Course Syllabus

Meaning of Style A

DIS Logo


 Idaliina Frimanin suunnittelemia luomuksia lavalla.

Idaliina Friman, Alpha Design award show 2021 (formerly: Designers' Nes) for new Nordic Talents

Semester & Location:

Spring 2023 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Elective Course - 3 credits

Major Disciplines:

Communication, Fashion Studies, Sociology



Faculty Members:

Jeppe Juel Rishøj (current students use canvas inbox)

Time & Place:

Mondays and Thursdays, 10.05-11.25

Fiolstræde 6 - Fi6-Metro 103

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.


Jeppe Juel holds a MA in Fashion Design (cand.des.) 2021, from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts - School of Design in Copenhagen. Jeppe teach Meaning of Style at DIS-Copenhagen as well as the exploratory course Scandinavian Fashion & Textiles Workshop at DIS-Stockholm. Outside DIS Jeppe work with an artistic and experimental approach to fashion design, working in a cross field between the digital and analogue mixing traditional clothing construction with digital art and sculpting methods. In his projects Jeppe explores clothes as an extension of the body, and fashion's ability to transform and abstract our physical self. Jeppe has been with DIS since 2021. 

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.

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

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.

Joanne Entwistle, 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. Subculture: The Unnatural Break. Two forms of incorporation.

Jeat, Matthew, The Fashion Handbook, Routledge 2006. The future for fashion.

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.

Panofsky, Erwin, Studies in Iconology. Humanistic Themes in the Art of the Renaissance, Oxford University Press 1939 ch. 1: Introductory

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.

Svendsen, Lars, Fashion: A Philosophy, Reaktion Books 2006, ch. 5: Fashion and the body

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.

Field Studies

Visit 1:TBA

Museum/exhibtion visit tied to semiotics and fashion. 

Visit 2: Design Museum Denmark

The visit to the museum explores how Danish design is used as a vehicle for nation branding, through the way the museum tells certain stories while ignoring others. 

Visit 3: 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 aske to use methods from visual anthropology and related fields, as well as reflect on how your observations relate to theories covered in class. The observations are to be turned into a paper. 


Gender Bender

The workshop allows you to apply theories from the classroom in practice! You will be invited to explore a different gendered and sexed identity by creating and embodying a drag persona, from drag king to queen and somewhere in between. 

Guest Lectures


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. 

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.

Your grade consists of the following elements: Written assignments, your journal, and your participation in class. The parts are weighed as follows:



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 not be accepted, unless otherwise has been agreed with the instructor prior to the due date. It is the students' own responsibility to make sure the assignment has been properly uploaded in the designated canvas assignment in due time. Failing to hand in the Assignment result in time results in a score 0 (out ff 100) for that grade. 

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:

Date Details Due