Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Medieval fashion: 1200-1500 ADED11685E

  • Academic Session: 2020-21
  • School: Short Courses
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 1 (SCQF level 7)
  • Typically Offered: Full Year
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

Dress in Medieval society functioned as symbols of status and circumstance: from indicating economic levels (e.g. receivers of alms), marriage status of women, to social class at birth. People were conditioned to decode the complex signage system in dress, beyond and above our contemporary 'reading' of fashion. This course offers the opportunity to explore fashion during the High to Late Middle Ages (1200-1500) through investigating period art, literature and surviving textiles, and develop to an understanding of the meaning of high- status clothing. In this class we will do practical exercises, visual investigations, discussions, and where available, field visits.


Two hours per week for 10 weeks

Block 1, Saturdays, 13.00-15.00

Block 3, Tuesdays, 13.00-15.00

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses





One project that is presented to the class including 10 minutes for questions and answer (70%)

One visual test in class (30%)

Project: choosing their own project output, students present the outcome of their investigation into an aspect of medieval dress in its cultural and historical context. The investigation uses appropriate historical sources from at least two areas (e.g. manuscript illuminations, medieval romances) and includes skills and methods used to produce period clothing.

Project output choices may include the creation of an artefact (a physical object created by the student) in any material, visual design (drawings or paintings in any media), digital representations. Ideas for the project output will be discussed with the course tutor.

Visual test: in-class test with a choice from three images of dress in the period 1000-1500, decoding one of the three by answering pre-defined questions around approximate date, status, meaning. The test is planned to take place for an hour in week 6 of the course.

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Provide students with a critical overview of the development of high-status fashion (1200-1500), focusing on mid-western Europe

■ Develop visual analysis skills through the study of extant textiles and embellishments

■ Give students the opportunity to undertake practical exercises such as tablet weaving and embroidery, as a way to create understanding of methods and materials/processes used in the Middle Ages

■ Offer insights into how clothing relates to people of the time and how this is reflected in textual and visual sources from the medieval period

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Identify and evaluate art historical approaches to, and interpretations of medieval dress

■ Contextualise medieval dress within its cultural and historical setting

■ Demonstrate familiarity with the skills and methods used to produce period clothing

■ Critically evaluate surviving textiles and representation of dress in the period

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.