BY N.G. Onuoha
Tweed jackets, blazers, corduroys and plaid neckties are currently on display in “Ivy Style,” a new exhibition at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in Chelsea.
The exhibit, sponsored by Brooks Brothers, is a collection of classic Ivy League staples whose influences date back to the campuses of Princeton, Yale and Harvard in the early 1900s. “Ivy Style” is part of an ongoing series of exhibits at the museum at FIT, but one of a rare group dedicated to the evolution of a menswear trend. For Caleb Poling, a fashion merchandising student at FIT, the collection was refreshing. “Its one of the first times since I’ve been at FIT that the museum focused on menswear,” said the 21 year old junior. “It says a lot about our faculty, providing things we’re interested in.”
Poling, who runs a personal menswear blog called Skinny Suspenders, said his personal style is influenced by the preppy trends of the Ivy League with a modern twist. “I think its definitely part of my aesthetic,” he said. “Mixing high top sneakers with a navy blue blazer…that’s our generation’s interpretation of what we’ve seen in the past.”
In a two day “Ivy Style” fashion symposium hosted by the museum in early November, scholars and industry professionals discussed the cultural and historical influences of Ivy League trends. Oxford and Cambridge style were at the center of a presentation by University of Edinburg professor Christopher Breward. Menswear writer Bruce Boyer discussed the influence of ivy style on jazz musicians, and Barnard English professor, Monica Miller displayed photos showing the evolution of ivy style’s influence on African-American college students at historically black colleges and universities.
“Ivy Style” is now on display at the museum at FIT until January 5, 2013. For more information on the exhibit and its book titled “Ivy League”, visit the museum’s website.