Costume Society diplomacy

Costume Society

Fashion and Dress History graduate 2017 Emma Kelly discusses becoming Costume Society ambassador

Costume Society

Logo of The Costume Society

Over the last few weeks, I have been settling into my role as Costume Society ambassador, jumping back into the world of research after months away from books, journal articles, word counts, and deadlines. The Costume Society’s aim is to promote the study and preservation of dress, both historical and contemporary. Their work comprises of events such as lectures, study days and its annual conference. The Society also has its own academic journal, Costume, which it publishes twice a year, as well as its newsletter. One of the other key facets of their work is their financial support: awards and bursaries are awarded by the Society to students, researchers and trainee museum curators.

The ambassador role centres on the Society’s website and social media platforms. The ambassadors’ work focuses on writing a blog proposal and blog entry every month. Every proposal has to be given the all-clear by the editors before it can be written and submitted. We are also given set days on which we run the Society’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds. We each have two days and the themes and topics are chosen by us and we also have the opportunity to run the #CSFashionhour on Twitter (at the Society’s handle: @costume_society), which takes place once a month.

Being an ambassador provides a platform to publish your work and brings you into contact with fascinating people; from the other ambassadors, to the followers of the Society. Fascinating conversations with fellow fashion historians have been a highlight of my ambassadorship thus far. It is an amazing community, which is never short of advice or inspiration. As part of the ambassadorship, I have received membership of the Society, which means I have full access to the website and its archive of past journals and newsletters: an amazing resource.  I also receive the Society’s twice-yearly publications, its journal and newsletter.

I am one of two University of Brighton Fashion and Dress History (FDH) graduates involved in the ambassador programme, alongside Jade Bailey Dowling (current MA History of Design and Material Culture) and we follow in the footsteps of graduates (current MA History of Design and Material Culture students) Sarah-Mary Geissler and Ruby Helms. Final year FDH student Emmy Sale is also a recipient of a Fellowship from Association of Dress Historians. I think this continued recognition of students and graduates by leading costume groups is a credit to the degree programme.

Being involved with the Costume Society in this way is an amazing opportunity and I’m really looking forward to the coming months, when I will be immersing myself again in research. Irish dress history is one of my key interests and will feature heavily in my work. But this role will also allow me the opportunity to look into other areas of interest, including film costume and will be invaluable to my progression as a fashion historian.

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