A hub for fashion research.

Our Mission

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, garments and films for those interested in fashion and dress history. Started as a pilot project by Fashion Institute of Technology 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.

All logo design work for the Timeline was done by FIT Graphic Design majors enrolled in Prof. Jada Schumacher’s GD444 (Fall 2017).

Artwork Analysis Essay

Garment Analysis Essay

Film Analysis Essay

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. Decade and century overview pages offer visual examples of period styles, a visually rich fashion dictionary defines key terms, and hundreds of examples of dress analysis from antiquity to the present day model the complicated task of discerning whether something is fashionable or merely everyday dress, as well as the historical implications of that distinction. The Timeline equips students and researchers with essential facts, vocabulary, and models of analysis. Content on the Timeline to-date has focused on Western fashion from the Renaissance to the 19th-century to honor the priorities of our generous supporters at the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. In the future, with further funding, we plan to add expert-written overviews of period styles from prehistory to the present, biographies of 18th- and 19th-century fashion designers, and coverage of non-western fashion.

Term Definition

Designer Profile

Source Database

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 and a much more extensive Zotero database that students and researchers can draw on and contribute to. The Timeline aims to 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 fashion plate collections, fashion periodicals and etiquette books held by libraries and museums across the world. Lists of relevant online primary and secondary resources are featured on each decade overview page on the Timeline; if you know of others, please contact us! Century overview pages also include filmographies for those interested in seeing how the dress of a historic period has been translated to the screen. The Timeline’s blog aims to not only highlight NYC-area fashion history exhibitions, but also to serve as a forum for announcing new publications and digital resources. An overview of all the types of content on the Timeline can be found on the “How to Contribute” page.

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.

Each century, decade and year overview page has a listing of digitized primary sources and online and print secondary sources to help kick start any fashion history research project.

The Zotero library catalogues thousands of primary sources, secondary sources and films pertaining to fashion history.

Our Launch

At our public launch event on Tuesday, February 13th, 2018, President Joyce Brown and Vice President of Academic Affairs Giacomo Olivia will make opening remarks.  Dr. Valerie Steele, Director of the Museum at FIT, will speak about the museum as an educational resource and Project Co-Director Professor Justine De Young will speak about the Timeline’s past, present and future.  Then five student authors will briefly discuss their essays and how contributing to the Timeline fit in with their education at FIT:

To RSVP to attend the launch, please visit www.fitnyc.edu/fashionhistory.  A video of the event will be posted after the launch.  To contribute to the timeline, please see the guidelines on the “How to Contribute” page and then please contact us!

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