Course Syllabus

Meaning of Style A

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Semester & Location:

Spring 2020 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Elective Course - 3 credits

Major Disciplines:

Communication, Fashion Studies, Sociology

Faculty Members:

Anders Larsen

Program Coordinator:

Katrine Trolle -  

Time & Place:

Mondays and Thursdays, 10.05-11.25

Nørregade N7-B13

Course Description

Humans have always worn garments to shelter us from the elements, and as history has progressed these garments have become loaded with meaning. Today, fashion is essential in the creation of identity.  We use dress to express our individuality or to fit in. Subcultures have specific looks, special occasions require a certain type of dress, and the media is always chasing the latest trend.

In the course we will explore how fashion and dress can be interpreted. We will study the cultural history of fashion in depth (c. 1500-present), and the place of fashion in today’s world, complemented by field studies. So join us on this journey through the ever-changing world of fashion.

Course Objectives

  • To develop a critical understanding of fashion and its intersections with identities, histories, narratives, and cultures in the contemporary world
  • To equip students to analyze and interpret style
  • To introduce students to the cultural history of fashion, and the existing research, research methods and theories.

Course Instructor

Anders Larsen holds a Candidatus Magisterii Degree in History and English language and literature from the University of Copenhagen. His research has focused on cultural history and visual culture. Anders also teaches London: Reading the City and Visual Culture of Cities and serves as a Cultural Learning Facilitator for DIS.

Office and Office Hours

You are welcome to see me after class or set up an appointment at DIS. You may also communicate by e-mail: or through the course site on Canvas. I will normally respond within 24 hours.


Arnold, Rebecca, Fashion. A very short Introduction, Oxford University Press 2009. ch. 2: Art.

Barnard, Malcolm, Fashion as Communication, Routledge 2001. ch.1: Etymologies and Definitions of Fashion and Clothing.

Barnard, Malcolm, Fashion as Communication, Routledge 2001. ch.4: Fashion, Clothing, and Meaning.

Barthes, Roland, Image, Music, Text, Fontana Press 1972. Rhetoric of the Image.

Barthes, Roland, The Fashion System, University of California Press 1990 (1967)

Bennet, Andrew & Royle, Nicholas, An introduction to litterature, criticism and theory, Routledge 1995. ch.28: Mutant.

Bourdieu, Pierre, Distinction. A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, Harvard University Press 1984.

Breward; Christopher, Cultures, Identities, Histories: Fashioning a Cultural Approach to Dress in The Fashion Business. Theory, Practice, Image, Ed. White, Nicola and Griffiths, Ian, Berg Publishers 2000.

Butchart, Amber, Frieze, 13 Was This the Decade that Fashion Fell Out of Fashion, 13 December 2019

Clark, Hazel & Palmer, Alexandra (Ed.), Old Clothes New Looks, Berg Publishers 2004

Codero, Robert, Business of Fashion December 5, 2016, Li Edelcort: Fashion is Old Fashioned.

DeLong, Marily et. al., Fashion Theory vol. 9. Issue 1, Hooked on Vintage (optional).

Emerling, Jae, Theory for Art History, Routledge 2005, Ferdinand de Saussure.

Entwistle, Joanne,  Fashion and the Fleshy Body: Dress as Embodied Practice, "Fashion Theory", 4:3, 323-347

Emerling, Jae, Theory for Art History, Routledge 2005, Roland Barthes.

Goodrum, Alison, The National Fabric, Berg Publishers 2005. Banal Nationalism: Reproducing the nation daily.

Hebdige, Dick, Subculture. The Meaning of Style, Routledge 1979.

Jones, Owen, The Guardian, Woke-washing: how brands are cashing in on the culture wars, Thursday 23 May 2019

McRobbie, Angela, Fashion as a Cultural Industry, Fashion Cultures: Theories, Explorations and Analysis, Routledge 2000.

Melchior, Marie Riegels, Catwalking the Nation: Challenges and Possibilities in the Case of the Danish Fashion Industry, Linköping University Press 2011.

Moore, Kaleigh, New Report Shows Sustainable Fashion Efforts are Decreasing, Forbes Magazine May 19, 2019 

Rhodes, Zandra & Rawsthorne, The Observer 23 July 2013, Is fashion a true art form?

Rocamora, Agnes, Fashioning the city. Paris, Fashion and the media, I.B. Tauris 2009. ch. 4: Paris. Capitale de la mode.

Sommerlund, Julie, Danish Fashion. Research, education, application, The Danish Design School Press 2011. Ideological Design (optional).

Thornton, Sarah and Gelder, Ken (Ed.), The Subcultures Reader, Routledge 1996

Teunissen, José. Understanding fashion through the museum, Fashion and Museums: Theory and Practice, Marie Riegels Melcior and Birgitta Svensson (Ed.), Bloomsbury Publishing 2014

Urbach, Henry, Closets, Clothes and Disclosure, MIT Press 1996.

Veblen, Thorstein, The Theory of the Leisure Class, Oxford University Press (1899) 2007, Dress as an Expression of Pecuniary Culture.

Vincent, Susan J., The Anatomy of Fashion. Dressing the Body from the Renaissance to Today, Berg Publishers 2009. ch. 1: Head and Neck.

Vincent, Susan J., The Anatomy of Fashion. Dressing the Body from the Renaissance to Today, Berg Publishers 2009. ch.3: Hips and Bottoms (optional).

Vinken, Barbara, Fashion. Art of Dying. Art of Living , JRP Ringier 2007. Double-face. The story about fashion and art. From Mohammed to Warhol.’

McKenzie Wark, Fashioning the future: Fashion, clothing, and the manufacturing of post-Fordist culture. In Cultural Studies Volume 5, 1991 - Issue 1

Wilson, Elizabeth. ”Introduction” in Adorned in Dreams. London: I.B. Taurus, 1985


Field Studies

1. Visit to Design Museum Denmark  

At the museum we will explore the way Danish design is framed by visiting three exhibitions; Fashion and Textile which addresses the history of fashion c. 1750-present, I am black velvet, an monographic exhibition about the Danish Couturier Erik Mortensen, and Danish Design Now, which is about contemporary Danish Design. 

2. Copenhagen Off the Rack

The Field study is set up as a scavenger hunt that takes you to a series of Danish fashion brands. along the way you are asked to use methods from visual anthropology and related fields, as well as reflect on how your observations related to theories covered in class. The observations are to be turned in as field notes that related to work questions. 

Guest Lectures

Nicholas Nybro

Nicholas Nybro is a Danish fashion designer specializing in conceptual clothing, costumes and art direction. With several collections under his belt and employment with Moonspoon Saloon, he launched his brand Nicholas Nybro in early 2011. His designs are characterized by a humoristic and unpretentious approach towards fashion, but without compromise in material or craftsmanship. 

Sara Ingemann

Sara Ingemann is partner in the multidisciplinary creative studio Atelier Cph based in Copenhagen. With more than 10 years of experience with fashion and design brands, Sara creates costumized solutions focusing on future-proofed trend research and innovative brand experiences. Sara has been working for several international trend agencies; Trend Union, Fashion Snoops and Pej Gruppen and creates inspirational moodboards and trend articles for various magazines. Every season she predicts the new tendencies and colours for the fashion industry.

Moussa Mchangama Jonsson

Moussa Mchangama Jonsson holds a BA in Rhetoric and an MA in Modern Culture and Communication focused on Danish fashion and is known as a prominent voice in the Danish fashion debate. He has previously worked as Fashion Features Director at DANSK Magazine, and as digital director at the Danish fashion magazine Cover,. Moussa is currently a partner in the cunsultancy firm In Futurum . Read more at (Links to an external site.) 

Frederik Larsen

Frederik Larsen holds a PhD in Organization Studies from Copenhagen Business School and a MA in Visual Culture from the University of Copenhagen. His research focuses on second-hand industries and social economies. He has previously worked as strategic consultant for a NGO and lecturing on consumer culture at the Copenhagen Business School. He has taught Design Theory at the University of Copenhagen and previously worked as a stylist and writer for Danish fashion media. Frederik is currently a partner in the consultancy firm In Futurum. Read more at (Links to an external site.)

Approach to teaching

Classes are conducted as a combination of lectures, group discussions and interactive excercises. Student participation is expected. Class sessions will be complimented by field studies. 

Expectations of the Students

Students are expected to show up for class prepared and participate actively. 

Computers and tablets are allowed in class PURELY for note taking purposes. In case of other uses such as Facebook, emails or internet surfing, it will have a negative impact on your participation grade. Cell phones are to be shut off or silenced during class and texting etc. during class will have a negative impact on your participation grade.


Students will be graded on the following parameters:

  • Level of preparation and willingness to answer questions in class.
  • Involvement in class and group discussions.
  • Complexity of ideas presented in class discussions and in written assignments (according to Bloom's taxonomy)


Participation Grade Policy

Active class participation throughout the semester: A=96 / Occasional participation: B=86 / Little or no participation: C=76. Fine-tuning of percentage points may occur, reflecting student performance.

Note that attendance at all classes and field studies is required and expected and is not credited as participation. Failure to attend will have a negative influence on the participation grade, however.

How to Get a Good Grade

  • Involve yourself! Allow yourself the luxury of taking a genuine interest in the course, i.e. in ‘fashion’. It may not be your core field or interest, but why not join the many students who have been surprised at how interesting it actually is to suddenly understand the cultural and historic phenomenon of wearing clothes.
  • Get organized! Enter all due dates in a semester calendar and set aside time to work on assignments and prepare for tests. 
  • Prepare for class! Every class! 
  • Take good notes! You will graded on your analytical thinking. 
  • Participate! Sharing your thoughts and ideas in class is not just important for the participation grade, it is one of the best tools for developing your analytical skills.




Paper 1: The Body in the History of Fashion


Paper 2: Reading of Fashion Story


Paper 3: Copenhagen off the Rack


Class Participation


Participation in Fish Bowl


Reflection Notes


General Notes Regarding Assignments

  • All assignments must be double spaced with one-inch margins
  • You are expected to use correct citing formats (please consult the DIS academic handbook or ask Anders Larsen). Failing to use a correct citing format will result in a grade deduction.
  • Late assignments will be accepted, but only agreement with the instructor prior to the due date. All late assignments will be deducted half a letter grade for each 24 hours they are late (an A paper will receive an A- if turned in one day late).

Academic Regulations  

Please make sure to read the Academic RegulationsLinks to an external site. on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on:


DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia - www.DISabroad.orgLinks to an external site.


Course Summary:

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