Critical Costume is an international platform to promote research and practice on the interdisciplinary study of costume. The principal activity of Critical Costume is a biennial conference and exhibition, with the provision for smaller events where appropriate. The purpose of the organization is to support practitioners and researchers to debate the status of costume within contemporary and historical cultures.

Our objectives:

  • To support costume practitioners and researchers in sharing their work through an international biennial conference and exhibition.
  • To promote the publication and dissemination of new works on costume and costume related material.
  • To sustain a dialogue that is interdisciplinary in focus and welcomes all voices related to questions or practices of costume.
  • To open out the conversation on costume to new and challenging fields of enquiry.

At the heart of Critical Costume is the drive to argue the case for costume in an interdisciplinary and multi-faceted research environment. Costume is approached as a varied practice that is inclusive of communities from dance, theatre and performance, film and television, sociology and fashion, as well as museology and anthropology among other disciplinary contexts. Equally, Critical Costume is not exclusively an academic forum. The organization is conceived as a platform for a range of different professions to share approaches to costume, alongside and with researchers from universities.

Critical Costume was founded in 2013 by Dr. Rachel Hann and Sidsel Bech by convening CC2013 at Edge Hill University. Prof. Sofia Pantouvaki convened CC2015 at Aalto University two years later. All three are recognized as Founding Convenors of Critical Costume.