The Emergence of Fashion Studies at CUNY
The CUNY Graduate Center— located on Fifth Avenue in a landmark building, the former B. Altman department store — has pioneered the practice of studying fashion as an academic field in an interdisciplinary framework. Courses on the theory and history of fashion have been offered since 1998. The first international academic conference in the U.S. on Italian Fashion was held at the Graduate Center in October 2002. Since then the Graduate Center has been at the forefront in establishing Fashion Studies as an academic field of enquiry.
Extending disciplinary boundaries, courses at CUNY offer students the chance to explore Fashion Studies in a broader framework that includes culture, history, politics, and gender.
Unique in the US, the Graduate Center offers two programs in Fashion Studies, a PhD Concentration available to students enrolled in any GC PhD Program and a Master’s degree in Liberal Studies with a track in Fashion Studies.
Students who have completed their Programs in Fashion Studies have gone on to careers in journalism, academia and the fashion industry. The versatility of the program and the chance to pair Fashion Studies with other tracks in the Program of Liberal Studies such as Digital Humanities, Women’s Studies, Gender and Sexuality, New York Studies, Film Studies, Food Studies enable students to develop a broader specialization in tune with today’s competitive job market. In addition, students can expand their interest in fashion Studies by taking courses in other Departments and Programs at the Graduate Center.
The Graduate Center boasts an internationally renowned faculty in all areas and disciplines. The GC is also the site of a number of prestigious centers of research, such as the Center for the Humanities, The Center for the Study of Women and Society, The Gotham Center, The Center for Place, Culture and Politics, The Center of Gay and Lesbian Studies, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, as well as the New Media Lab.
With the historical Garment district and the Museum of the Fashion Institute of Technology a stone’s throw away, the GC is located at the interface between the academy and industry. This strategic geographical location at the heart of New York City, one of the world’s fashion capitals, make the GC the ideal place and environment to study fashion in action.