Fashion Studies at the GC

What is fashion?  How does fashion have the power to affect the way we perceive ourselves and the way others perceive us? How does fashion transform and brand the identities of cities and countries? How and why do clothing, accessories, make-up, and fragrances have the power to transform and reshape the body, to make it feel at ease with a particular fabric and cut, and either go about our day either comfortable with ourselves or make us feel completely ill at ease?

The search for answers to these questions has prompted scholars from a vast variety of fields to study, investigate and take seriously fashion. Scholarship has stripped fashion of its apparent light and frivolous reputation, and has uncovered the many complex layers that it conceals.

Fashion has added a new dimension and breadth to the study of culture, art, economic and political transformations and has given us a new language of self and identity woven into the multilayered webs of social relations.

Tangible signs of the scholarly interest in fashion are the two programs offered at the CUNY Graduate Center:

An interdisciplinary PhD Concentration in Fashion Studies;

A Fashion Studies track in the MA in Liberal Studies (MALS).

MALS Track in Fashion Studies

The Track’s two core courses are: MALS 71200. The Culture of Fashion. The course will introduce students the fashion system, its implications with body, gender and class. It will also consider its role and power in the context of global history, from nations to empire and to globalization as well as recent developments in digital technology. Students will get acquainted with the foundational theories of fashion as well as the most recent research in fashion studies.; and MALS 71300. The Business of Fashion. The course will offer students in depth and critical knowledge of how the business of fashion works through study of new scientific research in technology, design, textile, the functioning of modeling industry etc. as well as addressing issues of globalization, sustainability and the environment.

The two core courses are strictly interrelated and will connect the culture and the business of fashion in a broad theoretical framework and as practiced and communicated via museums, galleries, design houses, magazines, fashion shows and weeks, and department stores.

New York, one of the global capitals of fashion, is the ideal place to study fashion. As part of the requirements of the classes, students will visit some of the NYC museums such as the MET, FIT, Cooper Hewitt, as well as meeting with professionals working in the fashion industry (designers, creative directors, department store buyers, journalists and photographers). Students will also and participate in the many lectures and international conferences organized at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Students will be encouraged to develop a theoretical and rigorous framework that will enable them to conduct research for their final thesis.

Upon completing the MALS degree, students will be qualified to enter doctoral studies in related fields, such as art history, anthropology, sociology (e.g., globalization, gender studies, consumption, urban studies etc.), business, psychology, film studies, women’s studies, English, etc. Employment opportunities include placement within several organizations in the culture industries, PR and consulting firms, NY fashion week, journalism, museums, the retail and fashion industry, or teaching in one of the programs in fashion offered within CUNY and at other New York schools.

Questions about the MALS track in Fashion Studies may be directed toliberalstudies@gc.cuny.edu.


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