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You Can Walk a Runway and Check Out Handmade Dresses at This Huge New DC Art Exhibit

"Inside the Wardrobe" includes 20,000 square feet of interactive fashion-themed installations.

One of the installations at Inside the Wardrobe. Photo courtesy of Cory Frank from Design Foundry.

As the world opens up, it’s time for folks to take off their sweatpants and actually put on something with a zipper—which might feel pretty tough after 16 months cooped up at home. Luckily, a new collection of art installations called “Inside the Wardrobe” is here to help you get inspired.

The interactive “fashion funhouse” was created by Prince George’s County design agency, Design Foundry. It opens at Georgetown Park (3270 M St., NW, Suite C100) on July 8. The 20,000-square-foot attraction has more than 20 installations that encourage visitors to interact with different textiles and accessories. The funhouse will feature handmade dresses from artists and designers from across the country. Among the exhibits: a posh tea room with Georgetown cupcakes made of felt, a pedal-bike-powered dry cleaner, and a Parisian plaid zone with a carousel. After visitors finish their tours through the different spaces, they can strut down a runway with strobing cameras.

The inspiration for Inside the Wardrobe came from a cartoon that Design Foundry CEO and creative director Annie Senatore saw in the New Yorker of a woman sitting in front of her closet, saying, “It’s been a while. I thought I’d stop by and see how you all were doing.” Since there weren’t many events happening, Senatore wanted to give folks in the events industry something to do, as well as create something beautiful and engaging for those reemerging from quarantine. “It sort of struck me that we all need to be coming back into the office in the fall and everyone’s got to get reacquainted with the clothing in their wardrobe,” she said. “There’s been so much change that it felt pertinent to rethink how we use clothing to express ourselves.”

Senatore also hopes to address the environmental toll of fast fashion through Inside the Wardrobe, and offer visitors advice about how they can take a more eco-friendly approach to their own wardrobes. She plans to partner with a clothes-recycling group and install boxes at Inside the Wardrobe for people to donate unwanted items.

The funhouse is open Thursday to Sunday until August 29. Tickets are now on sale for $28, or $19 for kids four and up. Students, seniors, military personnel, and first responders can buy a ticket for the discounted price of $24.

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Damare Baker
Assistant Editor

Before becoming an assistant editor, Damare Baker started out as an editorial fellow for Washingtonian. She has previously written for Voice of America and The Hill. She is a graduate of Georgetown University, where she studied international relations, Korean, and journalism.