How Well Do You Know Your Fashion History?

Do you know your Gaultier from your Givenchy? The difference between a tailor and a tailleur? Between fast fashion and slow fashion?

The following quiz is drawn from entries in the Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry, which recently came out in a significantly expanded second edition. Through entries from Abboud to Zoran, this encyclopedic, thoroughly cross-referenced dictionary covers major names, topics, and terms in the history of the industry. The new edition also incorporates recent advances in sustainability and technology.

FIT alumni Francesca Sterlacci and Joanne Arbuckle co-authored the text. Sterlacci is the former chair of the Fashion Design department and founder of the first online fashion design video library, the University of Fashion. Arbuckle, deputy to the president for Industry Partnerships and Collaborative Programs, served as dean of the School of Art and Design for more than a decade.

Photos below by Smiljana Peros, The Museum at FIT, Science History Institute, and Lynn Gilbert.

Type your name and email address below to be entered in a drawing to win a copy of the Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry!


What’s the French term for a mock-up garment, usually made of muslin, for testing the cut and fit?

Who was known as history’s first couturier and the “father of haute couture”?

Who invented jeans?

What maximum-coverage swimsuit was banned in France until 2016?

What Japanese fashion label, founded in 1973, presented a new and different approach to fashion in the 1980s?

What legendary Vogue editor filled the pages with street style, the hippie look, space-age style, and the youthquake movement (a term she coined)?

Which disaster in garment industry history claimed the most lives?

Who is known for making the “lettuce edge” a fashion statement?

In 1946, DuPont introduced which synthetic fiber in America under the name Dacron?

Which term is given to repurposing a garment or accessory in order to create something new, and often better?