Sunday, November 25, 2012

On becoming the Editor of the Costume Journal

Cover of Costume Journal Volume 42, Number 1

The Costume Journal is a bi-annual publication by the Costume Society of Ontario that features articles, exhibition and book reviews, resource lists (books, catalogues, tours), and other fashion and costume news. This journal is mailed out to members of the Costume Society of Ontario and is also collected by libraries and museums around the world.

The founding editor of the Costume Journal was Alan Suddon who created the first issue in 1971. Alan Suddon was a leading collector of historic dress in Toronto and he amassed a sizeable collection, which included many rare and valuable items of dress, including couture items by Balenciaga, Balmain, Pierre Cardin, Jean Desses, Paquin, and Christian Dior as well as antique bridal gowns from the 19th century. Alan Suddon also donated many pieces to the Ryerson Fashion Research Collection and his notes are interjected through the records. Alan Suddon died at age 75, a few months after an exhibition of select pieces from his collection called 200 Years of Toronto Fashion at Casa Loma in 2000. The Suddon Collection was acquired by Kathy Cleaver, the founder of the Ryerson Fashion Research Collection and a recent Chair of the CSO.

Each day as I work with the Ryerson Collection, I feel the imprint of their legacy in the objects now imparted to my care, and as I begin my term as editor of the Costume Journal in 2013, I hope to honour their legacy as well as bring bring a new vision and voice to the journal. The editor for the past eleven years was Suzanne McLean, Collection Manager at the Bata Shoe Museum, and she has set high standards and left big shoes for me to fill.

I want to encourage outside submissions to the journal for future issues, especially from graduate students of fashion and aspiring fashion writers. The next issue will likely be published in late May or early June, with submissions accepted up until April 15, 2013. Please email me at if you wish to propose an article.

Link to Costume Society of Ontario:

For further reading about Alan Suddon:
Morra, Bernadette. "Alan Suddon, 75, leading collector of historic clothing". Toronto Star. 30 May 2000.
Palmer, Alexandra. Couture & Commerce: The Transatlantic Fashion Trade in the 1950s. UBC Press, Vancouver. 2001.

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