Heather Akou

Heather Akou

Co-Area Coordinator, Fashion Design

Associate Professor, Fashion Design

Director, Sage Collection

  • hakou@indiana.edu
  • (812) 855-6163
  • Kirkwood Hall 300
  • Office Hours
    By Appointment Only


  • Ph.D., Design, Housing, & Apparel, University of Minnesota, 2005
  • M.S., Design, Housing & Apparel, University of Minnesota, 2001
  • B.A., Studio Art, Macalester College, 1998


Heather Akou is an Associate Professor of fashion design and merchandising and the Director of the Sage Fashion Collection. Her research interests include the cultures and histories of non-Western dress, African dress, Islamic dress, the politics of dress, the embodiment of religion, and the aesthetics of textiles, dress, and the body. Her first book, The Politics of Dress in Somali Culture, was published by Indiana University Press in 2011. She has also published in numerous edited volumes and journals such as Fashion Theory, Dress, and Contemporary Islam. Her current projects include co-editing an anthology on African fashion histories and writing a monograph about qualitative methods in studying the aesthetics of textiles, dress, and the body. Her teaching at IU has included courses on textiles (materials for fashion design), manufacturing, international trade, dress and culture, dress and religion, aesthetics, and non-Western fashion.