Back to All Events

Grey Area: Authenticity, Value, and Subversion in Fashion

  • 80WSE 80 Washington Square East New York, NY 10003 USA (map)

NYU Steinhardt’s Costume Studies MA Program presents Gray Area: Authenticity, Value, and Subversion in Fashion, an exhibition of eight case studies that explore authenticity in fashion, on view at 80WSE Gallery from January 12 – February 2, 2019.

The exhibition examines more than a century of complex shifts in the production, consumption, and perceived worth of objects deemed valuable for reasons beyond the cost of their materials. From the smuggling of coveted nineteenth-century French goods to the current feedback loop of brand-endorsed label appropriation exemplified by designers such as Marc Jacobs, Gray Area illuminates the process by which value in the fashion system is assigned, maintained—and subverted. In so doing, this exhibition shines a light on the levels of ambiguity and gray areas in which the objects on display reside.

“Fashion itself is a gray area of sorts, with a labyrinthine history surrounding authorship, labor, and manufacture,” said Huber. “Through these individual case studies the exhibition embraces and challenges many of the inherent contradictions that fashion embodies: as a major global industry, important site of creative production, and broader social mechanism.”

Opening Reception

The opening reception for Gray Area: Authenticity, Value, and Subversion in Fashion will be held on Wednesday, January 16, 2019 at 80WSE Gallery in the Project Space at 80 Washington Square East, between West 4th Street and Washington Place from 5:00 – 7:00 PM. The reception is free and open to the public.


The exhibition symposium will take place on Saturday, February 2, 2019 from 12:00 – 2:00 PM at the NYU Einstein Auditorium at 34 Stuyvesant Street. The co-curators will each present a paper on their exhibition research and will be joined by keynote speaker (to be announced). The event is free and open to the public.