The Costume Research Journal: A Quarterly Devoted to Costume and Dress


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Editor: Change is again upon us, and more changes are forecast for

Susan Brown-StraussCostume Research JournalWhen @160x120.jpg Kathleen Gossman

and I became co-editors of CRJ in March of 2000, we promised change. Little did we know that change would become a constant in our lives. I am sorry to report that one of the changes was Kathy resignation as co-editor in October. Her talent, energy and style were instrumental in the remodeling of Cutter’s Research Journal to that of the Costume Research Journal. She will be missed.

Change is seldom comfortable. It does, however, energize. To better serve our readership, keep the journal fresh and energized, we have restructured the makeup of our editorial and review board, redistributing some of Kathy’s responsibilities to the associate editors. Editorial duties will be rotated based on each issue’s needs and the interests and schedules of our associate editors. The idea is to pair people with activities for each issue and distribute the load so that no one becomes overwhelmed and that working with CRJ is rewarding and hopefully, fun.Another change is the addition of a new editorial position, that of Subscriber Liaison. Whitney Blausen, graciously agreed to serve as a liaison to document subscriber concerns, direct them to the appropriate USITT office for assistance if needed, and provide follow-up. She has been serving in that position since November. So, if you have complaints or compliments, please contact Whitney.

Buy other USITT Publications here:

As editor, I invite you to become part of the changing face of CRJ. Consider adding your name to the list of volunteers as a juror for our editorial review board or as a potential associate editor.


Turn on the news or pick up a paper and it’s a toss-up whether you’ll see a funeral procession in Israel or one in Gaza, but some one will have blown up something. Bio-terrorism is front-page news rather than the “creature feature” on the Science fiction channel. We focus on airport runways, gas masks, camouflage, the latest in night vision headgear and what the well-dressed commando is wearing this year rather than on fashion runways.

We have picked up the pieces, dusted off clichés, and found new catch phrases to rally the troops, both military and civilian. The American military are the best of the best and we, on the Home Front, are back to business as usual. Hopefully, the worst is over, things are settling down; even the stock market is recovering. We laugh, we tell bad jokes, and though we don’t believe in chain letters, we forward the ones on friendship to everyone in our address book via email. After all, no one can have too many friends.

We reassess some priorities. We take the time to say thank you for helping, for caring, for being a friend. We continue doing the same things we did last year and the year before. While we may pay more attention to our families and friends, and make a point of letting them know we care, for most of us, our lives have not changed significantly. For some mysterious reason it is working. The clichés comfort.

At the same time, our lives have changed significantly. Depending on the time of day, the weather, or perhaps who we are with; an image glimpsed for an instant from the corner of the eye, or some other indefinable something will remind us that in the space of a few minutes our familiar and safe world can disappear.The nice young man next door who always seemed so shy and sweet may be responsible for killing thousands. It is unsafe to open the mail. The racist down the street mayhavesaved the lives of 10 or 20 or 50 people, and race didn’t matter, because everyone was ash-gray.

As you read this issue, consider how we view our world and the people around us.Some days we perceive the glass as half-full. Or is it half empty?It is definitely the lovers! Or do you see the vase?

What face will you wear today? Much will depend on our ethnic heritage, religion, political leanings, economic status, education, and geographic location. This is familiar territory.

As costume designers and technicians, our art is that of character analysis and camouflage. On-stage costumes are the masks we create for the actors that allow them to tell their tale, to conceal or reveal what they will in their own time. It is all a question of perspective and point of view. We analyze the script. We know the subtext, and can diagram the plot and subplots.

For years we have watched from behind the scenes. Suddenly we are players. Has that changed the mask we choose to wear?

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