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About CSO


The Costume Society of Ontario is an association dedicated to exploring the design, development and import of fashion throughout the ages: the influence of dress on society and the reflection of technology, culture and thought on fashion design and display. Far from being dry and academic, this exploration opens a fascinating look into how people express themselves through clothing and what this says about them as individuals and as a culture.

The Costume Society of Ontario membership includes designers, costumers, collectors, performers, professional historians, museum workers, devoted amateurs and anyone interested in aspects of dress from tip (hats) to toe (shoes)! Members explore and discuss all periods of design, fabrics, manufacturing, accessories and accoutrements, delve into the influence of technology, war, ethnicity and culture on the creation of fabric, design, form, function and frivolity!

The Costume Society of Ontario (CSO) is committed, through lectures, seminars, workshops, field trips and publications, to explore the fascinating world of body covering.

The mission of the CSO is:

  • to promote education in all aspects of dress to individuals who share an interest in costume or textile history, theatrical costuming and related source materials
  • to encourage the preservation of historic costume and related source materials

We hold no regular meetings (other than an annual general meeting). Rather, we have often met at sites of interest to our members; recent events include exhibition related talks, behind the scenes visits to see museum collections and dress related talks. Because the CSO is volunteer-based, and not-for-profit, all of these events are offered at reasonable costs to our members.

In addition to our schedule of lectures, seminars, workshops or field trips, members also receive the Costume Journal twice a year, filled with original reserach by writers working with historic dress and fashion in a variety of situations.

Whether your interest is academic or personal, whether you are a curator or a collector, the Costume Society can expand your knowledge of, and fascination with, human finery. Visit the Membership Page for details on how to become a member.