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The University of Southampton
International Summer School

Fashion in the Age of the Georgians

A dress at the Fashion Museum in Bath
A dress at the Fashion Museum in Bath

The development of modern fashion has its roots in 18th century consumerism and design, the period in which the act of shopping and following fashionable clothing trends became widely available to wealthy English society. Fashion plays a crucial role in the development of English culture during the long eighteenth century (c.1688-1815), particularly for the elite classes.

This short course will examine elite formalwear, particularly wedding clothes and accessories, from this period, considering how dress was used to influence social attitudes towards issues such as gender, class and politics. We will look at images and physical examples of surviving eighteenth century dress, and discuss the implications and impact of these garments. The course will conclude with a visit to the Fashion Museum Bath, which houses a world class collection of contemporary and historic dress. The Fashion Museum's current exhibition 'The History of Fashion in 100 Objects' (running until January 2019) considers the evolution of dress from the 1600s to the present day, displaying examples of both men's and women's dress, footwear and children's clothing, and considering how the fashion of the past has influenced different styles today.


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