teaching Fashion History & Theory

 
 
The new diverse range of nude heels from Christian Louboutin, 2016.

The new diverse range of nude heels from Christian Louboutin, 2016.

Fashion and Race (Fall 2016–Present), parsons school of design

I developed this course to investigate the ways in which fashioned identities emerge within a racialized context in effort to gain access, visibility and power, bridging key concepts in fashion studies with foundations in critical race theory, as well as methodologies from disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, art history and material culture.  Students in this course will come away with a deeper understanding of the intersection of fashion, race, and ethnicity, and will critically address historical and socially accepted standards of beauty and value within the fashion system. 


Fashion Culture (Fall 2016–Present), parsons school of design

Fashion Culture is an intellectual studio which complements integrated design practice and offers students the opportunity to explore and define their creative and aesthetic vision through lectures and readings in modern fashion history along with ample museum visits.

Designer Yohji Yamamoto featured in the film, Antifashion (courtesy m2m.tv).

Designer Yohji Yamamoto featured in the film, Antifashion (courtesy m2m.tv).


A field trip with my students to the Cora Ginsburg Gallery on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

A field trip with my students to the Cora Ginsburg Gallery on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Fashion History: Survey (Fall 2015–Present), Parsons School of Design

This general survey of fashion history covers the period from Ancient Egypt until the present day, organized chronologically. An examination of the influences of history, literature, politics, media, psychology and culture undergird the meaning of dress and the development and practice of style.  Lectures are contextualized further through hands-on and visual analyses of historical materials.


The woman who revolutionized the way fashion was publicized, Eleanor Lambert, photographed by Cecil Beaton.

The woman who revolutionized the way fashion was publicized, Eleanor Lambert, photographed by Cecil Beaton.

NYC: Fashion (Fall 2014–Present), parsons school of design

This course introduces students to “New York Fashion” as a socially constructed aesthetic style and a fashion capital. Beginning with the city’s early ascent as an industrial district to New York Fashion Week and the micro-economies developed by today’s power bloggers, New York has provided a space for promise, progress and mobility within the world of fashion. Topics of discussion include: what New York makes possible for emerging designers, how New York-based art and educational institutions celebrate fashion, how the borough of Brooklyn has situated itself as a cultural brand, and how New York provides an incubator for the latest advancements in design ethics and technology.


Scene from the 1981 film, Ms. 45.

Scene from the 1981 film, Ms. 45.

Fashion and Violence (Fall 2013), Parsons School of Design

I co-taught this course, which was conceptualized and developed by my Parsons MA Fashion Studies peer, Laura Snelgrove. This class sought to uncover and analyze points of intersections between violence and fashion, using a fashion studies approach that finds evidence in images, objects, spaces, and practices and applies theories from disciplines including sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, and visual and material culture studies. Our readings had cast a wide net, from key fashion studies figures such as Rebecca Arnold, Caroline Evans and Joanne Entwistle, to media studies writing from Susan Bordo and Sherie Inness, in order to build a solid theoretical foundation for students’ analysis of cultural texts both in class and through independent research.


Scene from the film featuring the mending process at Patagonia, The Next Black (courtesy AEG).

Scene from the film featuring the mending process at Patagonia, The Next Black (courtesy AEG).

Contextualizing Fashion (Fall 2013–Present), pratt institute

The course cultivates an understanding of how meaning is constructed in fashion through context. Upon completion of the course, students will have constructed their own critical view on fashion, supported by scholarly research and critical analysis, preparing them to be conscious and innovative fashion/image makers in their own design practices.


A model in a Pierre Balmain look, 1950s.

A model in a Pierre Balmain look, 1950s.

Contemporary Fashion (Spring 2014–Present), pratt institute

During this course, students learn to identify silhouettes, construction and key garments and images throughout fashion history, based upon a framework of sociocultural context and related fashion theory. The course cultivates an interdisciplinary and diachronic understanding of modern and contemporary fashion, considering how meaning is constructed in fashion through context. An introduction to research methodologies in fashion and art history also grounds the student’s fluency in fashion history and theoretical perspectives. 


Nick Cave sound suits (courtesy: https://slobots.com).

Nick Cave sound suits (courtesy: https://slobots.com).

guest lecture for The Performance of Fashion (Fall 2016), pratt institute

I presented a lecture on select performances of the body in fashion history for a course led by artist Theodora Skipitares. This studio course explores expanded definitions of fashion and sculpture to include the body’s presentation in the public sphere through research on the work of historical interdisciplinary artists, the design of objects to be worn by the human body that are performative and the performance of these projects.