Later this month, thousands of people—UVA students, Charlottesville children and their parents—will gather on the Lawn to trick-or-treat and show off their costumes. This tradition dates back to the 1980s, but costumes have been a part of student life for generations, through student societies, balls and parties, summer pageants and sports.
Gweneth West, a UVA drama professor and costume designer, teaches a class called History of Dress, which she says combines art history, sociology and economics. “Clothes are created by the culture that made them—they are an art. We are designing a persona every single morning when we get up and get dressed, whether we’re doing it consciously or not,” she says. “Costumes are an opportunity to express something you would never actually be. They create a way for us to literally hide behind a persona that we’re creating.”
Professor West helped Virginia Magazine take a look back at costumes at UVA through the years. Take a look below.