Aside from their academic merit, NYU students are known for being some of the most fashionable in the country. NYU will be offering a variety of courses next semester that will incorporate fashion into their curricula, allowing students to learn about the industry’s link to social and cultural analysis, history, business and more. For this coming spring, students should look into these themed courses that demonstrate fashion’s widespread influence and explore some of the more diverse elements of the industry.
Femininity, Postfeminism and Mass Media (Gallatin School of Individualized Study)
This course focuses on the connection between post-feminism, femininity, the consumer culture and mass media, dissecting the ways they complicate each other. Taught by professor Moya Luckett, it looks into how fashion, within the realm of consumer culture, has consequences on feminine identity and gender relations; the course analyzes how post-feminism is a partial product of that consumer culture.
Gallatin senior Storm Ritter said Luckett creates a student-friendly environment where people can explore their identity.
“The idea of identity and individuality was a common topic of conversation, which led harmonious and lively conversation in the classroom,” Ritter said. “[Luckett] creates a ‘safe-zone’ and overall positive environment for her students to openly discuss the repercussions of contradicting culture.”
Fashion and Power (Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development)
“Fashion and Power” makes fashion its main focus through discussions of fashion’s meaning in popular culture, and its role in body politics. The course also examines the value of fashion in its relationship to social power.
Steinhardt junior Lisa Azcona provided an example of how current news in fashion is incorporated into class discussion.
“In the beginning of the class, the professor always asks if anyone has gone to a fashion show or exhibition that they want to discuss in class,” Azcona said. “She wants to know if there is anything new related to fashion, and the student usually speaks about it.”
Azcona gave her insight into the enthusiasm she had exploring the world of the ever-experimental designer Margiela.
“For my research paper, I discussed Maison Martin Margiela’s use of mold, bacteria and yeast in fashion, and how that was related to time,” she said. “It was really cool to research about how something frowned upon was used in a beautiful way as a fashion statement in his exhibition.”
The Geopolitics of Beauty (College of Arts and Science)
This course, taught by professor Sharon Lee, studies the concept of beauty within different cultural and social backgrounds. Analysis is centered on the presupposition that the concept of beauty takes on different forms within different cultural, historical and political contexts. Students analyze fashion, among other aspects of beauty culture, to come to an understanding of how beauty becomes a power tool.
Lee shared her hopes that the course will produce stronger critical thinking skills in her students through blogging.
“The class incorporates current trends and controversies in fashion primarily through our public blog,” Lee said. “I encourage students to see themselves not only as consumers of knowledge but producers of knowledge as well.”
GSAS student Mercedes Drew said she enjoyed how much flexibility and creativity she was granted for her final assignments.
“The final projects were one of the best parts of the course,” Drew said. “I personally made my own magazine focusing on braids and natural hair.”
Other courses worth checking out are “Couture/Culture: Fashion and Globalization” (CAS), “Couture Culture: Sexual Politics on the Runway” (Gallatin) and “Executive Practitioner Seminar: The Dynamics of the Fashion Industry” (Stern).
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Nov. 16 print edition. Email Medardo Perez at [email protected]