Galaudet Gallery showcases the art of fashion design in ‘Bread and Roses’ exhibition

This winter’s exhibits honor early gender politics and promote the finer things in life

More stories from Madeline Peterson


Photo by Kar Wei Cheng

The fashion illustrations of “Bread and Roses” and the floral-themed art of “Choix Roses: les Deux” work in combination as a homage to political activist Rose Schneiderman.

This winter, the Galaudet Gallery on Farwell Street is paying tribute to early gender politics and the art of fashion design. Their 2018 Winter Show entitled “Bread and Roses: Fashion Illustration by Fashion Designers” features illustrations created by renowned designers such as Betsy Johnson, Alexander McQueen and Karl Lagerfield.

The show this winter is twofold. Alongside the fashion illustrations, an exhibit of floral-themed artwork entitled “Choix Roses: les Deux” is also featured. This complementary exhibit showcases work by artists such as Pierre Redouté and Jan van Huysum.

According to the gallery’s website, the “Bread and Roses” exhibition is intended as a homage to Rose Schneiderman, a political activist who promoted socialism and feminism along with being a prominent female labor union leader.

Gallery owner Vicki Milewski founded the Galaudet Gallery alongside her brother Mike Milewski in 2010. She said she first learned of Rose Schneiderman when she attended a lecture on influential women of the 1920s and 1930s.

“Schneiderman promoted thinking beyond survival . . . in order to be healthy we need to have things like art, music and fashion,” Vicki Milewski said.

The gallery website states that Schneiderman is known for empowering laborers and promoting culture, and it is from her quote, “The worker must have bread, but she must have roses, too,” that the exhibition gets its name.

The “Choix Roses: les Deux” exhibit is an extension of the Galaudet Gallery’s holiday show. Milewski came up with the idea to bring in fashion design as a complement to the floral theme of “Choix Roses.”

“The idea was bouquets and beauty,” said Milewski, who plans the gallery’s exhibitions as far as two years in advance.

The fashion illustrations come from various locations around the world and are representative of numerous time periods from the early 20th century to present day.

While deciding which pieces to feature in the show, Milewski said she wanted to keep affordability in mind and feature a range of sale prices for the illustrations.

“We wanted some affordable pieces that people can enjoy in their homes . . . we try to cater to everyone,” said Milewski, who encourages students to make art a part of their daily lives. “When you’re in school, you want things around you that inspire you. I encourage people to make and invest in art.”

Milewski considers a collection of designs by British fashion designer Alexander McQueen to be among her favorite pieces in the “Bread and Roses” exhibition. She said the set of three illustrations is entitled “The Girl Who Lived in a Tree” and was inspired by a 600-year-old elm tree.

An artist herself, Milewski said she appreciates the ability of McQueen to tell a story through his designs.

“It’s like a fairytale told through his clothes,” said Milewski.

Although Rose Schneiderman was known for addressing issues of the early- to mid-20th century, Milewski believes that the message of the “Bread and Roses” exhibition is still applicable to today’s society.

“A lot of conversations don’t include the ‘roses.’ We need to be able to enjoy the finer things in life,” Milewski said.

“Bread and Roses” and “Choix Roses: les Deux” will be featured at the Galaudet Gallery until May 20, 2018. More information about the gallery and upcoming exhibitions can be found on the gallery website.