MA in Global Communications Fashion Track

Fashion is a global cultural phenomenon and a vast and expanding professional field and industry. Paris remains an important focus globally and the Fashion Track within the MA Global Communications takes advantage of this privileged position to provide on-location experiential learning opportunities in a diverse and dynamic academic setting.

Fashion has always been a passion of mine, but AUP has the perfect program to turn my passion into a career.

Alexandra Swies Alumna '14
A Hybrid Subject & Rich Professional Opportunity

Graduating from the Fashion Track you will have developed a deep understanding of fashion as a socio-cultural phenomenon and gained insights into the fashion industry –  critical, creative and transferable skills to build a career in fashion-related professions and the wider field of communications.

  • fashion communication – creatively, effectively and responsibly communicating fashion in the digital age
  • global fashion – decentralized and de-hierarchized fashion studies and practices
  • fashion cultures – curating objects, ideas and spaces
  • sustainability in fashion – assessment and development of practices and potentialities
  • fashion business – innovative marketing, entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship

The study of fashion is situated at the crossroad of a number of disciplines: art, art history, business, communications, cultural studies, design, economics, gender studies, history, literature, material culture studies, philosophy, politics, psychology, semiotics and sociology. In its liberal arts focus and multi-disciplinary departmental structure AUP provides the perfect setting for Fashion Studies, where creative and critical thinking, reading, writing, analytical, visual and digital skills are at the core of teaching.

At AUP fashion is studied as object and idea, as image and film, as space and place. Fashion studies is an established (if still young) academic discipline allowing students to decipher the political, economic, social and cultural evolution of our contemporary world. Throughout the degree, you will have the opportunity to engage with specific issues alongside visiting professionals and scholars at the top of their fields. Speakers have included researchers, designers, curators, brand managers, journalists, PR specialists and social entrepreneurs to explore topics ranging from diversity and inclusivity in the fashion industry, activism, and sustainability to multi-media communication, trend forecasting and new retail. At AUP you will also become part of a global network of fashion scholars and professionals through a series of transnational collaborations and events.

A Hybrid Program

Balancing critical thinking, creativity, communication skills and industry insight, the program offers a comprehensive education within this diverse professional field. As a student you will have the chance to expand your understanding of subjects including:

Coursework and Research Masters

The MA in Global Communications, Fashion Track can be completed over three to four semesters, including the summer. The length of the internship or thesis may vary, however – many students choose to take additional time for these components. The program offers an extensive range of classes blending theory and practice. You also have a choice of practica in sustainable development, branding, international public relations, in NGOs, and modules in social media, digital communications, the media industry, and branding among others.

Alongside the core course of Global Communications, students taking the Fashion Track will be able to choose from electives on topics including:

CM5001 Global Communications

This course introduces students to major theories and practices of communications research, particularly those dealing with the globalization of media and culture. Students learn a mixture of approaches: rhetorical, quantitative, ethnographic and textual. They learn how various disciplines—economics, political science, anthropology, sociology, and rhetoric—deal with these issues. They also study a variety of research methodologies, learn how to create research projects and develop thesis-writing skills.


CM5011 Fashion Theory

Fashion Theory: (Un)dressing the Self: Dress & Identity Dress is representation and objectification of our identity. It enables and supports social roles and structures. It grants us individuality at the same time as confirming our group belongings. As the most visible form of consumption, the most pertinent type of non-verbal communication, dress fulfils a decisive role in the construction of social as well as individual identity, the reflexive production of self. This course examines dress and fashion as social and cultural phenomena. It will explore the ways in which different identity categories – social, individual, gender, class – are constructed through dress. Moreover, we will explore dress as a multi-sensory system in relation to the way we experience and construct our ‘selves’ and the world we live in – a fact often overlooked in our seemingly occularcentric culture. Focusing on the physical self, the physio-aesthetic effect of cloth/ing on our bodies will be considered, the symbiotic relationship between the moving body, dress, the skin, the senses, and the self. Through the readings of some of the key (fashion) theorists (e.g. Anzieu, Barnard, Barnett, Barthes, Davis, Eicher, Entwistle, Eco, Evans, Featherstone, Finkelstein, Flugel, Foucault, Goffman, Kaiser, König, Lacan, Laver, Lindstrom, Lipovetsky, Pallasmaa, Phelan, Roach-Higgins, Simmel, Stone, Veblen, Vinken, Wilson) we will investigate motivations in dress, the communicative properties of clothes and how we perform ourselves by way of dressing every day, the Western hierarchy of the senses, and the construction of the self as a visual and tactile process and the role of dress within it. In addition to textual and visual sources, this course will consider a series of films to explore dress as an embodied and situated practice, investigating the relevance of filmic representation for fashion-related research and analysis. In preparation of the written assessment, the course will include a workshop on visual analysis.


CM5020 Magc Module

Topics for these intensive, practical modules change every semester. May be taken twice for credit.

(select two CM5020)

CM5021 Paris Fashion Histories & Geographies

The notion of Paris as “the global fashion capital “is so popular that it became a self-perpetuating myth alongside its mythical figure of La Parisienne. According to this idea, Paris is the birthplace and the capital of fashion and is still today the capital of haute couture, of elegance, of chic and of luxury. In part one of the course, through readings, case studies and visits of certain key sites in Paris (or online visits), students will understand how the fashion industry has shaped –and continues to shape –the city of Paris, from textile factories during the 17th century within Paris, to the emergence of luxury good shops (18th century), of department stores (19th century), of couture houses (19th-20th centuries), of ready-to-wear and fast fashion shops and of luxury flagships during the 21st century). While giving students tools to understand the development of Paris as a “fashion capital” this course also aims to unpack the discursive construction of Paris as the center of the fashion world. Going beyond this general idea of “Paris, capital of fashion”, this course will have a critical approach of the sociological and construction of Paris as the center of the fashion world and question how the story has been told, what was included and what left out. It will address the different levels of the industry, the high and low, the everyday and haute couture, the grand couturier and the migrant garment workers, the Chanel workshop on Avenue Montaigne and the fast fashion workshops in Aubervilliers, the luxury department stores and the flea markets. Discussions in class will thus question the hierarchy in the Paris fashion industry and show that behind the catchy idea of “Parisian fashion”, a more complex eco-system is at stake, involving discussions about class, race and gender in the fashion industry. In taking this class, students come to understand that Paris is not the place of a unique kind of fashion, namely the place of high fashion for wealthy clients, as it is widely advertised in the media and forged in the collective imaginary, but that Paris is constituted by different kind of fashion spaces which correspond to different kind of systems of clothes production and consumption: haute couture and ready-to-wear in the center of Paris, fast fashion, retail and wholesale in the suburbs of Paris. This heterogeneous geography corresponds further to different type of labor force, consumers, and representations, allowing to de-hierarchized, de-centralized the geographies of Parisian fashion.


CM5029 Sustainability In Fashion

This course explores fashion not (only) as product but process. It explores this industry from field to fashion and investigates the complex global fashion system from cultures of extraction, design, manufacture, to cultures of representation, consumption, wearing and disposal/re-use. The fashion chain will be studied through a series of rich textual and visual sources, lectures, debates and visits.

Explore the full Track Requirements

Experience the Track