New SCAD Exhibit Offers Outlander Fans the Chance to See This Season’s Costumes Before They Air


If you haven’t read the Outlander books, proceed with caution. Light spoilers ahead!

To say that Outlander fans are enthusiastic is something of an understatement. And few know their fervor more acutely than the series’ costume designer, Terry Dresbach.

Every day, she interacts with the show’s devotees on Twitter, sharing a behind-the-scenes look at her team’s process and answering questions about everything from the fabrics she uses to the historical research she does before she starts designing. But Dresbach has always been hesitant to show costumes ahead of their episodes’ airdates. That is, until now.

Costumes from this season of Outlander, many of which have yet to be seen on-screen, are currently on display at Savannah College of Art and Design in a new exhibit called “The New World: Outlander Season Four.”

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A scene from the exhibition at SCAD.

Chia Chong

“What’s really wonderful about this exhibit is it’s a chance for people to see the season four costumes ahead of the actual airing of the show.” Dresbach tells me over the phone.

“I had always fought against that because I’m sort of old-school and like people to see things on-screen as part of the story, but I’ve long since figured out that doesn’t work anymore, and I should probably move with the times. There’s an interest there for people, and so it’s this rich opportunity to actually let people see what they’re going to be getting. It’s really amazing.”

She was also quick to praise the students who helped her put together the show. “There’s no preconceived notions; they’re not jaded; they haven’t been in this business long enough to have the darkness overtake them,” she laughs.

Along with their help, Dresbach created an exhibition where visitors will not only be able to look at her designs up close, but they’ll also be able to view the costumes from multiple angles.

“People can walk around each costume and see the details…they’re going to see them up close, inches away. No glass. It’s really gonna be really amazing,” she explains.

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Chia Chong

In total, nearly 20 costumes are on display, with Dresbach’s favorite being one of Brianna’s looks from later this season.

“My favorite costume is Brianna’s because I think it encapsulates everything,” she says, describing an outfit the character wears after she travels back to the 18th century.

“Her patchwork shirt is a real testimony to people’s frugality with clothing. You didn’t throw things out. You only had that one outfit, or maybe you had two. You can’t afford to just toss a shirt aside. You have to make that one last forever, so you have to patch it and patch it and patch it and patch it,” Dresbach says.

“I saw some shirts and fabrics that were done like that, and thought I have to do that. We recreated three of them that are identical for her to wear.”

Brianna's Costume Outlander

Courtesy of SCAD

And while she says she’s “not interested in modernizing history,” Dresbach also conceits that a show about time travel offers some leeway.

“I can play around the lines with a time traveling character who goes back in history and finds what makes them comfortable,” she says.

“For the first time [the Frasers] are living out in the middle of the wilderness. There’s a certain freedom that they have to be themselves. For our people from the 18th-century, they’re still 18th century. But for our characters that are time-travelers, we get to see them loosen up into their version of the 18th century, which is a little bit different,” she explains.

“So for Claire, you always sort-of see that 1940s Claire coming through, and with Brianna, you always sort of see that 1970s character. It seems very fitting for America. America is always about is blending and shapeshifting and changing and adapting, and nothing is ever set in stone.”

“The New World: Outlander Season Four” exhibition will be on display at SCAD Museum of Art until December 2, 2018, and general admission tickets are $10. For more information, visit scadmoa.org.



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