From Forever 21 to Apple: ‘Making’ in China and the USA

Parsons School of Design: Art/Design Hist & Theory

Liberal Arts

Undergraduate Course

Graduate Course

Degree Students

From Forever 21 to Apple

Spring 2019

Taught By: Christina Moon

Section: A

CRN: 6871

Credits: 3

From fast-fashion (Forever 21, H&M, Zara), fast-furniture (IKEA), and fast-technologies (Apple, mobile phone technologies), to '99 cent stores,' Wal-Mart, and repeatable global offices, malls, airports, and franchises around the world, global commerce creates design and material goods which are disposable, conveniently used by millions of people, and made by a global workforce of migrant labor on global assembly lines of production. The evolution of industrial craft paradigms to now 'just-in-time' production systems and global 'supply-chain capitalism' has dramatically made possible new designs and products which pattern modes of living in modern daily life, structuring our dependencies towards convenience, immediacy, fast and the 'new.' From 19th century industrial communities, 20th century craft workers, to a 21st century world full of multinational corporations of automated assemblies, and hyper-specialized small time producers, what is the state of manufacturing and making in the reimagination of new futures? In this course, we will consider the history and relationship of industrial craft paradigms, flexible arrangements, and mass production between the US and Asia. Our everyday lives are inundated with trendy, cheap, timely, and disposable products that offer us quick fantasies of a good life, luxury, freedom, mobility, and unlimited experimentations in self-expression. How do these products provide insight into who we are and who we wish to be? What makes these things even possible in our everyday lives? Some topics include fast-fashion and luxury goods; shanzai and copy cultures; notions of “quality;” the aesthetics of cheap plastic goods; the ‘skills’ of workers and machines; design piracy and intellectual property; the logistics of shipping containers and ports; villages of craft handiwork and massive mass production factories. Central to these discussions will be questions on ethnicity, race, migration, labor, class, gender and sexuality. A major goal of the course is to consider the ‘patchiness’ and failures of global capitalism and the struggles of a global workforce living in precarity. We will look for hope and possibilities amidst capitalist ruins, among “makers” who create, innovate, and subvert from design cultures of below.

Open to: All university graduate degree students. Pre-requisite(s): none.

College: Parsons School of Design (PS)

Department: Art/Design Hist & Theory (PGHT)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Max Enrollment: 15

Enrollment Status: Closed*

*Enrollment status information is updated every five 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: 3:32pm 5/24/2019

Meeting Info:

Days: Tuesday

Times: 12:10pm - 2:00pm

Building: 6 East 16th Street

Room: 704

Date Range: 1/22/2019 - 5/7/2019