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Sunday, Dec. 10
The Indiana Daily Student

Bicentennial arts

The evolution of IU spirit wear

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In the course of history, 200 years is not a long time. However,200 years is the difference between cream and crimson versus crimson and black and other fashion trends that have transitioned to the styles that students and fans wear today.

The famous colors and styles that now adorn IU’s campus weren't always the norm. According to an article published by the then-named Indiana Student in 1888 said, the school colors were crimson and black. In 1903, the renamed Daily Student published an article declaring that the cream and crimson duo were the official IU colors. 

The Sage Fashion Collection at IU’s Eskenazi Museum of Art houses 24 pieces of IU related items and apparel, with most dating back to the early 1900s. 

“Most of the oldest pieces are red cardigans and letter sweaters with the letter I on the front,” said Kelly Richardson, curator of the Sage Fashion Collection.

Richardson said that their oldest item is a cream-and-crimson graduation dress dating back to 1879.

Spirit wear started in the early to mid 20th century, when sports teams had logos printed to identify one team from the other. It wasn’t until the 1960s-70s that fans started wearing those logos on T-shirts. 

“It is the ultimate souvenir, like a personal billboard,” said Richardson.

While the T-shirt trend has remained, styles have expanded to include a variety of different crops and cuts for fashion-forward fans to choose from. In 2012, PINK and Victoria’s Secret produced distressed IU sweatshirts with rhinestones and crystals, bringing a new level of glam to spirit wear. 

“New styles are much more on the fashionable side,” Richardson said.

The most authentic apparel item is the candy-striped pants worn by the basketball team in the 1970s, Richardson said. The pants, still worn today, maintain the cream and crimson colors that are true to modern-day IU.

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