Mending Fashion

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

Liberal Arts
Undergraduate Course
Degree Students (with Restrictions)
Mending Fashion
Fall 2023
Taught By: Kate Sekules
Section: A

CRN: 16212

Credits: 3

In this course we will turn fashion inside out to re-view clothing from the perspective of maker, owner, wearer, and, above all, mender. For millennia, mending, though lacking formal framework or definition, was intrinsic to dress culture, as it still is in many parts of the world—whereas, in overdeveloped societies, the entrenched designation "consumer" perpetuates the sociocultural acceptance of discarding, often disguised as decluttering or donation. So-called fast fashion may be ideologically countered, but still functions as the bedrock of this metastatic system. Approached through case studies over a broad temporal scale, we will reconstruct mending as a developing technology from the adoption of body coverings to the evolution of fashion, and into the present. What are some broader methodological implications of understanding mends as starting points for, rather than outcomes of, cultural practices? What alters in our conception of historical and contemporary contexts of fashion when the gendered and time intensive labor of mending is reinserted into the timeline? We will incorporate interdisciplinary perspectives into fashion studies, drawing from material culture, experimental archaeology, and comparative anthropology, with readings from waste studies, broken world thinking, posthuman Material Engagement Theory, as well as histories of the secondhand trade, reuse, and recycling from imperial Rome to the twentieth century. With this multi-sited critical perspective, we will work toward a practicum, analyzing mending as fashion intervention, mediation, and transgression, as it is reabsorbed into today's system in a continuum from artisanal aesthetic choice to factory-produced simulacrum.

Open to: All university undergraduate degree students, juniors and seniors; others by permission. Pre-requisite(s): first-year university writing course and at least two prior history or methods courses in art, media, film, or visual culture. One of these courses should be 3000-level.

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: 20

Add/Drop Deadline: September 17, 2023 (Sunday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: November 21, 2023 (Tuesday)

Seats Available: No

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: 10:28pm EDT 10/1/2023

Meeting Info:
Days: Wednesday
Times: 4:00pm - 6:40pm
Building: 6 East 16th Street
Room: 611
Date Range: 9/6/2023 - 12/13/2023