September 22, 2023

The Moose Jaw branch of the Western Development Museum is set to host their annual historical fashion show, titled “Flower Power” on Sunday, June 24, at 1:00pm.

Keep your weekend free on Saturday, June 24th, as the Western Development Museum (WDM) is hosting their annual historical fashion show. This year, the theme is “Flower Power,” and will take place at 1:00 pm at the museum. 

“We are very excited to bring this program back. We had done it a few times before the pandemic, and this is the first one since 2019,” explains Karla Rasmussen, programs manager for the WDM.

The fashion show is a worthwhile visit, as the items are not on static display at the museum.

“Traditionally, the Moose Jaw location has a lot of transportation items in our collection. We have cars, we have planes, we have trains,” she says. “It’s kind of a nice way to get these pieces out, because we don’t really have a lot of textiles in most of our locations.”

“We have close to 80,000 artifacts in the whole WDM system. There are four museums, plus our corporate office. I think we have about a third of them actually out on display; everything else is in storage. That’s mainly because the valuable real estate in our museums is pretty full already.”

More than just a display of clothing, the fashion show is designed to tell Saskatchewan’s story through people and the clothing they wore, which tells a lot about an individual. 

“We have an MC who does a run-through with each ensemble that comes out, so we do get to look a little bit deeper than just seeing a pretty dress up on stage. We find out a little more about people who wore these items,” says Rasmussen. 

The fashion show uses their hands-on collection, which includes items that are not as fragile as those kept in storage.

“These ones are hands-on. So… we have more of them in the collection. If something rips or tears it’s not the end of the world, we can sew it.

“Whereas the ones we have in storage or in exhibits tend to be more special because they’re maybe one of a kind, and they may have a very particular Saskatchewan story connected with them.”

Rasmussen explains that the WDM is happy to tell Saskatchewan’s story through several approaches, and not just transportation as the Moose Jaw branch focuses on.

“This way it’s through clothing, and the people who wore them. We learn a little more about them. So, what did they chose it for? Was the item hand-made? What was their favourite colour? There are all kinds of little interesting threads that get woven together with this event.

“They go back… the earliest one is from the 1930s. Most of them, however, are from the 60s and 70s, where very loud floral patterns were kind of at their height.

“It’s very unique. Some of these are one of a kind because they were hand-made by an individual, rather than store bought.”

This year’s theme is “Flower Power.”

“We call this the ‘Flower Power’ fashion show because most of the patterns have flowers and floral patterns involved in some way, shape, or form…

“We do kind of see some of these things come back in fashion today, in 2023, but most of them will look a little bit shocking to us I think, because of those very bright floral patterns.”

These clothing items have been donated by Saskatchewan residents, which helps tell our story as these items were actually worn by the people who helped build and shape our province, rather than being reproductions or of general historical merit.

“All of these pieces have been donated by individuals and families over the years,” confirms Rasmussen.

For those looking to donate to the museum, they are still accepting donations but the number of items in storage continues to grow.

“We do still take donations, but… we’ve gotten a little pickier about what we accept,” says Rasmussen. “We have a list of things we don’t accept anymore, because we have so many of them already.

“I know one piece that is clothing related that we do not accept currently is wedding dresses. We have many, many, many wedding dresses from very far back to more modern times.

“However, if someone is interested in donating something, they can contact our Moose Jaw location.” 

For anyone looking to donate items to the WDM, or for more information on the fashion show, they can be reached at 306-693-5989.

If you are interested in modelling, they are still accepting volunteers for this event.