Students on AUB’s brand-new Historical Costume MA explore exciting areas of research, from the grandeur of Korea’s last reigning dynasty to the conservative fashion of Queen Victoria and the diplomatically inspired dress of today’s Royal Family.

AUB’s MA Historical Costume programme launched earlier this year, with its first cohort of students developing ideas and research topics across a diverse variety of areas, including hat and dress making, industry sustainability and the politics behind monarchic fashion.

Led by Course Leader Rebecca Pride alongside Dr Jon Croose and Mandy Barrington, the course supports and develops advanced practitioners who have an ambition to explore, challenge and redefine the relationship between historical artefacts and contemporary costume.

Shelley Venables had been looking into Elizabethan dress while studying BA Costume and Performance Design at AUB and after exploring the area in detail, decided to shift towards Victorian dress for her MA studies. “I’m looking into the fabrics they used and the progression from silhouette shapes, there’s just so much to discuss, and it changes subtly yet quickly through this period.”

“When I was at school, I used to remember the eras by what people wore and that’s why it’s always been a fascination for me. I’m a performer in musical theatre, and had always helped with costumes there, so it just seemed a very logical progression. The more I do, the more I want to discover, and I’d like to teach in historical fashion and construction after university.”

AUB BA Costume and Performance Design graduate Alex White had been considering an MA, but couldn’t find a course that would help him to further develop and consider his research into Korean ceremonial dress.

Alex said: “It’s such a broad course, where you can look at some many areas. I’m a designer rather than maker, so I wanted to look at writing a historical play centring on the Korean historical costume at the time of fall of the last Korean dynasty, just before the start of the 20th century.

“People usually think of Asian design as Japanese or Chinese, but there’s something more unique about Korean costume and how it’s perceived. It’s also about a shared affinity between Korea itself, both in the North and South, and how they both relate to their past.

“By studying MA at AUB, I’d really like to produce my play, and have it performed. Through my research I’m already seeing other historical stories that could be told similarly.”