Sara Idacavage

College of Family and Consumer Sciences

Textiles, Merchandising and Interiors

PhD Candidate

Sara Idacavage is a fashion historian and sustainable fashion educator.


Degree Field of Study Institution Graduation
Ph.D. Polymer, Fiber, and Textile Sciences (International Merchandising Emphasis) University of Georgia Expected: May 2024
Graduate Certificate Museum Studies University of Georgia Expected: May 2024
M.A. Fashion Studies Parsons School of Design May 2014
B.S.F.C.S. Fashion Merchandising University of Georgia May 2009


I employ sustainability as a lens to delve into the historical foundations of the fashion system and contextualize contemporary challenges within a broader historical framework. I focus on the influence of institutional arrangements, global trade, mass media, cultural expectations, and societal norms to draw connections between the social, economic, and political systems that engender discourses around fashion.

In addition to historical and cultural scholarship, my research focuses on transforming fashion education, underpinned by a deep commitment to improving students’ mental health and empowering them to be agents of change.


Instructor of Record, The University of Georgia
Department of Textiles, Merchandising, and Interiors
-    Fashion and Sustainability (Spring 2023)
-    Textiles for Consumers (Fall 2022)

Graduate Teaching Assistant, The University of Georgia
Department of Textiles, Merchandising, and Interiors

-    Dress, Society, and Culture (Spring 2024, Fall 2023)
-    Fashion Theory (Fall 2023)
-    First-Year-Odyssey: Why is Fashion Meaningful? (Spring 2024, Fall 2023) 
-    Apparel Design Studio (Spring 2022)
-    Fundamentals of Fashion Merchandising (Fall 2021, Spring 2021)
-    Pop Culture and Fashion (Spring 2021)
-    Creativity and the Design Process (Fall 2020)

Part-Time Instructor, Parsons School of Design
School of Fashion; School of Art and Design History and Theory
-    Advanced Research Seminar: Fashion (Spring 2020, Fall 2019, Fall 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2016, Spring 2016)
-    Materiality of Fashion (Fall 2019)
-    Fashion Techniques: Couture (Spring 2019, Fall 2018)
-    Fashion Textile Survey (Spring 2019, Fall 2018) 
-    Fashion Culture (Spring 2019, Fall 2018, Spring 2017)
-    Fashion History: Fusion (Spring 2018) 
-    Fashion History: Survey (Fall 2016)
-    Fashion History: Couture (Fall 2016)

Visiting Instructor, The Pratt Institute
History of Art and Design Department
-    Contemporary Fashion (Fall 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2017)
-    History of Interior Design (Spring 2018)

Adjunct Instructor, Fashion Institute of Technology
History of Art Department
-    History of Western Costume (Fall 2019)

Teaching Assistant, Parsons School of Design
School of Art and Design History and Theory
-    History of Fashion (Fall 2017, Spring 2014, Fall 2013)

Prior Professional Positions

Organization Title Years of Service
Parsons School of Design Part-Time Faculty 2016-2020
Pratt Institute Part-Time Faculty 2017-2019
Fashion Institute of Technology Part-Time Faculty 2019
Parsons Fashion Study Collection Collections Management/Faculty Worker 2017-2019
Ralph Lauren Library Project Archivist 2016
The New School Archives & Special Collections Fashion Specialist 2014-2015


Award Name Awarded By Year Awarded
Paper of Distinction Award, Pedagogy and Professional Development Track International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference 2023
L. Frank and Georgia D. Rodgers Graduate Student Award FACS, UGA 2023
Campus Sustainability Grant UGA Office of Sustainability 2021
Sweaney Innovation Fund FACS, UGA 2021
Virginia Wilbanks Kilgore Scholarship FACS, UGA 2020
Outstanding Contribution to the MA Fashion Studies Program Parsons School of Design 2014
Virginia Wilbanks Kilgore Scholarship FACS, UGA 2008
Hope Scholarship UGA 2005-2009


Organization Title Year(s) Service Type
International Textile and Apparel Association Committee Member, Curatorial Scholarship Review & Awards 2022 - present
International Textile and Apparel Association Member 2020 - present
Popular Culture Association Member 2019 - present
Costume Society of America Member 2018 - present
Union of Concerned Researchers in Fashion Member 2023 - present
Costume Society of America Planning Committee, 46th Annual Meeting and Symposium 2019 - 2020



  • Fighting Systemic Racism, Classism, and Individualism in Sustainable Fashion Education (UGA Campus Sustainability Grant with Sha'Mira Covington)


  • UGA's Fair Fashion Club

Advisory Committee

  • Dr. Katalin Medvedev (major advisor)
  • Dr. Patricia Hunt-Hurst (advisory committee member)
  • Dr. Akela Reason (advisory committee member)
  • Dr. Kathryn Roulston (advisory committee member)

Areas of Expertise

fashion history, cultural studies, material culture, visual culture, ethics and sustainability in the fashion industry, museum studies, fashion curation

Other Work

I am continually striving to make history and theory more accessible to a wider audience through public lectures and frequent media commentary for publications like the Wall Street Journal, The Cut, and HuffPost. I have also shared my love of fashion through podcasts, a series of lecture tours across China, several appearances on the Travel Channel program Mysteries at the Museum, and on video for Condé Nast Entertainment.

In addition to serving as an Associate Editor of The Fashion Studies Journal since 2016, I wrote a column for Fashionista titled Fashion History Lessons, and was a regular contributor to Refinery29,, and Time Out New York for years. 

I have also worked in archives and museums that include the Parsons Fashion Study Collection, the Ralph Lauren Library, the Museum of the City of New York, and the Georgia Museum of Art. I am currently curating an exhibition with the University of Georgia’s Special Collections Libraries titled From Farms to Fast Fashion: Tracing the History of a Fashion Revolution, which tells the story of how clothing became cheaper, faster to make, and easier to care for while uncovering who ultimately pays the cost for these conveniences.

Current Research

My dissertation examines how early mail-order catalogs helped to pave the way for today’s concept of “fast fashion.” I use discourse analysis to examine mail-order catalogs published by Sears, Roebuck and Co. between the 1890s and 1910s, which were distributed to rural populations across the United States. Without having any connection to the people who made the clothing or having the opportunity to touch the garments, the illustrations in these catalogs became increasingly important to how American consumers understood and perceived the value and materiality of fashion. Instead of simply reflecting changes in consumer behavior, my research explores how mail-order catalogs and other forms of media have actively participated in producing consumer behavior while fundamentally changing how people see fashion. 

Journal Articles


Manuscripts in Submission:

  • Idacavage, S., & Peters, L.D. (2023). “Growing Up Through Growing Down”: Reframing Degrowth in Fashion Education. (Submitted to International Journal of Sustainable Fashion and Textiles)
  • Idacavage, S., & McAndrews, L. (2023). Letting go of fear and biases: New perspectives of historic clothing for design education in the post-pandemic age of digitization. (Submitted to International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education)


Essays in Edited Volumes:

  • Idacavage, S., & Medvedev, K. (2024) “Social Justice as a Sustainability Issue.” In Blanco, J. (Ed.) The Meanings of Dress (Fourth edition). Fairchild Books, Inc. (forthcoming)

Encyclopedia Entries:

  • Idacavage, S. (2021). New York fashion designers in the 1990s. In V. Steele (Ed.), Bloomsbury Fashion Video Archive
  • Idacavage, S. (2019). David Bowie’s influence on fashion. In J.B. Eicher & P.G. Tortora (Eds.), Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion: Global Perspectives. Oxford: Berg.
  • Idacavage, S. (2018). The development of fast fashion. In J.B. Eicher & P.G. Tortora (Eds.), Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion: Global Perspectives. Oxford: Berg.
  • Idacavage, S. (2018). Copying French couture for American consumers. In P.G. Tortora (Ed.), Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion: The United States and Canada. Oxford: Bloomsbury Academic.
  • Idacavage, S. (2016). Glam rock. In J.F. Blanco, M.D. Doering, P. Hunt-Hurst, & H.V. Lee (Eds.), Clothing and fashion: American fashion from head to toe. ABC-CLIO. ISBN : 9781610693097


  • Idacavage, S. (2014). "A Taste for Caviar": National identity ambivalence in American fashion between 1930-1960. (Master's thesis, available upon request). Parsons School of Design, New York, NY.

Jump to top