Explore the Space

The Prep

Opens May 10

Jill Stuart Gallery, Human Ecology Building

Curated by: Sophie Wang, ‘21

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Denise N. Green

Funded by: The Charlotte A. Jirousek Undergraduate Research Fellowship

The Prep is a curatorial styling exhibit that analyses the trajectory of the preppy style from its origins to modern day. In exploring the stylistic and lifestyle characteristics that constitute being a prep, the history of how the subculture came to be, and how media representations have influenced the style and its demographic over time, the exhibit touches upon themes of nostalgia, class, inclusivity, and uniformity.

“Fashion fosters societal change, reacting to and pushing forward political and historical movements. As a student, this has always been my focus of study: the industry’s interconnectedness with progress,” Sophie Wang, ‘21, states. “To be progressive is to challenge inequity, exclusion, and the status quo — themes that prep inherently embodies. To me, the style has always felt static and in opposition to change, representing a time and belief system that we as a society must move past. Through my research and mounting this exhibition, I wanted to critically examine the style, challenging my own ideas and considering whether preppy has ever or can ever symbolize progress and drive change.”

Through garments and home decor, the exhibit lets the viewer walk through the world of preppies without complete access to the inside of it — creating a space of exclusion central to the style’s roots and posing the following question: Can a style rooted in exclusivity and uniformity ever break out of its origins to be inclusive, diverse, and individualized?

Visit The Prep from May 10 to find out.