What is ADH?

The Association of Dress Historians (ADH) supports and promotes the advancement of public knowledge and education in the history of dress and textiles. 

The ADH believes that the history of human clothing and adornment is taught, learned, explored, researched, developed, and advanced through a wide range of practices, including archaeology, art history, conservation, curation, design, journalism, publication, theatre design, and visual studies. Dress History also may be pursued academically and professionally in many related and relevant fields such as anthropology, sociology, material culture, or literary and theoretical studies. 

Our goals are to bring students and professionals together in order to share knowledge and experience, and to provide opportunities for the presentation of new research, discoveries and practices. 

Registered Charity No.1014876

History of ADH

This Association was founded in 1991 as the Courtauld History of Dress Association (CHODA), some twenty years after the M.A. in History of Dress at the Courtauld Institute of Art had been approved by London University, and before the Courtauld had an Alumni Association. At that time the teaching of the History of Dress was still in its infancy and there were no discrete undergraduate or graduate courses elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

The founding members of CHODA, all graduates of the History of Dress course, wished to support the M.A course and its students, to encourage the study of dress and textile history, and to create a Scholarship Fund to help future students studying History of Dress at the Courtauld Institute. They also wished to remain in contact with each other and to raise funds to promote the subject. CHODA therefore organized an annual two-day symposium (which was open to the public) on an aspect of dress history, and a free termly evening seminar for students and scholars. Professional dress historians and others interested in the History of Dress, who were not Courtauld graduates were subsequently invited to become Associate members. 

By early 2011 as a consequence of the growth of many more undergraduate and graduate courses concerned with Dress and Fashion History, and a greater general interest in the discipline, it was felt appropriate to have a membership drawn from a wider constituency than a single postgraduate course. After two decades of activity, it was thus decided by a majority vote of CHODA members that the Association should disassociate itself from the Courtauld Institute and embrace a wider remit. CHODA was re-named The Association of Dress Historians (ADH). It was registered as such with the Charity Commission in August 2011. 

This is a professional organization dedicated to the widest promotion of the History of Dress and Textiles and to the continuance of a relatively recent, but important, new academic discipline.