Dr. Catherine Amoroso Leslie teaches, researches and writes on the fashion/textile business and education, both past and present. In 2017, she was honored with the International Textile and Apparel Association’s Teaching Excellence Award. This was proceeded by the Distinguished Achievement in Teaching Faculty Award from the College of the Arts and the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest award for educators at Kent State University. Dr. Leslie is a member of the Costume Society of America’s Scholars’ Roundtable and was awarded the Pearl Jubilee Award by the National NeedleArts Association. She was profiled as a Fashion Scholar in the 2015 edition of The Fashion Industry and Its Careers (Granger).
Dr. Leslie has a B.A. from Denison University with a double major in Communications (Mass Media) and Political Science. After working in New York City and taking fashion design classes at Parsons School of Design, she spent several years as a self-employed designer and dressmaker. She received a Master’s degree in Apparel and Textiles with a minor in History from Colorado State University, where she worked in the Historic Costume and Textiles Collection and learned first-hand about the importance of objects in telling the story of history. Her thesis, “Artifacts in the classroom: Impact on student learning” demonstrated the importance of costume and textile collections in fashion studies. Catherine went on to receive her Ph.D. in Textiles and Clothing from The Ohio State University. At OSU, she worked in the Collection and taught classes in the history of dress. Her dissertation, “Identity, consumption, and frequency of behavior among contemporary needleworkers”, explored issues of identity, practice, and purchasing behavior in the needlearts.
Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities
Since joining the faculty of the Kent State University Fashion School in Fall 2002, Dr. Leslie published articles and books on subjects in education, fashion history, business, women’s culture, hand traditions and merchandising. Her work has appeared in the International Journal of Home Economics; the Clothing and Textiles Research Journal; the International Journal of Arts Education; the International Journal of the Inclusive Museum; Clothing Cultures; Hybrid Pedagogy; the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education; the International Journal of Consumer Studies; the Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences; Consumer Sciences Today; and Human Perspectives on Sustainable Future. Dr. Leslie published Needlework through History: An Encyclopedia (Greenwood Press) in 2007.
She has given juried presentations to the International Textile and Apparel Association, the Costume Society of America, the International Federation of Home Economics, the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, Arts in Society, the Inclusive Museum and the Ohio Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.
Dr. Leslie has published articles, interviews, and columns in PieceWork magazine and edited the English translation of French sewing book, Everything for Baby. She has been invited to give many presentations on both historical and contemporary fashion, business, needle arts, and cultural traditions to various interest groups. Dr. Leslie was a guest on three segments of Shay Pendray’s Needle Arts Studio, produced by Detroit Public Television and Broadcast nationwide. For five years, she co-taught a Fiber Arts Seminar in Embroidery and Needlepoint sponsored by The National NeedleArts Association, a large industry trade group.
Dr. Leslie participated in the Fashion in Florence Program and served as Program Coordinator. Her semesters in Europe broadened her outlook and research interests to explore fashion and handwork on a global level.
Courses which Dr. Leslie has taught include Fashion Fundamentals, History of Costume, Historic Textiles, Product Development, Italian Fashion & Culture, European Study Tour, Fashion Marketing, Fashion Styling, Professional Seminar, Fashion Merchandising Seminar (capstone), and Fashion: A Unifying Lens (graduate). She currently serves as Graduate Coordinator and has supervised a number of masters theses as well as been actively involved in several MFA committees in Fiber Arts, Jewelry/Metals, and Art History.
Dr. Leslie’s long-term line of inquiry includes a biography of the pioneer sewing educator, businesswoman, and fashion expert, Mary Brooks Picken (1889-1981). This and complementary research explores the impact of practice and education in fashion, sewing, and needlearts, both past and present. She is interested in directing graduate study in the education and creation of costume and textiles, needlework and hand traditions, and their associated businesses.