Secondhand Fashion: Lives in/of Clothing

Parsons School of Design: Sch. Art and Dsgn Hist and Th

Liberal Arts
Undergraduate Course
Graduate Course
Degree Students
Secondhand Fashion
Spring 2024
Taught By: Heike Jenss
Section: A

CRN: 10611

Credits: 3

In this seminar we will explore the lives and histories of secondhand clothing. As our pre-worn and discarded clothes travel through time, and often across various countries around the world, they enter new uses: Being re-worn they take on new value when they become part of a new wearer’s life who invests these ‘old’ clothes with their own meaning. They also turn into new commodities, resold in a range of retail venues that assign them meanings such as ‘rags,’ ‘thrift,’ or ‘vintage.’ Rising to the rank of ‘collector’s item’ their function as a garment may even be put on hold, when old clothes make it into museum spaces. Yet, while historically clothes were of such high value that they served as currency, the overproduction of today’s fashion has an unprecedented environmental impact with so many clothes ending up as landfill. In this seminar we will explore this shifting value of clothing and fashion and ask how discarded clothes get revived, re-styled or re-designed, inhabited and invested with new meanings. Case-studies lead us into various historic and cultural contexts: from the reselling of secondhand clothes in nineteenth century China, connections between clothing waste and 'charity', reappropriations of military uniforms including in colonial contexts, secondhand clothes as symbols of resistance or individual style, for example in counter-hegemonic or youth contexts where they get entangled with politics around class, gender, race, place or nationality.

Open to: Masters degree in Fashion Studies majors, other graduate students as space permits.

College: Parsons School of Design (PS)

Department: Sch. Art and Dsgn Hist and Th (ADHT)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Modality: In-Person

Max Enrollment: 15

Add/Drop Deadline: February 4, 2024 (Sunday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: April 16, 2024 (Tuesday)

Seats Available: Yes

* Seats available but reserved for a specific population.

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every few minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 4:50pm EDT 7/12/2024

Meeting Info:
Days: Tuesday
Times: 1:55pm - 3:45pm
Building: Johnson/Kaplan 66 West 12th
Room: 617
Date Range: 1/23/2024 - 5/7/2024
Days: Tuesday
Times: TBD
Building: TBD
Room: TBD
Date Range: 5/14/2024 - 5/14/2024