Division of Applied Undergraduate Studies

Oppositional Dress: A Subtext of Fashion

Description: This course will explore how dress, both in terms of personal self fashioning and looks connected to subcultural or countercultural groups has served to communicate oppositional statements in the twentieth century. Questions concerning the definitions of subculture will be addressed, in addition to expanding on how particular looks have informed the fashion industry and what this has meant to the history of fashion studies. Drawing from examples in the Unites States and Britain primarily we will focus on distinctive styles, and explore what these looks signified at the time of their inception and how they have come to be read as iconic today. A variety of sources including photography, film and musical performances will be considered using an interdisciplinary approach drawing from Subculture studies, Fashion Theory, Sociology, and Cultural Studies. An examination of how specific elements of dress, such as zoot suits, bell-bottoms, or safety pinned T-shirts inform the study of fashion as material culture but also how they have been interpreted in scholarship and the popular media
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