The increasing interest in the study of fashion has opened up to the emergence of fashion studies not only as a field for aspiring designers, but as an independent are within the academia through established programs in Universities around the world. The important role of fashion in the study of culture is undeniable, both from a historical and a contemporary perspective. For decades, scholars from varied disciplines in the humanities and the social sciences have immersed in the study of fashion, particularly in relation to film and media. Since the verge of modernity, the film industry has played a key role in the promotion and representation of fashion. Likewise, its mediated character through newsreels, television, newspapers, magazines, photography and even paintings has facilitated the study of fashion as part of visual culture. Film scholars like Jane Gaines, Stella Buzzi, and Pamela Church Gibson—among others—have vastly contributed to the interdisciplinary study of these intersections.
In this contemporary setting and with the institutionalization fashion programs, questions emerge regarding the balance between an interdisciplinary and a purist approach to this area studies. As any relatively new field of studies, basic questions regarding delimitation, canons, theory and methodology are constantly discussed in Fashion programs. However, meanwhile the field strives to build up a well demarcated and unique approach to the study of fashion, dress and costume, scholars from other disciplines continue their research with the approaches from their own fields. Therefore, it is important to open the debate along these lines of thoughts. Is fashion studies a realm for fashion scholars only? Is there one singular way to study and teach fashion independently from its neighboring disciplines? What are the challenges and advantages of film and media scholars prepared to engage in fashion research? Can different approaches used in film and media studies contribute to the study of fashion? Can fashion studies exist as a totally independent field avoiding connections with film and media?
The workshop will explore the study of such intersections, focusing on questions of methodology and theory through the experience of different film and media scholars working with fashion, film and media through a varied range of approaches, experiences and results.
Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference, Montreal, March 25th-29th, 2015