Ann Braaten, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Practice in Apparel, Retail Merchandising and Design

Curator – Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection


Office:  Evelyn Morrow Lebedeff Hall 178D, NDSU, 1310 Centennial Drive, Fargo, ND 58108-6050

Telephone: 701-231-7367



Ann Braaten is an associate professor of practice in the Apparel, Retail Merchandising and Design program teaching apparel design and construction, fashion history and cultural dress. She is the curator of the Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection at NDSU, an archive of over 5000 clothing and textiles items that reflect the history of the region, the history of fashion and international dress, and an affiliate faculty member of the Women and Gender Studies program at NDSU. She uses historic dress and textiles to illustrate and examine women’s roles and contributions to fashion, business, and policies relating to gender equity.   

Braaten found her niche when taking a textiles class at the University of Minnesota-Duluth; it combined her interests in art and science. She continued her studies at NDSU and Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science, receiving a bachelor’s degree in textiles and clothing from NDSU in 1981. Experience gained teaching evening adult education classes in surface design and embroidery inspired her to further her education. She earned a master’s in apparel and textiles in 1988 and bachelor’s in teacher education at NDSU in 1989. While working as head tailor and alterations manager at a bridal and ready-to-wear store, her eyes were opened to the challenges of fitting clothes to the varied shapes and sizes of the human body. This fueled her interest in the two-dimensions of apparel patternmaking and the three-dimensions of fit. She joined the apparel and textiles faculty of NDSU in 1991. In 2001 she received a two-year sabbatical during which completed coursework in the apparel studies doctoral program at the University of Minnesota earning her Ph.D. in 2005.

Her publications include “Shawls of the Germans from Russia,” in Textile History; “Women Creating, Women Providing: Hastings Needlework Company,” in Minnesota History Journal; “Kate Selby Wilder: Clubwoman, Suffragist, WCTU Activist and City Commissioner” and “Kate Selby Wilder Dresses the Part” in Equality at the Ballot Box: Votes for Women on the Northern Plains, South Dakota Historical Society Press; and “Virginia Woods Bellamy: Designer, Knitter, Poet” in The Hidden History of American Fashion: Women Designers. Bloomberg Press.

Ask Me

Who are your role models or inspiring folks? 

My role models include the teachers, professors and reference librarians who encouraged me and helped fuel my interest in learning, and my mother and father, who were good problem-solvers and modeled persistence by working at something until a job was well done.

Outside of art and design fields, what inspires you?

People from cultures living around the world, nature, human innovations.

What do you wish you had known when you started out as a student/in this field?

As a new student, I wish I would have become more involved in activities on campus. They would have enriched my college experience by gaining friends, new experiences, and leadership skills.

What was your most memorable meal?

My most memorable meal was in Crete with a cooking class arranged last minute because an outdoor tour was cancelled due to a heavy rainstorm. We gathered around two large kitchen tables to chop vegetables and wild garlic, and to wash snails. Using olive oil pressed the night before, we created a beautiful salad, fried tomato fritters, and sautéed snails with garlic butter. Our Greek hosts seated us around long tables in their veranda to enjoy the feast while the rain poured down around us.

In your office, you can only have three things, one book, one tool, and one picture. What would they be and why?  

If I could have only one book, it would be Therese Dillmont’s Encyclopedia of Needlework (1884), my one tool would be a needle, and my one picture would be of a sunflower field blooming in North Dakota. Dillmont’s book is packed full of surface design techniques that are time-tested. With them, I am inspired and able to make a bland world more interesting.



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