Fabrics of Change: 16th Century Clothing Through the Decades
What will you be wearing to celebrate Florida’s 500th anniversary next year? “First Florida Frontiers is offering lectures, fashion shows and period clothing workshops,” says president, Elizabeth Neily of Gulfport. “We have been awarded a Florida Humanities Council mini-grant to teach about what people wore in 16th century Florida. It is free and open to the public.
The lecture and fashion show will discuss the clothing of the Spanish conquistadors, the first colonial settlers and Florida’s native populations. It will follow clothing styles through the decades from the claiming of Florida for Spain by Juan Ponce de Leon in 1513, to the founding of St. Augustine by Pedro Menéndez de Aviles in 1565, to the raid on St. Augustine by Sir Francis Drake in 1586. “During that time clothing styles changed as dramatically as they did in the 20th century,” says Neily.
The program begins in St. Augustine at Menendez Fort on October 27th with a public lecture at 10:00 AM followed by a period fashion show. Then at 1:00 PM there will be a workshop with a small materials fee, where we will make “toiles” which are body-fitting patterns for period clothing. (Reenactors never say “costume.”) The program will be repeated in the Tampa Bay area the following Saturday, November 3 at De Soto National Memorial, in Bradenton.
Neily says, “The 16th century reenactment community has been preparing for Florida’s quincentennial commemoration for months. Though these workshops, we are hoping to attract lots more people to becoming living history interpreters. There is so much early history to understand here in Florida.” First Florida Frontiers is looking for people to interpret not only Spanish conquistador culture, but also women, children, African freemen, and American Indians and even slaves.
Neily says, “We are aware that some people are not comfortable with the way the 16th century Spaniards treated the native people. What we try to do is shed light on that culture in order to understand why they were so brutal when they came to the Americas. We also try to show how alike and dissimilar European culture was with American Indian cultures throughout what is now the Southeastern United States.”
The mission of First Florida Frontiers is to celebrate Florida through art, storytelling, music and special events. See www.floridafrontier.com.
For more information about the program and to register for the afternoon workshops contact Elizabeth Neily at email@example.com or call 727-744-7051.