50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair


When I first moved to Chicago last July I set my sights on attending the Ebony Fashion Fair exhibit at the Chicago History Museum. The exhibit opened in March 2013 and was slated to end in early-January 2014. I live down the street from the Chicago History Museum, so this should have been an easy activity to cross-off my “to-do” list. Summer turned into fall then fall turned into winter and I still hadn’t visited the museum. It wasn’t until I was running some errands in Old Town over the weekend that I was inspired to finally check out the exhibit. Better late then never.

I genuinely believe that everything happens for a reason and that I was meant to visit the museum when I did. Here’s why: I was shopping at Greer Chicago when one of the customers showed me magnets that she bought from the Chicago History Museum after checking out the Ebony Fashion Fair exhibit earlier in the day. The magnet set featured illustrations of models from the show. Since I am in the beginning stages of developing a magnet collection for my fridge I immediately wanted to get some magnets of my own. She then told me that the exhibit was supposed to end that day, but had been extended to May 2014. Praise him!

So, I thought, “Okay, cool. I’ve got time to check it out another day.” But, then I thought, “Why not today?” I was literally a block away and wasn’t in a big hurry to go home, so off to the museum I finally went. Unlike the majority of museums in Washington, DC, museums in Chicago cost money. “This is totally going to be worth it,” I said to myself in the valley-girl voice I only reserve for my inner-most thoughts.

I trudged in the snow down the street to the museum and walked up to the front desk. I then scanned for the ticket prices and noticed that they had adult prices and student prices. I gamely asked to buy a student ticket despite the fact I graduated from college last May. I thought to myself in my best Sheree Whitfield voice, “Who gonna check me, boo?"

The concierge was about to swipe my debit card when he paused and said, “Oh, the museum is free today.” Oh, what’s this? Are those angels I hear? Then he said, “There’s a tour of the Ebony Fashion Fair exhibit that is going to start in a minute if you want to join. The tour guide is one of the people who helped create the exhibit.” Do you believe in miracles? I do.

I booked it upstairs just in time for the tour to begin. I wasn’t allowed to take pictures of the exhibit, but let me tell you that what I saw was fashion at its finest. What Eunice Johnson and the Ebony team created during the 50 years of the Ebony Fashion Fair was nothing short of LEGEND...wait for it....DARY. I could sit here and pontificate more on the exhibit, but why not  share some informative videos about the history of the Ebony Fashion Fair show instead? Look below for 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair goodness:

Oh, and in case you’re wondering: Yes, I bought a magnet for my collection as well as the book “Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair."

The  "50 Ebony Fashion Fair: Inspiring Beauty" exhibit will be featured at the Chicago History Museum until May 11, 2014. After that the word on the street is that the show will travel across America. Fingers crossed that it will visit a town near you!

Featured Image via Chicago Style Events.