Early Modern Dress and Textiles – A Research Network


The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is funding a two-year investigation into Early Modern European Dress and Textiles. The topic was chosen because of dress studies’ increasing importance as a scholarly discipline and its role in understanding the past.

In Early Modern Europe, what you wore was supposed to define who you were. Identities (gender, social, geographic) were meant to be clearly displayed on the body from the hat or kerchief on the head to the stockings and shoes on the feet. Much of this was made from expensive textiles and the investment in clothing at all levels of society was enormous, generating a constant concern to monitor and regulate this form of display.
An increasing number of scholars in different disciplines are now turning to dress and textiles and their histories in order to better understand the multiplicity of meanings that they offered in different parts of Europe between 1500 and 1800. Their study often involves archival work and literary analysis. At the same time those involved in preserving and displaying these items, and those concerned with reconstructing dress (often for theatrical purposes) have developed a much deeper understanding of the material qualities of Early Modern dress and textiles- what they were made from and how. This network brings these researchers, who often work in very diverse settings and with very different sources together over a two-year period in order to address a series of common questions.


  • To bring together scholars and practitioners working with early modern dress and textiles in different disciplines and settings to identify common areas of understanding and to develop new research tools
  • To debate common practical and theoretical problems concerning early modern dress and textiles
  • To pool data, bibliography and glossaries for web dissemination
  • To establish a virtual discussion group for continued discussion and debate.

More information/ plus d’information : http://www.earlymoderndressandtextiles.ac.uk/

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