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Fall 2017

Fashion: Why is it Meaningful?
Instructor: Dr. Katalin Medvedev, Ph.D. UGA
Fashion has been accepted as a phenomenon that touches the life of everyone. For this reason, fashion is now regarded as an important part of the study of culture. This class introduces students to the most important concepts of fashion and the key theories of fashion scholarship. We will analyze fashion as an indicator of social status, gender identity, class position, personality, social group alliance, sexuality, political affiliation, and cultural and religious beliefs through a variety of case studies and readings. We will approach these topics from a global perspective and in relation to the students' own fashion contexts and experiences. In addition, we will consider the relationship between fine arts, music, architecture, and fashion. We will speculate about the connection between the rise of popular culture and the contemporary fashion industry. We will also investigate the involvement of the media in the fashion system, analyze the role of technology in the democratization of fashion worldwide, and study the relationship between fashion and the celebrity culture. We will delve into debates that surround the global fashion industry, such as sustainability, the economic, social, and environmental impact of the fashion industry and its exploitative labor practices. The course will be primarily discussion based. Students will be required to examine a range of issues and debates that have been central to fashion and familiarize themselves with the main resources and approaches of studying fashion. They will present their findings through oral presentations and various written assignments, such as summaries, and other short written projects.

Italian Fashion
Instructor: Dr. Katalin Medvedev, Ph.D, Associate Professor at UGA
This course will explore the Italian Fashion Industry from the Risorgimento until the present time. We will consider the historical, political, cultural, and social influences on Italian fashion that sparked the birth of the industry in Florence after World War II. We shall investigate the factors that subsequently made Milan one of the world's major fashion capitals and study why the vertically integrated Italian fashion system and its luxury mass ready-to-wear business model became a global success. We will analyze Italian film as an important marketing tool of Italian fashion and compare Italian fashion publications with American ones to understand what constitutes the "Italian Look." We will scrutinize the "Made in Italy" brand that combines high culture with craftsmanship and excellence in materials and execution with relaxed lifestyle messages. Emphasis will be placed on the careers of the most relevant Italian fashion designers, such as Armani, Valentino, Prada, Versace, among others. We shall also focus on the specificities of family based studio manufacturing and product development in the footwear and leather industries. We shall investigate the unique features of Italian ready-to wear fashion retailing, niche marketing and store design. Students will study the role of Italian fashion in the Italian society and culture during their entire study abroad experience as well as during specific course-related field trips. The course will include in class lectures, videos, discussions, analysis of readings, individual research projects and project presentations.