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Situating Race in Fashion Studies: Key Concepts

Event Label
Lecture (English)
Organisational Units
Education in the Arts
Location Description
Online via Zoom

In her guest lecture, Kimberly M. Jenkins will share her proposed framework for situating race in fashion studies, discuss what the process of running The Fashion and Race Database platforms looks like today, and share the joys and hardships of examining 'fashion and race' publicly. 

The lecture will be held in english.

Very little in our world is untouched by the social construct of ‘race.’ So how does race influence the fashion system and the way we ‘fashion’ ourselves in society? The Fashion and Race Database is a learning platform trusted by universities and museums globally that provides dedicated research and programming to advocate diversity in fashion culture and explore the longstanding impact of race and misrepresentation in fashion. 

As a racialized woman and fashion professor teaching fashion history and theory, Kimberly M. Jenkins spent years combing through resources to teach and enhance her broad range of courses, including her Fashion and Race course at Parsons School of Design. During this process (which began in 2015), she discovered that research about diverse fashion history was scattered, and dedicated research on the intersection of fashion and race was sparse. Kimberly decided to build her own library of diverse content and resources, and in 2017, The Fashion and Race Database was born.

In 2020, the database expanded, and she was able to assemble a team, creating new employment and academic opportunities for fashion students and graduates.
Since then, they have collected over 2,000 research sources (books, articles, written profiles, etc.) and provided a new blueprint for bridging the gaps between fashion academia, industry and sociocultural issues–all whilst advocating for fair compensation in a system known for not paying contributors and interns.

The event is a cooperation between the Institute for Artistic Teaching IKL/Fashion and Styles and the research project Fashion and the Far Right: The New Complexity in Style (FWF P 37004- G), organized by Elke Gaugele and Sarah Held.

Kimberly M. Jenkins has spent over ten years studying the impact of our clothes and how we express ourselves, through the lenses of politics, race, psychology and anthropology. She has lectured globally, presented exhibitions and hosted in-person experiences to help us think more deeply about dress. Based in New York with a background in fashion studies, cultural anthropology and art history, Kimberly is the founder and CEO of Artis Solomon, which offers a consultancy on fashion history and cultural awareness, and powers The Fashion and Race Database, a one of a kind learning platform that is supported by subscribing universities and museums globally. Most recently, she co-produced and hosted the podcast, "The Invisible Seam," in partnership with Tommy Hilfiger, highlighting the underrepresented contributions Black culture to fashion. Kimberly formerly held the position of Assistant Professor of Fashion Studies at Toronto Metropolitan University and lecturer at Parsons School of Design and Pratt Institute. Kim is best known for introducing the course, Fashion and Race, at Parsons, and for working as an education consultant for Gucci in Europe and Asia to support their efforts on design and cultural awareness.