane and George Kaiser Gallery of 20th and 21st Century Design at the Milwaukee Art Museum.
March 23, 2019 - April 1, 2020