Fashion History For Today

Colin McDowell, Fashion Writer, Journalist and Academic MBE

Fashion History For Today

Colin McDowell, Fashion Writer, Journalist and Academic MBE
Fashion History For Today

Your Tutor - Colin McDowell

Colin McDowell
Acclaimed fashion expert Colin McDowell is one of the most influential and internationally respected figures within the global fashion community. Through his position as Chief Fashion Writer of The Sunday Times Style and as founder the Fashion Fringe initiative, McDowell has played an integral role in the support and growth of the fashion industry. In 2008 he was awarded an MBE by Queen Elizabeth II.

For Students:
  • Understand the key reference points every fashion student needs to know
  • Increase your cultural capital to improve your research skills
  • Differentiate your application when applying for jobs
For Fashion Professionals:
  • Understand why a deep knowledge of fashion’s past is critical to finding success in its future
  • Find creative inspiration and insight from 20th Century fashion
  • Enhance your contextual and critical understanding of fashion history
For those making a Career change:
  • The essential fashion course for those looking to move into the industry
  • Learn to identify designers, their iconic designs and their influence on fashion today
  • Recognise how moments in history continue to impact key functions of the industry

Curriculum Summary

Course Overview

Understand the goals of the course and be introduced to your tutor Colin McDowell. Understand the concept of a 'fashion moment' and the definition of zeitgeist. Each module in the course then covers a particular moment in fashion, why this moment happened and why it is still relevant today.

30 minutes 4x Video 4x PDF

1. Dior and The New Look

How Christian Dior revolutionised fashion not just through his design of the 'New Look' but also through his business strategy and vision. 

30 minutes 7x PDF 3x Video 3x Quiz

2. Elvis Presley and Rock 'n' Roll

How Elvis brought the rock ‘n’ roll subculture to the mass market with his seminal performance of Hounddog on TV on the Milton Berle Show.

30 minutes 7x PDF 3x Video 3x Quiz

3. The Swinging Sixties

How the directional music and fashion scenes in London in 1966 - which saw it crowned the “swinging city” by Time magazine - affected fashion. 

30 minutes 7x PDF 3x Video 3x Quiz

4. YSL and Le Smoking

How Yves Saint Laurent shifted the perception of women wearing trousers with the presentation of his tuxedo suit for women.

30 minutes 1x Survey 7x PDF 3x Video 3x Quiz

5. The Summer of Love

The emergence of the hippie, bohemian style from San Francisco, popularised by Woodstock festival. 

30 minutes 7x PDF 3x Video 3x Quiz

6. David Bowie and Androgyny

The influence of David Bowie’s androgynous style, embodied by the cover of his album, “The Man Who Sold The World,” for which the long-haired singer posed on a chaise longue in a “man dress.” 

30 minutes 7x PDF 3x Video 3x Quiz

7. Punk on the Kings Road

How Malcom McClaren and Vivienne Westwood created the punk fashion subculture, both through the retail store Punk which they opened on the King's Road and the pair's styling of the Sex Pistols. 

30 minutes 7x PDF 3x Video 3x Quiz

8. Japanese Designers in Paris

How the Japanese designers Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto, who moved to Paris Fashion Week to show their ‘avant garde’ collections, created a new, deconstructed aesthetic

30 minutes 1x Survey 7x PDF 3x Video 3x Quiz

9. Versace and the Supermodels

The impact of the elite group of highly paid ‘super’ models — Linda, Cindy, Naomi and Christy — who were booked by Versace to close his 1991 show, smiling and singing to George Michael’s “Freedom.”

30 minutes 7x PDF 3x Video 3x Quiz

10. Marc Jacobs and Grunge

How Marc Jacobs courted controversy with his infamously ill-received “grunge” collection for Perry Ellis, which focused on styling rather than design. 

20 minutes 7x PDF 3x Video 3x Quiz

11. Calvin Klein's Minimalism

The fashion minimalism moment, epitomised by the controversial Calvin Klein campaigns starring Kate Moss, whose look was dubbed “heroin chic.”

20 minutes 7x PDF 3x Video 3x Quiz

12. McQueen's Runway Robots

The impact of Alexander McQueen combining technology and performance art for his No. 13 show, which saw model Shalom Harlow’s tulle dress spray painted by two robots arms.

20 minutes 1x Survey 7x PDF 3x Video 3x Quiz

13. Summary

Colin McDowell offers his key insights from his Masterclass and offers invaluable advice to those hoping to succeed in the fashion industry today. 

10 minutes 1x Video 1x PDF 1x Quiz

Thank you!

1x Article


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We have designed these courses to be self-directed, so you can fit them around your schedules and work on them at any time, day or night.

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