Profiles, Expertise & Commentary


"Kimberly Jenkins Is Teaching Fashion At The Next Level" (nylon)

NYLON: What are some of your goals as an educator?
Kim Jenkins: Beyond the basic learning outcomes that we outline in our courses, my personal goal is for my students to come away with not only a sense of validation for their career path, but to leave school with a knowledge of self that can’t be challenged or taken away.


"Why Androids Like Sophia Dress Conservatively" (racked)

“These robots are replicating problematic social norms and standards,” said Kim Jenkins, visiting assistant professor at the Pratt Institute and part-time lecturer at Parsons School of Design, who focuses on the sociocultural and historical influences of fashion. “Everything is just this kind of perverse fantasy of what ‘femininity’ looks we're literally seeing femininity as a construction through these robots.”



“Some psychologists have observed that the more choices we are presented with, the more anxiety we develop in making decisions; in addition, we may become prone to making irrational decisions,” says Kim Jenkins, visiting assistant professor in the fashion department at NYC’s Pratt Institute. “Uniform dressing can perhaps provide an antidote to this situational stress.”


"Wine-Themed T-Shirts Are for Thin, Rich White Women" (racked)

“There's a historic (and false) presumption that women are irrational, frivolous, and flighty,” says Kim Jenkins, a visiting assistant professor of fashion history and theory at Pratt Institute and part-time lecturer at Parsons School of Design who specializes in the intersections between fashion, race, gender, psychology, and politics. “T-shirts that express a preoccupation or excitement over alcohol support an idea that ‘femininity’ and sobriety are distant relatives. We see men walk around in their favorite beer T-shirts, but there are fewer hoops to jump through when it comes to assumptions about their character.”



“The entry into these [tony] spaces largely depends upon connections. It takes a particular level of savvy to be introduced to, or associated with the key individuals who can provide the crucial visibility and recognition one needs to make it to ‘the next level,’” said Jenkins.  “Many of the most widely recognized people of color in fashion took advantage of a powerful non- POC’s willingness to push open the door for them, because, more often than not, the climb to the top of fashion’s (traditional) triangular power structure would be daunting.”


"The Psychological Case for Dressing Way Up (or Down) for Work" (the cut, new york magazine)

“We are performing our identites” in everyday life, and clothes are a huge part of that expression, says Kim Jenkins, a visiting assistant professor of fashion design at the Pratt Institute. Your wardrobe houses your personal history, your sense of place in the culture, your ethnic identity. And a uniform says something special.


These Professors Are Here To “School The Ignorant” On Race And Fashion (nylon)

“I remember asking students on the first day of my Fashion and Race class, ‘What do you hope to get out of this?’ One of my former students, Jewel Friday, was just sitting in the back, with his arms folded, and said, ‘To school the ignorant,’” Parsons professor Kimberly Jenkins recalls. “He did just that. And that’s what we hope to accomplish through this event.”

Jenkins is one-half of the brains behind the upcoming public workshop “Fashion & Justice,” an interactive, daylong event at Parsons School of Design that will examine the role of fashion in challenging inequality and race through “sartorial ingenuity.” She—in collaboration with her friend, colleague, and Harvard professor Jonathan Square and fellow guest speakers—aims to connect the dots between the history of race and fashion, and how it relates to psychology, slavery, politics, religion, and gender.


What Fashion Anthropologists Think About the Relentless Cargo-Shorts Boom (the cut, new york magazine)

“Military dress has had this trickle-down effect,” says Kim Jenkins, a visiting assistant professor of fashion design at the Pratt Institute, “and men wore these garments home, and they ended up on the street,” like the comparatively unvilified bomber jackets, for instance, or peacoats, or desert boots.


From Hoodies To Bras: A History Of Clothes As Political Weapons (refinery29)

“Some people in the fashion industry are covering their ears and eyes, and there are people who are excited about what [Kerby Jean-Raymond is] doing,” says Jenkins. “Fashion is about illusion and escapism sometimes, but it’s also a platform for the possibility to invite change.”