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"Fashion is the mirror of history. It reflects political, social and economic changes, rather than mere whimsy." — Louis XIV

fashion collection of historic dress design

Home to the FMD Historical Fashion Collection

JCCC is the safe haven for chic and culture as the repository of the FMD Historical Fashion Collection. The collection tells a story of fashion history, Kansas City women, and the artistry of apparel design. Much of the collection was amassed in the 1970s by a local fashion organization through Jeanne Mathews a fashion buyer for Kansas City department store, The Jones Store. Understanding the importance of fashion history and design, her socialite clientele began to donate their retired pieces for conservancy. The Fashion Department at Johnson County Community College inherited the collection in the 1990s and it is now housed on campus.

The collection includes 1600 apparel pieces dating back to the 1850s. It includes notable American designers like Adrian, Irene, Norman Norell, Pauline Trigerie, Geoffrey Beene and Bill Blass. French fashions can be found with exquisite designs from Christian Dior, Coco Chanel, and Pierre Cardin. The department advances the understanding of history through a lens of fashion, with their curated educational exhibits for students and the community. The collection serves as a valuable resource to students and supports a myriad of educational curricula within the fashion merchandising and design program.

Several items from the collection are displayed on mannequins while other pieces hang on closet rods.

Visit the collection

The collection has been catalogued and organized by designer and/or decade and is now housed in the Midwest Trust Center (formerly Carlsen Center) on the JCCC campus. Electronic images of the collection are available through the Billington Library digital collection.

Visits are by appointment only. Please email professor Britt Benjamin at to schedule a viewing time.

For more information about the Historical Fashion Collection or the Fashion Merchandising and Design program, email Joy Rhodes, professor and current chair of the department at, or call her at 913-469-8500 ext. 3381.

Mission Statement

The FMD Collection brings transformative value to its students and the community through the preservation and celebration of fashion and local history.

Vision Statement

Build a world-class collection of historic garments representing fashion history.

Collaborate with students, courses, college departments and the community.

Broaden its audience through electronic means, including online collection access and social media.

Grow the current collection with a focus on aesthetically and historically significant fashion.

Secure the financial stability of the institution by building endowments, expanding our donor base and pursuing grant opportunities.

Expand our outreach efforts through public programs, tours and classes.

Improve the Museum facility to better meet the needs for adequate preservation, ample storage, and alignment with our mission.

Support the JCCC Fashion Historical Collection

The JCCC Fashion Historical Collection brings transformative value to the community through the presentation and celebration of fashion and local history. The collection serves as a valuable resource to students and supports a myriad of educational curricula within the fashion merchandising and design program.

The vision of the collection is to continue to grow and adequately preserve this important piece of Kansas City history for many years to come. We invite your support and participation in achieving this goal.