Major Overview

The Fashion Studies major enables students to gain deep insights into fashion as a global cultural phenomenon and a vast professional field and industry. AUP provides a unique setting to study fashion academically and experientially in a multi-disciplinary liberal arts environment, in Paris – a city that remains one of the focal points in today’s global fashion system. As a Fashion Studies student at AUP you will be able to explore fashion as objects and idea, craft and process, place and space, image, film and text. While Paris provides a rich point of departure, the program is focused on the de-centralization and de-hierarchization of Fashion Studies. You will develop in-depth knowledge of fashion histories and -sociology, -communications, and sustainability. The program provides a holistic path of studies and applied collaborations that will lead students to combine entrepreneurial, creative, and academic skills while cultivating open-mindedness, innovative spirit and an acute sense of ethics. You will graduate as a critical and creative thinker, knowledgeable of the diverse histories and cultures of fashion – an effective fashion communicator with purpose. 

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the program students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a comprehensive working knowledge of key concepts and thinkers, diverse de-hierarchized practices, histories, and current discourses in the study of fashion.
  • Show a critical understanding of the multiple aspects of fashion, as idea, object, image and process in relation to the realms of global cultural phenomenon, professional field, and industry.
  • Demonstrate extensive transferable skills in a range of research methods; textual, material, and visual analysis; critical and creative thinking; and effective and ethical communication.

Learning Environment

Fashion Studies at AUP is a diverse, strong and supportive community of undergraduate and graduates with a very lively and globally connected culture inside and outside the classroom: Fashion Talks at AUP, Fashion Industry Talk: Professional Perspectives, a conference series on fashion education (The Digital Multilogue on Fashion Education 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023), and a research seminar in collaboration with the IHTP/CNRS.

Fashion Studies at AUP is housed in the Department of Communication, Media and Culture – a very diverse, energetic and close-knit community of students and faculty. As a multi-disciplinary department, it provides rich array of perspectives and progressive research in film, anthropology, journalism, cultural studies, communication and media studies, branding and marketing.

AUP provides a unique destination to study fashion in a multidisciplinary, academic setting in Paris, drawing on its privileged position to provide on-location experiential learning opportunities. You will benefit from a holistic path of studies and applied collaborations that will lead to combine entrepreneurial, creative and academic skills while cultivating open-mindedness, innovative spirit and an acute sense of ethics.

Major Components
Build Your Degree

With every single one of our majors, you’ll find a carefully curated medley of core courses and electives, which will provide you with the tools you need to establish an unshakeable foundation in the principles and concepts fundamental to your growth within your disciplines of choice. Many majors also enable you to specialize further within the broader area of study.

Core Courses

Core Courses

We aim to help you develop a range of skills, capacities, and modes of inquiry that will be crucial for your future since employers and graduate schools are looking for the critical thinking and innovative problem-solving skills that are associated with a liberal arts education, including sophisticated writing abilities, willingness to pose difficult questions, and an understanding of the historical and cultural contexts surrounding a topic or decision.

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Each elective provides you with entry to a variety of subject areas which you can choose among to further focus your studies. With the help of your academic advisor, you’ll be able to tailor your major so that it most effectively prepares you for the next step in your academic and professional journey.

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Core Courses

The Fashion Studies core courses, which you must take as part of the major requirements, will provide you with the tools you’ll need to ground your present and future studies. Your introduction to the fundamentals of Fashion Studies will help pave the way for your successful completion of other Fashion Studies courses.

CM1110 Introduction To Fashion Studies

This course aims to introduce students to the study of fashion, considered as a multidisciplinary field of analyses. At the intersection of theory and practice, and relying on the key texts of historians, art historians, philosophers, sociologists, anthropologists and geographers, this course will examine the relationship between fashion and body, identity, art, industry, media, class, culture, subculture, gender, sex, time, space, religion and politics. With an emphasis on experiential learning and drawing on visual and film sources, on historical and contemporary examples for discussion, this class will provide students with the possibility to question the future of the fashion industry by studying the social and environmental impact of fashion and the role of social change that fashion can play.


CM2002 Global Fashion: Histories And Methods

This course aims to explore the histories of non-western fashion, crafts, and industries of a variety of countries. The course gives students the opportunity to explore new fields of fashion history while at the same time providing them with research methods such as image, object and film analysis, and exhibition study.


CM2111 Fashion Systems: Paris & Beyond

This course aims to decentralise and de-hierarchise existing notions of fashion by exploring a number of fashion systems – past and present. While we take our location, Paris, as a starting point for our experiential exploration of the professional field of fashion, we will move beyond the myth.


CM3004 Communicating Fashion

Explores what happens when dress and grooming become the basis for the modern phenomena of fashion. Studies the historical development of fashion: how fashion relates to the emergence of artistic, social, and economic forms and the ways fashion communicates ideas about status, gender, or culture. Investigates the role of media, advertising and marketing in the global fashion industry.


CM4021 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.