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Interwoven. Fashion and Clothing Communities in Art History (1800-the Present) - HOA00082H

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  • Department: History of Art
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Cordula Van Wyhe
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

This module encourages the interdisciplinary study of the history of art and dress/textile history in the humanities. It aims at furthering students’ ability to look at clothes as well as art while inviting thought in more nuanced ways about the material world and people’s relationship to it. It will familiarise students with concepts of modernity and the central role of fashion for the modern experience. It will enhance students’ engagement with the ethical and environmental challenges posed by fashion and the historical roots of these challenges.

Related modules

Students who have taken the I-level version of Interwoven. Fashion and Clothing Communities in Art History (1800-the Present) are prohibited from taking the H-version of the same module.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

This module looks at the many complex messages conveyed by fashion in clothing communities from the nineteenth to the middle of the twentieth century. There will also be seminars on specially selected case studies of the contemporary fashion world we live in. It deliberately defies traditional categorisation, as it does not focus uniquely on fashion as clothing industry. Rather, it cuts trans-historically to foreground the various, extraordinary ways by which communities approached clothing and textiles. What is fashion after all and why is it so essential to the modern experience? How did people adorn their bodies and wear clothes to project ideas of belonging and identity? As luxury objects, clothing and jewellery were often not made to be worn at all, but, similarly to art, existed for a variety of purposes that went beyond mere practicality. How do artists ‘stage’ the cut and fit of clothing? How can we best understand collaborations between designers and artists? This module addresses these and many other questions by moving beyond the traditional linear narrative that presents clothing as evolving from ethnographic costumes to expression of modern individuality. For this reason, it does not unfold chronologically but thematically around large topics that deal with issues relating to the representation, exchange, making, and conceptualisation of fashion in modernity.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should have acquired:

  • an understanding of the interdisciplinary exchange between the history of art and the history of dress/textiles and their methodologies

  • familiarity with the cultural practices relating to the making, marketing, wearing and representation of clothing in specific communities

  • an ability to analyse the medium-specific issues of representing dress and textiles and visual material which transcends the pictorial

  • an ability to identify and critically evaluate new source material through independent research


Task Length % of module mark
Advanced Assignment
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Advanced Assignment
N/A 100

Module feedback

You will receive feedback on assessed work within the timeframes set out by the University - please check the Guide to Assessment, Standards, Marking and Feedback for more information.

The purpose of feedback is to help you to improve your future work. If you do not understand your feedback or want to talk about your ideas further, you are warmly encouraged to meet your Supervisor during their Office Hours.

Indicative reading

  • Craik, Jennifer. The Face of Fashion: Cultural Studies in Fashion. London: Routledge, 1994.

  • Evans, Caroline. The Mechanical Smile: Modernism and the First Fashion Shows in France and America,1900-1929. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013.

  • Evans, Caroline, and Alessandra Vaccari. Time in Fashion. London: Bloomsbury Publishing USA, 2020.

  • Gautier, Théophile, and Ulrich Lehmann. "Théophile Gautier, On Fashion, translated by Richard George Elliott." Art in Translation 7, no. 2 (2015): 205-211.

  • Groom, Gloria, ed. Impressionism, Fashion & Modernity. London: Yale University Press, 2012.

  • Hollander, Ann. Seeing Through Clothes. New York: Viking Adult, 1978.

  • Lehmann, Ulrich. Tigersprung: Fashion in Modernity. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2000.

  • Rocamora, Agnes, and Anneke Smelik, eds. Thinking through Fashion: a Guide to Key Theorists. London: I.B. Tauris, 2016.

  • Svendsen, Lars, and John Irons. Fashion: a Philosophy. London: Reaktion Books Ltd, 2006.

  • Twigg, Julia. Fashion and Age: Dress, the Body and Later Life. London: Bloomsbury, 2013.

  • Wood, Ghislaine. The Surreal Body: Fetish and Fashion. London: V&A, 2007.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.