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 digitised and can be accessed by members online.

The first Chair of The Costume Society was Charles Gibbs-Smith, followed by Donald King, Sir Roy Strong CH FRSL, Anne Buck, June Swann MBE, James Snowden, Doreen Yarwood, Naomi Tarrant FRAScot FSA, Colin McDowell MBE FRSA, Valerie Cumming, Sylvia Ayton MBE, Dierdre Murphy and Philip Warren.

The Society’s distinctive motif or logo (based on a German tailors' guild sign) was devised by The Costume Society’s first Secretary, Madeleine Ginsburg, from a drawing made by her husband.

It was later re-imagined in  its current simplified version.

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