About the Fashion History Timeline

The Fashion History Timeline is an open-access source for fashion history knowledge, featuring objects and artworks from over a hundred museums and libraries that span the globe. The Timeline website offers well-researched, accessibly written entries on specific artworks, with focused overviews of periods and styles for those interested in fashion and dress history. Started as a pilot project by art history faculty and students in the Fall of 2015, the Timeline aims to be an important contribution to public knowledge of the history of fashion and to serve as a constantly growing and evolving resource not only for students and faculty, but also for the wider world of those interested in fashion and dress history (from the Renaissance scholar to the simply curious).

Accurate knowledge of dress and fashion history is vital to the practice and study of not only art history, but also archaeology, classics, history, literature and visual culture. Yet analyzing and understanding dress can be daunting to scholars and students who have not been trained in fashion history. The Fashion History Timeline is intended to demystify dress and fashion, offering the academic community and the public an easily accessible starting place for their research. In the future, overviews will orient readers to a period and point them to key primary and secondary sources, a visually rich fashion dictionary will define key terms, and hundreds of examples of dress analysis from antiquity to the present day will model the complicated task of discerning whether something is fashionable or merely everyday dress, as well as the historical implications of that distinction. It equips students and researchers with essential facts, vocabulary, and models of analysis.

In addition to all its original content, the Timeline also aims to act as online nexus for fashion history research, aggregating and curating existing print and digital research sources. It features a search-able Source Database of reliable academic publications on fashion and dress history that students and researchers can draw on and contribute to. It will also index the wealth of digital resources for primary fashion history research online that otherwise require specialized knowledge or luck to discover, offering links to digitized American and European fashion plate collections and fashion periodicals held by libraries and museums across the world. Comprehensive lists of relevant online resources will be featured on each decade overview page on the Timeline. The Timeline’s blog will, moreover, serve as a forum for announcing new publications and digital resources that are otherwise found only in press releases or specialist publications.

The Timeline is a priority project of the History of Art Department, with the support of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean of Liberal Arts, Dean of Graduate Studies, and History of Art faculty including Profs. Kelly and Calahan, whose students—in addition to those of project co-directors De Young and Font—have contributed content since Fall 2015. The generous support of a 2016-2017 Samuel H. Kress Foundation Digital Resources for Art History Grant funded the redesign the Fashion History Timeline as a WordPress site.

Project Co-Directors
  • Dr. Justine De Young (Assistant Professor, History of Art, FIT)
  • Dr. Lourdes M. Font (Professor, History of Art & M.A. Program in Fashion and Textile Studies, FIT)
Project Team
  • Joseph Anderson (Digital Initiatives Librarian, Gladys Marcus Library)
  • Nanja Andriananjason (Technologist, Visual Resources, History of Art department)
  • Sarah Byrd (Adjunct Instructor, A. Program in Fashion and Textile Studies, FIT)
  • April Calahan (Curator of Manuscript Collections and Designer Archives, Special Collections, Gladys Marcus Library & Adjunct Instructor, History of Art, FIT)
  • Rebecca Kelly (Adjunct Instructor, A. Program in Fashion and Textile Studies, FIT)
  • Rebecca Matheson (Adjunct Instructor, A. Program in Fashion and Textile Studies, FIT)
  • Natalie Nudell (Adjunct Instructor, History of Art, FIT)
  • Molly Schoen (Visual Resources Curator, History of Art department)
  • Karen Trivette (Librarian & Head of Special Collections and College Archives, Gladys Marcus Library)
Student Interns
  • Charlotte Engel (Summer 2017)
  • Erika Eng (Summer 2017)