This course provides students with an introduction to multidisciplinary and popular cultural influences (race, ethnicity, gender, sex, religion) on fashion and style. It also introduces students to the ways in which individual characteristics have shifted the meanings and notions of what we call fashion and style. Through various readings related to fashion, style, identity, race, ethnicity, gender, sex and religion, this course will serve as an educational guide on cultural, social, and unique consumer markets. This lesson plan has been designed to conceptually expose students to various types of popular groups and unique individuals. The readings are a starting point and are not intended to be comprehensive; students should build upon these readings as the class progresses.
Today’s popular mass fashion does not exist in a vacuum, nor is it part of a collective consciousness. It is a multicultural, diversified, micro-marketed, segmented, fragmented and at the same time a global market phenomenon. Most of us will not wear couture clothes nor work in couture fashion houses, so understanding street style, and how mass culture transforms fashion and is influenced by history, consumers, marketing, merchandising, retailing, and sales is extremely important. Contrary to popular belief, the creative process for fashion does not start with design genius. It begins when last year’s sales, retail successes and failures, and merchandisers’ “wish lists” have been analyzed in conjunction with changing consumer demographics and psychographics. Demographics are characteristics of consumers such as age, gender, race, ethnicity, while psychographics are usually attitudes related to personality, interests, values, lifestyles and opinions.
Students of fashion will eventually work in areas such as retailing, merchandising, buying, designing, branding and other such fields. They will find it helpful to understand the theoretical concepts behind fashion and style and how these meanings have shifted in the 21st century, through new innovations and a multicultural marketplace. By exposure to various ideas of dress, apparel, culture, style and fashion, this conceptual curriculum will allow students to serve a diverse range of clients and consumers, informed by an understanding of the ways in which purchasing behaviors are shaped by an individual’s identity and view of the world.
Back to the top