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Abby Lillethun

Professor, Dean's Office, College of the Arts

BFA, University of Georgia
MFA, Florida State University
PhD, The Ohio State University
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My teaching and scholarship center on the study of culture as it is created, expressed, experienced, and reconfigured through dress and appearance. Of course, history plays a role in this study area of fashion! I also serve as Deputy Chairperson the the Department of Art and Design.

I teach fashion history courses, fashion forecasting, and culture related to fashion/style/dress. My teaching and scholarship scope is global, as dressing is a practice of every human being across known time and space. Dressing is a fundamental aspect of human life, a necessity that affects social and psychological well-being and social struggles. The industries of dress/style/fashion also play critical roles in individuals' economic realities and society's economic infrastructures.

My scholarship has several strands within the context of global fashion history and cultures as they intersect with design processes. I research Bronze Age Aegean dress using experimental archeology techniques to recreate dress objects. I also investigate the nexus of East Asian and Western design, primarily between 1885 and 1935.

I am a member of The Research Collective for Decoloniality and Fashion (RCDF+), and my scholarship incorporate decolonial theoretical perspectives in investigating historical design processes with cognizance of the processes of contact and trade.


The Fashion Reader
by Linda Welters and Abby Lillethun (2022, 3rd ed., revised), is an anthology reader with a global perspective and a wide range of source types, including commissioned essays from scholarly experts. Professor Welters and I contributed 4 co-authored essays. I wrote an essay on dress in the ancient world and six introductions to the book's parts. The book is available from Bloomsbury Publishers.

Fashion History: A Global View
by Linda Welters and Abby Lillethun (2018), proposes a new perspective on fashion history, arguing that fashion has occurred in cultures beyond the West throughout history, this groundbreaking book explores the geographic places and historical spaces that have been largely neglected by contemporary fashion studies, bringing them together for the first time. The book is available from Bloomsbury Publishers.


Research and scholarship:
Fashion theory
-trade and contact
Fashion/style/dress and textile history
-global fashion history
-fashion history pedagogy
-the Aegean Bronze Age
-Asian-Western design exchange,1885—1935

Teaching at MSU:
ARTX 201 Culture and Appearance
ARTX 221 Fashion Practice: 1990 to Today
ARTX 230 Fashion Illustration
ARTX 320 Dress and Fashion History: Prehistory to 1800
ARTX 321 Dress and Fashion History: 1800 to 1990
ARTX 345 Fashion Study Abroad (2020: Paris; 2015: Paris; 2014: Rome, Florence & Milan; 2013: London; 2012: Paris & Antwerp; 2011: Rome, Florence & Milan; 2010: London & Paris)
ARTX 410: Fashion Forecasting
ARGS 260: Workshop course on Fashion and Sustainability

Office Hours


8:30 am - 9:30 am
Make an appointment by emailing me at
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Make an appointment by emailing me at
8:30 am - 9:30 am
Make an appointment by emailing me at