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The A. & L. Tirocchi Dressmakers Project

Anna and Laura Tirocchi were two sisters who founded a successful dressmaking business in Providence, Rhode Island during the early twentieth century. The Tirocchi sisters distinguished themselves from other dressmakers by creating customized, ornate gowns from fabrics brought in from New York City and Europe. The Tirocchi Dressmakers Shop continued to operate until 1947, adapting their inventory and business practices as fashion styles changed and ready-made clothing appeared on the market. On this extensive website, created by the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), visitors can learn more about the Tirocchi sisters, their shop, their employees (who were all primarily working-class Italian immigrants), and their customers (who represented Providence's elite classes). In addition, visitors can explore the evolution of fashion throughout the early twentieth century. Perhaps the highlight of this website is its Image Archive, where visitors can explore photographs, fashion illustrations, fabrics, and business cards. The Essays, authored by a variety of scholars, are also worth a look as they shine light on the history of fashion. Instructors can check out a handful of classroom activities and curricular ideas related to the collection in the For Teachers section.
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