Ann DuPont, fashion merchandising program coordinator, returned to Texas State five years ago with a passion for program building after working at the University of Texas for 32 years.
DuPont spoke to The University Star about wardrobe, history and the progress of the fashion merchandising program.
AG: What was your role at UT?
AD: I was the director of their retail merchandising program and I was also the curator of the costume collection. We worked a lot with the Harry Ransom Center. I’ve helped and had students help with research, display, mounting and conservation for the “Gone with the Wind” collection, as well as many other collections. The university collection itself is close to 4,000 pieces.
AG: What is your favorite collection or piece of wardrobe?
AD: I would have to say the “Gone with the Wind” collection. And I guess maybe the wedding dress in “Gone with the Wind” because I have a personal collection of antique wedding gowns. I am the only person who has ever received permission to create an authentic copy of the wedding gown. I measured it line for line from the original and did lots of research. I have it in my bridal collection that I show everywhere.
AG: Are there any pieces you wish you could get your hands on?
AD: Right now I wish I could get my hands on lots of pieces. We are starting a costume collection and the college has been very supportive of that. The college has given us gallery space, conservation area and storage space. The Witte Museum is providing the fledgling start to our collection, so we have some pieces that are our own now. I think in the near future we will be openly asking for pieces that have prominence in this area and can help us build a collection all on our own here at Texas State.
AG: Can you tell me about the current exhibit on display at Texas State?
AD: Yes, we have different exhibitions that rotate constantly. The exhibit currently up in room 158 in the Family and Consumer Sciences Building is about the Chautauqua and the Chautauqua movement in San Marcos. It features clothing that would have been worn by the Chautauqua, pictures and something about the concept of what the Chautauqua was when it existed here and its legacy to Texas State. Because it was really the beginning of Texas State.
AG: Why is wardrobe an important part of history?
AD: I do teach the history classes. And we teach them from a social history point of view because clothing is one of the most personal articles that you come in contact with in your life time. It tells us a lot about the era that produced it and the social context in which it was worn. It’s fun to trace different items and see what they tell us about their time period.
AG: What can be expected in the future of fashion merchandising at Texas State?
AD: We are very excited that we are making good progress on getting a master’s degree in merchandising and consumer sciences.