Why Fashion in America
Fashion today is driven by a complex mix of factors, including: social and cultural identity, economics, politics, aesthetics, and individuality. Americans, through their economic clout as much as their tastes, have heavily influenced the development of global fashion. Our media-driven worship of the celebrity designer and their unattainable aesthetic ideals are merely the latest twists in an old story. This class will examine the historical and theoretical underpinnings of the fashion system in America, beginning with the importation of the couture system from mid-nineteenth-century Paris and continuing to the present. This is an upper level undergraduate seminar. Extensive outside reading and active participation in class discussions will be required. Midterm and final exams will be in essay format.