Chantal Filson: Founder/Dean

Costume On is an international online conference for historical costuming created during the 2020 Quarantine. Students attended from all over the world, including Canada, Australia, Panama, the UK, France, Germany & the Netherlands.

Speakers across the globe use video conferencing to teach fashion history and technique, covering a range of eras that primarily focus on the 18th century to early 20th. Classes include both lectures and hands-on workshops, where students interact with the teacher in real-time.


The conference is a biannual event, (spring/fall). Costume On 4 will be held in Spring, 2022. A supplemental series of Master Classes runs throughout the year, intensive 2 day seminars for sewing & technology.

Costume on      may 2-3/may 16-17, 2020

Screenshots of Costume On classes (May 2-3 & May 16-17, 2020)


The conference took place in real-time on May 2-3, a second weekend was added due to overwhelming demand (May 16-17). Students attended 4 separate channels of lectures where the live teacher screenshared presentations and answered questions, workshops where closeups of both hands sewing and examples were shown on camera, and a General Lounge meeting room where they chatted in between classes and held a picnic. Students were able to hold up their own pieces to camera both as examples in lectures and to have the teacher check their work in workshops, regardless of time zone/country.

Students registered through the website, paid, received a welcome packet and attended orientation- all online. Teachers submitted proposals, outlines and video clips and attended their own orientation for this new format. The content was curated and formatted to create a balanced curriculum of time periods, lectures and workshops.

Costume on 2: Tailored    September 19-20, 2020

Screenshots of Costume On 2: Tailored (Sept 19-20)


The second conference had several new additions: curators from two museums who featured items not currently on display, historical crochet, period hairstyling, living history presentations, discussion panels on inclusivity, menswear tailoring classes and the start of a body-positive series on plus-size period costuming. The General Lounge chat room was open on both days, rather than just one, and classes covered more eras (17th century through early 1900s).

Costume On 2: Tailored focused not only on tailoring techniques, but tailoring costumes to every body, every skill level, every person. All classes were original content created specifically for Costume On by the teachers.

Costume on 3: origins      april 17-18, 2021

Screenshots of Costume On 3: Origins (April 17-18, 2021)


The third conference was a great start to year two for Costume On! There was a fantastic mix of lectures and workshops, with presentations by two new museum curators and several teachers overseas. The General Lounge was back, with some excellent open forum discussions on period technique, and this conference featured three free bonus classes for students rather than the usual two.

Costume On 3: Origins also invited students to write in accounts of their own costume beginnings, which were then shared on a page (click here).

Costume On 4 coming Spring, 2022