Fashion Studies: Key Concepts
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Level: Undergraduate, Graduate
Division: Parsons The New School for Design
School: School of Art and Design History and Theory
Department: Fashion Studies
Course Number: PGFS 5000
Course Format: Lecture
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Fashion Design History, Theory & Criticism
  • Fashion
  • Fashion Studies
This seminar provides a critical review of definitions of fashion as well as of the theoretical concepts and debates that have shaped the development of fashion and fashion studies as a scholarly field. Core texts range from the work of early writers on fashion such as Georg Simmel or Thorstein Veblen to recent scholarship published in Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body and Culture. Responding to the journal’s definition of fashion as “the cultural construction of the embodied identity,” the course will specifically address discourses on the relationship of fashion, body and identity, problematized by the complex variables such as gender, class, ethnicity, trans/nationality. In studying key issues and paradigm shifts in the discourse of the field, students will become familiar with scholars who have influenced the field of fashion studies, such as Elizabeth Wilson, Jennifer Craik, Susan Kaiser, Valerie Steele, Caroline Evans as well as with debates in disciplines that have informed the field, such as cultural studies, gender studies, anthropology and sociology. Beyond critical class discussion and close readings of texts students will work on a research paper exploring some of the introduced concepts on a more in-depth level, learning how to utilize and synthesize scholarly perspectives in the field of fashion studies. Pathway: Fashion Studies.
Course Open to: Majors Only
Course Pre/Co-requisites:
Open to: Masters degree in Fashion Studies majors only.


Open to Graduate students.


Open to Fashion Studies students.