Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion

One of the newest items in Van Wylen Library’s collection is the Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Hope received its copy from Joanne Eicher, Regents’ Professer Emerita of the University of Minnesota, and general editor of the encyclopedia. She has spent her summers in Holland since 1967 and worked on the encyclopedia at her cottage near Lake Michigan. Though she oversaw the creation of the encyclopedia, other individuals lent their expertise to particular regional volumes that make up the collection.beofdaf

“The scholars as contributors wrote from their vantage point of knowing the dress and fashion from their country or area of the world, using findings and synthesizing them, but adding recent research,” Eicher said. “The encyclopedia is rich because the contributors come from many disciplines–anthropology, art history, history, cultural studies, economics, folklore, dress and fashion history and studies, sociology, and theater.”

Though the word “dress” may bring to mind just images of clothes, Eicher said the scope of dress is actually quite broad.

“The definition of ‘dress’ is wide as it covers both body modifications and supplements, meaning that whatever one does to get dressed, showering, shaving, adding scent of aftershave or perfume, combing hair and putting on clothes, or carrying umbrellas or backpacks is part of dress,” Eicher said. “Students will find much up-to-date info and find the encyclopedia useful for a variety of term papers.”

This ten-volume set includes information about various styles of dress throughout the globe. Nine volumes pertain to a particular region of the world, with that region broken down into smaller geographic areas such as countries. These volumes also contain other information about the dress of the area, such as how modern-day dress evolved in a particular area. Regional volumes that relate to colonized land such as the United States and Australia include information on how outside influences factored into the development of common fashion. The tenth volume of the encyclopedia, Global Perspectives, gives an overview of fashion and dress throughout the world.


— Bethany Stripp, Library Student Blogger

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