History Turned Digitized

WRITTEN BY: ERIKA PATNAUDE

“These rooms have so many people’s stories,” said Professor and Lasell Fashion Collection Curator Jill Carey as she shut one of the collection room doors filled with shelves and shelves of historical fashion.

The Lasell Fashion Collection is an amazing resource for fashion students, and we are so blessed to be able to utilize garments from a range of years and cultures right at our fingertips. I have been working with the collection since the fall semester and fell in love with learning about historical fashion.

Throughout my time with the collection, my colleague Jessie Bowens and I have worked together since the fall semester. This semester another fashion student, Rebecca Glick joined in on the fun. In the beginning, Jessie and I worked on many projects such as window displays, creating inventory lists, developing many organizational systems, and more. However, no project as is big as what we started last week.

Our fashion collection is so impressive and should be utilized by people outside of Lasell College. Many colleges with fashion collections have digitized their collections so anyone is able to view their archives. We decided that Lasell College needs this platform to broaden our presence. There are too many amazing garments for us not to do so. So, my colleagues and I did some research and found some sites to use as a template so we would have an idea of what we wanted our web presence to look like.

Prior to our research, Professor Carey applied for a grant to have a photographer come in and photograph some of our amazing artifacts and the grant was accepted. Before our photoshoot, we had a meeting with various individuals from different areas of expertise to brainstorm ideas of what our digitization would look like, then a couple days later we started our photo shoot

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The shoot began on President’s Day at around 9:00 A.M., and didn’t finish until about after 4:00 P.M. It was a full day, but it was filled with excitement. We started with the flat handbags. My colleagues and I each had our own role to ensure that we stayed organized throughout this process. My job was to assist the photographers, David Parnes and Peter Gumaskast, and perfect the details before shooting. I had so much fun, and it was exhilarating creating our digital platform.

After photographing the flat laying handbags, we started with the stand-up ones. We had a goal of photographing artifacts on a turnstile so all sides of the archive are visible, and we accomplished it seamlessly. It was such a fulfilling feeling to have a goal, and accomplish it so beautifully. The photos are exceptional quality, and our teamwork was just as exquisite.

The next step in this process that we completed was to create a wireframing of what we envision the Lasell Fashion Collection site to look like. Following this wireframe, we have now created a spreadsheet in which we have taken the data from the existing Lasell Fashion Collection site and figured out where this data should go on the new site. We have also made a goal to create an LFC Instagram to showcase artifacts. It is a difficult process, but I am so excited for it to play out. In the meantime, Professor Jill Carey will be working on applying for a grant to be able to accomplish the digitization goal. We are also expected to present at the Lasell College’s Symposium to share our wireframing, Instagram, and our amazing photos.

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We are so blessed to attend a college with this impressive of a resource. To be able to access these artifacts and actually use our senses when observing them is something to brag about. As fashion students, we don’t know how lucky we have it. Someday Lasell College’s artifacts will be available online for everyone around the world to see, and I will always remember fixing those handbag straps before the flash went off.

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