The Sage Fashion Collection at IU

What we wear is a vehicle for personal expression, a reflection of society, and a form of art. In the Sage Fashion Collection at Indiana University, which includes clothing, accessories, and related items from the past and present—our social history comes to life. Overseen by the School of Art and Design, the Sage Fashion Collection serves as a resource for students, professionals, and the public. Its holdings encompass a museum-quality collection spanning more than 250 years, as well as a hands-on study collection used in classrooms and fashion design studios. Just a sample of the more than 25,000 objects include military, occupational, and sports uniforms; haute couture; Senior Cords, Indiana’s unique expression of school pride; ensembles designed by noted European and American designers including Hoosier natives Bill Blass, Halston, and Norman Norell; as well as fashion publications, DVDs, and videotapes.

Research appointments are available to those interested in studying specific costume and textile objects. To schedule a research appointment, contact Kelly Richardson.

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Elizabeth Sage

The Sage Fashion Collection’s namesake, Elizabeth Sage, arrived at Indiana University in 1913 as the first professor of clothing and textiles. During her teaching career at IU, Ms. Sage accumulated clothing and textile samples for use in her classroom, and then donated those teaching materials to the department upon her retirement in 1937.

Sage Fashion Collection Staff

Kathleen Rowold - Director, outgoing in July

Heather Akou – Director, incoming in July

Kelly Richardson - Curator

Emily Rosolowski - Collections Assistant

Current Research

Our staff and students are always working to expand existing knowledge on collection artifacts. Current ongoing research includes:

  • An 1879 IU graduation dress and the campaign wardrobe of Hillary Clinton by Graduate Student and Fashion Design Instructor Lori Frye
  • Signs and symbolism of Indiana Senior cords by Graduate Student and Apparel Merchandising Instructor Rachel Rose
  • Cheney Silks’ Croquis de la Mode Nouvelle fashion illustrations by Curator Kelly Richardson