History and Culture of Fashion
It’s been a long time since I was last in full-time education. In 1997, I graduated from UMIST (now merged with the University of Manchester) with a BSc in Textile Design and Design Management, but still had a desire to learn more. I just wasn’t completely sure what it was I wanted to learn. Since then I have tried all sorts of things via evening classes, short courses and workshops to satisfy my desire for learning. I passed A-levels in Business Studies and Photography through studying in my spare time. I learnt how to design gardens, make corsets, alter clothing, and write a fashion article for a magazine. Recently, I realised that all my short courses in the last few years have been fashion related and so I started to investigate options for Masters level study. Most courses were extremely vocational though and so didn’t really hold my interest past seeing how much the fees were. After all… did I really want to be a fashion photographer? Or a fashion journalist?
At the end of last year, it finally dawned on me what I had really gained from all the short courses I’d taken. I’d found out how to make a corset, how to take a good photograph, how vintage lingerie was constructed, and how to write for fashion magazines. I didn’t want that knowledge in order to put the skills to good use, I simply enjoyed having the knowledge and explaining to others how these things are done. I liked analysing the whys and hows. Discovering the links between the different areas and doing more research. This realisation led me to the delightfully academic MA History and Culture of Fashion course at the London College of Fashion. The page for the course describes it as:
“A unique opportunity for you as a student to investigate fashion as a practice, object and representation in the modern period. It encourages imaginative and critical responses to the latest and most pressing issues facing fashion studies, while equipping you with the skills and the confidence to undertake substantial and self-directed research projects.”
I’m looking forward to finding out more about the fashion industry and the modern fashion system. I can’t wait to explore how we use fashion to shape our identity, express (or not) our gender, and how we fit into subcultures by way of our dress. I’ll be able to research along paths I have already scratched the surface of – lingerie, feminism etc – and will discover many more angles which interest me. I start the course part-time in October. Will this mean I’ll have no time for blogging due to all the reading and essay writing? Well, I guess you’ll have to stick around to find out.
UPDATE: I’ve now graduated (passed with Distinction!) and the course has changed for 2015/16 to become MA Fashion Cultures, with a pathway in history and a pathway in film. Sadly, the University of Manchester no longer runs the design course I studied, but they still have a number of textiles courses in their School of Materials.