‘It is typical of the growth of specialized costume that a fashion abandoned in everyday life is appropriated by institutions, themselves strongholds of conservatism.’1 Whilst ‘abandoned fashion’ might pay very little respect to ongoing continuity and symbolism, for academic institutions to adopt that which is the best in fashion and retain it symbolically is in the very vanguard of that for which those institutions stand. For academical dress to undergo fashionable change is to suggest that any symbolic constant in the world might be unnecessary. This is not to say that the style and form of academical dress must remain immovable for ever. There are many factors controlling the style and form, such as improvement in the quality of cloth, in weaving, in dye-lots—the raw materials from which the robes are made. Universities might find that a particular colour or style of robe is no longer suitable and seek to improve it as the visual symbol of their various degrees—this has been the case particularly in the United States, where in 1959 a review committee modified the Intercollegiate Code of academical dress.2 With so many institutions of higher learning now being awarded university status, the increase in robe manufacture means that suppliers might be forced to consider more streamlined techniques. [Excerpt]. This article also features full color illustrations of various pattern pieces and their corresponding robes, sleeves, and hoods.
Crawford, Kenneth (2008) "The Cutting Edge of Academe: Trends in the Manufacture of Academical Dress," Transactions of the Burgon Society: Vol. 8.
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