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Indiana University Bloomington

Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design College of Arts and Sciences

Fashion Design

Faculty » Heather Akou, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Department Chair

Phone: (812) 855-5223

PhD - University of Minnesota, 2004
MA - University of Minnesota, 2001
BA - Macalester College, 1998

Heather Akou, Ph.D.Dr. Akou joined the faculty as an assistant professor in 2004 after receiving a BA in Art from Macalester College plus an MA and PhD from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Akou is a socio-cultural historian of dress with a focus on non-Western cultures and aesthetics, especially African (Somali) and Islamic dress. Her areas of expertise include fashion theory, aesthetics, the formation of ethnic and religious identities, textile design, and qualitative methods. Dr. Akou’s research has been published in numerous academic publications including the journals Fashion Theory and Dress. Her first book, The Politics of Dress in Somali Culture, was published by Indiana University Press in 2011.  Currently, Dr. Akou is working on a new book regarding the aesthetic analysis of textiles, dress, and the body.  This research is being generously supported by a grant from New Frontiers in the Arts & Humanities. Prof. Akou teaches a variety of undergraduate courses related to fashion and culture, and can also be found at her personal academic website:


F203-Introductory Textile Science
F301-Dress Studies: Cultural Analysis
F301-Dress Studies: Dress and Religion
F352-Dress Studies: Aesthetic Analysis

fdcg - Fashion Design + Culture Group