skip to main content
Introduction To Fashion History and Theory

Introduction To Fashion History and Theory

Central Saint Martins
Taught by
Harriet Worsley


Fashion does not exist in a vacuum. Its history is one that is intertwined with art, culture, industrial and social change and a century of revolution. To understand this is fundamental to anyone wanting to work in the contemporary fashion industry, be it as a designer, curator, stylist or writer.

This course will provide the essentials in understanding the history and theory of fashion, from the intricate details and terminologies of Tudor and Elizabethan costume to the whirlwind of 20th century styles that inform designers working today. These historical tropes are often the references that are used by creatives working today, and will form an inspiring part of an education in fashion and the arts at large.

Making use of some of the city’s best archives, such as the Victoria & Albert museum’s costume collection, Kerry Taylor Auctions, as well as CSM’s own Archive & Museum Collection, which includes early designs of John Galliano and Hussein Chalayan, this course is ideal for those who are interested in fashion and costume design, as well as fashion writing and exhibition-making.

It will be centred on visits to some of the best institutions and galleries, including a historic Royal palace, workshops with surviving historical costume and talks on the chronology and themes of fashion in a historical and artistic context, its place in pop culture and the detailed relationship that fashion has with London as a city of trade, production and industrial revolution.

This course is part academic, in that it will include lectures at the main CSM building, and part practical in that it will be staged against the historical institutions, archives and landmarks of London.

Please note: This course is for students aged 18 and older

Tutor Description

Harriet Worsley gained her degree at Central Saint Martins in Fashion Communication and Promotion and has worked as a fashion journalist for the trade and consumer press. She taught Fashion Communication on the Foundation Course at Central Saint Martins and has written four books on the history of fashion, she is also an accomplished garden designer.


Please bring the following on the first session:

Notebook and pen Weekly Travelcard for London Transport

Available dates