Our history

The Costume Society was formed over forty years ago. Prompted by a growing popular interest in the history of fashion, a nationally publicized inaugural meeting took place at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London on 13 October 1964. A committee was formed and over a hundred members had joined by the end of the year. The first issue of the Society’s journal, Costume, appeared in 1967 and included an eighteenth-century dress pattern by Janet Arnold. The journal’s back archive has now been digitized and can be accessed by members online.

The first Chairman of the Costume Society was Charles Gibbs-Smith, followed by Donald King, Roy Strong, Anne Buck, June Swann, James Snowden, Doreen Yarwood, Naomi Tarrant, Colin McDowell, Valerie Cumming and Sylvia Ayton.

The Society's distinctive motif or logo was devised by the Society’s first Secretary, Madeleine Ginsburg. It was based on a German tailor’s guild sign and redrawn by her husband.

The logo was re-imagined in 2018 with a new simplified version of the design.