Teaching Fashion: Professional Organization Memberships—Part I: Research and Teaching Organizations

Within the apparel and related industries are a number of professional organizations.  These organizations offer several benefits to fashion professors:

  1. Connections with local professionals working in the subjects you teach.  These people are wonderful connections for keeping abreast of current industry developments.  They can serve as fantastic resources for field trips and guest speakers.  Discussions of their work may even inspire your next research project.
  2. Educational programs.
  3. Scholarship opportunities your students.
  4. Competitions, contests, and shows you and your students may enter.
  5. Organization website with helpful information such as articles on industry trends, job listings, etc.
  6. Student memberships.

Professional organizations are a great way to meet people that share your interests.

WT intern Melissa Huber has assisted me in locating information about some professional organizations you may consider joining.  This information is divided into two posts.  The first focuses on organizations for those teaching or researching, while the second focuses on organizations for professionals working in the field.  Of course, there are overlaps between these categories and both types of organizations can be beneficial to fashion professors.

International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA)

ITAA is a professional, educational association composed of scholars, educators, and students in the textile, apparel, and merchandising disciplines in higher education. ITAA welcomes professionals employed in those fields that wish to join with members of the Association in the pursuit of knowledge, interchange of ideas, and dissemination of knowledge through meetings, special events, and publications.  ITAA holds an annual meeting with opportunities to present research.  Grants and fellowships are also offered.  Membership levels and fees include: Active $115, Associate $115,   Emeritus $95, Reserve $95, Graduate Student $55, Undergraduate Student $35, Corporate $300

Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association

PCA/ACA is a group for scholars and enthusiasts who study popular culture. Members share ideas and interests about the field or about a particular subject within the field. There are publication opportunities, international and regional conferences, awards and a discussion list.  Membership levels and fees include: United States $84 (or $59 online), UK, Non Euro zone Europe and Rest of the World  £56, Euro zone Europe €80.

The Costume Society of America

The Costume Society of America is an international organization, which advances the global understanding of all aspects of dress and appearance and works to stimulate scholarship and encourage study in the rich and diverse field of costume.  Membership benefits include an annual issue of Dress, access to members only site, newsletter and announcements, varied regional publications, discount on CSA series publications, discounts on meetings and study tours, grants and awards, E-News, communities for the Study of Dress, Fashion Forum and voting privileges.  Membership options and fees include:  Individual $85, Sustaining $150, Student $45, E-Member $65, Institutional and Library $143, Business/Corporate $150.

The Design History Society

The Design History Society is an international organization, based in England.  The group promotes the study of design history, and brings together and supports all those engaged in the subject – students, researchers, educators, designers, designer-makers, critics and curators.  Membership benefits include the quarterly Journal of Design History, unlimited online access to journal archive, annual conference, regional seminar series, workshops, prizes and awards for academic work within the field, quarterly newsletter, discounted rates and fees to events, voting rights, discounts on publications and exhibitions, and networking opportunities. Membership levels and fees include: Corporate £173, Print £49, Senior £26.50, Student £26.50

The Textile Society of America

The Textile Society of America, Inc. provides an international forum for the exchange and dissemination of information about textiles worldwide, from artistic, cultural, economic, historic, political, social, and technical perspectives. Membership benefits include a Members section of the website, forum for professional development, advance notice of regional and national TSA activities, biennial symposia, newsletter (including an annual comprehensive bibliography), proceedings, and directory. Membership levels and fees include: Young Professional $50, Individual $80, Student $35, Supporting $150-500, Institutional $150, and Patron $1000.

Please look for my next post to learn about organizations for professionals working in fashion-related fields.  In the interim, please post your comments about organizations you are a member of and what benefits you have reaped.

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  • Rachel Pollock February 25, 2011 07.51 am

    I’m a member of the United States Institute of Theatre Technology, which covers all areas of technical theatrical production and has within it a Costume Commission. USITT has regional chapters which do yearly conferences, as well as a national conference. Costume Commision sponsors master classes and programming tracks, hosts an annual symposium, awards scholarships, and so forth. USITT produces several trade publications and awards publication and research grants, provides networking opportunities, etc. It’s focus WRT your readership would perhaps be limited to scholars working within the field of theatrical costume production.


  • Ellen February 25, 2011 03.58 pm

    Thanks for letting us know about this organization. I always have a few students that are interested in costuming for theater.

  • Worn Through » Teaching Fashion: Professional Organization Memberships—Part II: Organizations for Professionals Working in the Field
    March 11, 2011 - 5:01 am

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