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I'm Sarah Finley Purdy.

I'm a fashion historian based in Cleveland, OH. Holding a BA in history from Kent State University and an MA in Fashion and Textile History from the Fashion Institute of Technology, I have been passionately working within museums and archival collections for the majority of my career. My experience includes the archives at Coach, Calvin Klein, the Fashion Institute of Technology, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel, Westminster Theological Seminary and the museum collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I have always enjoyed engaging with peoples' stories, and the history behind material culture is what drives my work forward. Matters of sustainability and ethics in fashion are at the forefront of my mind, and my research currently focuses on modern day slavery within the garment industry. I am also pursuing a continuation of my master's thesis exploring the historical dissemination of high fashion to multiple tiers of socioeconomic class in the Midwest.

It is my hope that with this blog I can explore these issues further amongst a community of people who value what they wear and why they wear it. It's time for a new look. x

Of Note

Speaking and Writing:

“Modern Day Slavery in the Garment Industry”, The Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion / Author; Forthcoming, Fall 2021

"Episode 75: Forced Labor is Modern Day Slavery (featuring Sarah), Clotheshorse podcast / Guest; May 2021 

Necessary Beauty: High Fashion and Home Sewing Practices in Ohio / Presenter at the Chicago Fashion Lyceum Fashion at the Periphery Conference; October 2020, Pennsylvania, PA (remote presentation)

“3 Things I Have Learned in My Journey Toward Sustainability And Easy Changes Anyone Can Make Now,” Fashion Revolution / Author; August 2020, Pennsylvania, PA

Paris in Ohio: An Analysis of a Poiret Personal Print / Presenter at the Costume Society of America’s National Conference; May 2016, Cleveland, OH

Paris in Ohio: An Analysis of a Poiret Personal Print / Presenter at the FIT Graduate Symposium for Fashion and Textile Studies; March 2015, New York, NY


Little Ladies: Victorian Fashion Dolls and the Feminine Ideal / Exhibition Preparator; November 2018 – March 2019, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania, PA

Fabulous Fashion: From Dior’s New Look to Now / Volunteer Costume Mounter; October 2018 – March 2019, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania, PA

Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination / Curatorial Viewing Assistant; May 2018 - October 2018, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY

Lauren Bacall: The Look / Exhibition Social Media and PR assistant; March 2015, The Museum at FIT, New York, NY

Drastic Times, Drastic Changes: A Look at Clothing and Fashion During Times of War / Curator; May 2012 - August 2012, Dennison Railroad Depot Museum, Dennison, OH

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