Death of Cool: Subculture and Fashion
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Level: Undergraduate
Division: Parsons The New School for Design
School: School of Art and Design History and Theory
Department: Art and Design History
Course Number: PLFS 3026
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Cultural Studies
  • Fashion Design History, Theory & Criticism
  • Visual Culture
With beginnings in the avant-garde art world and African-American minstrelsy, the consumption of subculture has been a driving force in fashion since the 19th century. This course will examine the interaction between fashion and subculture from its early modern origins into the advent of the ever-multiplying streetstyle tribes of the late 20th century. Topics to be covered include the bohemian artists of the late 19th century, and the rise of African-American subculture as exemplified by jazz and the Zoot Suiter. In the second half of the twentieth century, the chemical aesthetics of the psychedelic hippie movement of the 1960s and the apocalypse of punk in the 1970s will be examined as both subcultural expression and fashion inspiration. Through readings of primary texts and critical theory and the viewing of exploitative and documentary film, the relationship between mainstream fashion and the culture of "cool" will be explored. Pathway: Fashion Studies
Course Open to: Degree Students
Course Pre/Co-requisites:
Open to: All university undergraduate degree students. Pre-requisites: first-year university writing course and at least one prior history or methods course in art, media, film, or visual culture.