SCMS 2015, Montreal, Canada.
The increasing interest in the study of fashion has opened up to the emergence of Fashion Studies as an independent field, with programs in several universities around the globe. However, the study of fashion should not be regarded as a new phenomenon. For decades, scholars from varied disciplines in the humanities and the social sciences have immersed themselves in the study of fashion, particularly in relation to film and media. Since the early days of cinema, the film industry 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 costume and dress history. Film scholars like Jane Gaines, Stella Bruzzi, and Pamela Church Gibson—among others—have vastly contributed to the interdisciplinary study of these intersections. Furthermore, in order to explore the specificities of these areas, Church Gibson launched the journal Fashion Film and Consumption, though the publishing house Intellect Books in 2011.
In this contemporary setting, a pertinent and necessary topic to explore is the demands on interdisciplinary approaches, both from the side of Fashion Studies scholars with a purist point of view, and from their counterpoints in Film and Media more likely to envelop fashion in visual culture as a whole.
As discussions regarding delimitations and canons take place behind close doors in fashion programs, the need to open up such debate to Film and Media scholars is vital to the future of a field that has seen a great part of its development through these neighboring contributions.
The workshop will explore the study of Film, Media and Fashion in coexistence with the emergence of Fashion Studies as an independent field, focusing on questions of methodology, theory and practice through the experience of different film and media scholars working with fashion and film. Before opening up the floor for discussion, a brief set of presentations will serve as a framework to address the debate, engaging the audience in reflections surrounding the following questions:
What are the challenges and advantages of film and media scholars engaging in fashion research?
Is Fashion Studies an exclusive realm for fashion scholars?
Is there one singular way to study and teach fashion independently from its neighboring disciplines?
What can different approaches used in Film and Media Studies contribute to the study of fashion?
To what extent can Fashion Studies exist as a totally independent field, avoiding connections with Film and Media?