Six at Shenkar: Richard Shusterman on the Fits of Fashion

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Six at Shenkar: Richard Shusterman on the Fits of Fashion

The Unit for History and Philosophy of Art, Design and Technology is pleased to invite you to Richard Shusterman's lecture – "Fits of Fashion", as part of the series "Six at Shenkar".

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This lecture is concerned with some key paradoxes that define fashion as a field structured by integrating contradictory factors into a compelling fit.

Based on personal experience with the fashion industry, my lecture first explains the crucial role of the fit model in the making and marketing of clothes.

I show how the model’s defining exemplarity as ideal rests paradoxically on being thoroughly average but in a particular, desirable way. I go on to explain how the paradoxical figure of the fit model is emblematic of other important, paradoxical features of fashion that relate more generally to contrasting ambiguities in the concept of style, such as inclusion and exclusion, novelty and familiarity, group identity and personal distinction, classification and evaluation.

Finally, I explore how fashion works through reconciling such contrasts by integrating them into a dynamic, changing fit. In doing so, I consider the views of important theorists of fashion such as Georg Simmel and Alfred Loos.  


Richard Shusterman is the Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholar in the Humanities and Director of the Center for Body, Mind, and Culture at Florida Atlantic University. His major authored books in English include Thinking through the Body; Body Consciousness; Surface and Depth; Performing Live; Practicing Philosophy; T.S. Eliot and the Philosophy of Criticism, and Pragmatist Aesthetics (now published in fifteen languages). More recently, he has authored The Adventures of the Man in Gold (a graphic novella based on his work in performance art) and Ars Erotica: Sex and Somaesthetics in the Classical Arts of Love. The French government honored him as a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques for his work in the philosophy of culture. 

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