Preserving history through fashion.
The 10Dresses Project is dedicated to bringing fashion history alive in local communities and wider audiences through study, preservation, education, storytelling, and immersive experiences.
The 10Dresses Project envisions creating opportunities within our communities (regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, economic status and other diverse backgrounds) to study, work with, learn from, create, and "walk a mile in" the apparel of our past in order to better understand our history and the culture uniquely interwoven in the design, construction and wearing of clothing.
The 10Dresses Project was the brainchild of one persistent woman, Rebecca Russell.
Initially, Rebecca's vision was to create a rotating art installation of 10 Dresses that would showcase a fusion of history, textiles, fashion and art. The original idea came to her in 2021 while shopping in her local JoAnn Fabric store. She came across several bolts of reproduction Kente fabric and wondered to herself what 10 dresses spanning 200 years of American fashion would look like all created in the same Kente fabric. Rebecca began developing the idea and believed in the merits of the expression as an art form, a discussion piece and an exploration into American and African history. Unfortunately, the pushback she received was fierce, and Rebecca eventually capitulated on the original idea (though she hasn't given it up completely).
Not wanting to give up on the spirit of the idea of merging art, history and fashion, Rebecca set out to re-brand The 10Dresses Project and breathe new life into the organization. She filed for non-profit status and lit a fire under the mission and vision. Today, the 10Dresses Project is all about bringing fashion & history to local communities and igniting sparks everywhere it can.
Clothing tells a story! And all the elements that go into clothing - patterns, design, fabric, sewing, trimming, and blood, sweat and tears (truly!) - make up the WHOLE STORY of what it means to clothe ourselves. Youth understand this on a visceral level, but often miss the history that critically underpins the culture and skills inherent in the design and fabrication of the very clothing they wear to tell their stories. Understanding that history on an intimate level, and preserving all those skills and stories, is critical. More importantly, sewing is quickly becoming a lost art. More than just an art, sewing is a life skill that could make the difference in a young person's ability to afford the clothing and fashions they are wearing. These skills need to be taught, and in a context that embraces the historical importance in which they developed.
Rebecca believed strongly enough in the importance of this mission to start The 10Dresses Project and we believe that you will believe in its importance, too!
The 10Dress Project is born from a shared vision of preserving and celebrating the timeless beauty of historical eras. Our core purpose is to immerse history enthusiasts in the elegance and charm of the past through historical clothing and the curation of meticulously detailed historical events.
The Vision: Crafting History with Care
The foundation of The 10Dresses Project lies in a deep-seated passion for history and an unwavering commitment to ensuring that the rich tapestry of our cultural heritage endures. Our vision is to provide a gateway for individuals who share our love for history to experience it in a profoundly personal and authentic way. We aspire to be a bridge to the past, allowing our members to wear and embody history.
Goals for Moving Forward:
In moving forward, The 10Dresses Project will continue to merge the past with the present, crafting a future where history is not just remembered but lived. Our commitment to precision and passion is unwavering, and we are excited to embark on this journey with all those who share our love for history.