The Fashion Studies Journal, Issue No. 1


Why, hello! We’re so glad you made it!

This is our first issue of the new FSJ and our first chance to welcome you into this community of fashion-minded folk we’ve dreamt of, grown, and worked hard to give a home.

FSJ’s roots go back to 2012, when a few of us were graduate students at Parsons School of Design in the then-fledgling MA Fashion Studies program. Looking ahead to our post-grad futures, we sensed a gap in opportunities for publishing the kind of work we were interested in: informed but personal takes on the world of fashion, by people still negotiating their places in it. We published our first issue back then, of work exclusively by fellow MA-level students. Check it out here if you’re interested.

Life moves quickly, and jobs, PhDs, and relocations have all affected the direction of our collective since then: focusing on community-building, we created a dinner-party series called Fashion & Spinach that gives us the opportunity to break bread and make connections with a broader circle of people who love to talk and share about fashion, dress, food, art, and life. It’s a tough world out there in the creative and scholarly fields we move in, and we happen to believe we’re each other’s best resource, not competition! We hope that even if you’re just finding FSJ for the first time, you’ll consider joining us for one of our upcoming events. We’ve got lots in the works!

It’s a tough world out there in the creative and scholarly fields we move in, and we happen to believe we’re each other’s best resource, not competition!

Which brings us to today, and this newly re-conceived and re-launched version of that original dream: a journal for those of us incorrigibly fascinated by fashion and culture, maybe a little perturbed by aspects of it, but seeking joy in getting dressed, and looking for others like us!  

In this issue, we introduce you to our favorite ways to think and talk about fashion. We’ve aimed for a balance between meaty, topical, and fun. Because why not? Fashion is all of those things, and so are we!

If you like to dig into dark corners of fashion history in search of treasure, check out our Histories and From the Archive sections. In the former, our writers shine their lights into pockets of official history that may have been left dark: in this issue, a personal testimony illuminates the image of the Parisian woman at mid-century, and the careers of three exceptional New York designers beg a reconsideration of their classification as mere ‘dressmakers.’ In the latter, researchers come up for air and share the spoils of their time spent in archives, bringing us little surprises, twists, and turns. In issue 1, Chiara Faggella shares a serendipitous discovery of photos meant for the eyes of Mussolini that led her to the roots of Italian Neorealism.

Can’t get enough timely analysis of fashion topics in the zeitgeist? Check back every Monday for our Weeklies column. The inaugural article looks closely at the claims made by mega-popular online beauty brand Glossier: is it really the revolution it promises to be? (Spoiler alert: Is anything??)

If your thing is staying up-to-date on the latest scholarship and you want to hear from emerging and established Fashion Studies academics, the Essays section is for you: in this issue alone, we have pieces about fashion in the work of painter Alex Katz, the construction of the category of the Black Designer, the changing role of blogs within fashion media, and the functions and meanings of fashion’s ephemeral promotional materials such as invitations, catalogues, and press releases. In case you didn’t already know, Fashion Studies is an exciting, diverse, and growing discipline, and we’re all really proud and enthusiastic to bring some more of it to the internet!

For further reading for you scholarly types, we’ll be publishing lots of thematic reading lists in the hopes of unearthing new sources for your work and directions for your research. This month, Elena Wang tackles fashion and sustainability. Check back for more! And to celebrate the dynamic moment we’re in of fashion in the museum and on the bookshelves, we open the floor to reviewers of exhibitions and books from throughout the field.

Fashion academia, writing, and design practices are incredibly rich sources of material in and of themselves. The work we all do is so varied and interdependent, and if you’re interested in reading about personal experiences of navigating these types of careers, please check out the Notes from the Field section, in which professionals from across the fashion spectrum give us behind-the-scenes looks at their working lives. Our first two writers are sharp, insightful gentleman straddling the creative and the academic, grappling with the evolving nature of masculinity and fashion. We’re so excited to bring these pieces in conversation with one another!

Of course, analyzing and discussing fashion is all well and good, but we also have to get dressed every day (or almost every day, depending on how you’ve organized your life – don’t let us tell you how to live!). With that in mind, we share the What We’re Wearing column, in which contributors explore the meaning, tensions, and pleasures of the clothes in their closets and on their bodies.

This issue, our first of many more to come, has been a real collaboration between our writers, illustrator, editors, and the wider community supporting us. We hope you’ll enjoy reading it, sign up for our newsletter, submit your own writing one day, join us for upcoming events, and come back often. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our fellow co-founding editors: Anya Kurennaya, Laura Peach and Rachel Kinnard, peers who helped develop the framework for this thing, and whom we spent afternoons pouring over editorial content (with the help of donuts and bacon). We'd also be remiss to not extend our gratitude to our former professors, Heike Jenss, Hazel Clark, Christina Moon and Francesca Granata–a collective of scholars who, much like us, sought to elucidate why we wear what we wear, ultimately galvanizing our motley cohort to conceive FSJ!


The FSJ Editorial Team (September 2016)