Seeing orange: Avenir exhibition explores the color’s fashion history

Photos by Christian Knoll

An exhibition called “ORANGE: A short history of orange in fashion” opened at the Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising on Jan. 16.

And this exploration of one the most important colors in the history of CSU – not to mention the Denver Broncos — features more than sports apparel.

A line of dresses illustrates how the use of the color orange in fashion changed over the span of a century, from the subdued burnt orange of the 1890s through the bright neons and fluorescents of the 1960s and ’70s.

Conceived by Avenir Museum volunteer Jan Alexander, who was struck by the large number of orange garments in the museum’s collection, the exhibition explores the various meanings of orange in society as well as the technological advances that were needed to develop brighter dyes and the synthetic fabrics that would hold them.

And, of course, one display features an Aggie letterman sweater, Denver Broncos apparel bearing “Orange Crush” and “United in Orange” mottos, as well as an old orange Bronco helmet from the ’60s loaned by John Beake, former general manager of the team.

The exhibition ends July 17.

The Avenir is based in the Department of Design and Merchandising, in CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.