module specification

MC4056 - Fashion and Popular Culture (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Fashion and Popular Culture
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 15
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 150
6 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
105 hours Guided independent study
39 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   1,500-word individual essay
Coursework 60%   2,000-word written dialogue
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

The module seeks to provide a motivational learning experience and to stimulate the co-creation of knowledge regarding pertaining to the theoretical underpinnings of the discipline of fashion. The module content addresses the range of frameworks and models that account for the existence, operation and necessity of having a fashion system. Discussion and analyses of the specific approaches taken by history, sociology, economics and anthropology are designed to raise awareness of fashion as a subject suitable for intellectual study. The key skills of academic reading & writing, analytical thinking and self-directed research are mobilised in completing a set of assessment tasks predicated on the module’s constructively aligned learning outcomes. An introduction to research methods is embedded in the syllabus. The learning experience complements that provided in the other subject-specific modules designed to engage all L4 students on the Fashion Marketing & Business Management programme


Fashion Theory: Typologies of dress (costumes/uniforms/apparel), theoretical approaches: emulative (trickle-down) vs oppositional  (bubble-up) dressing, uniformity vs. conformity, identity formation, fashion conservation and curation LO1

Fashion Research: quantitative/quantitative methods, visual, sociological & psychological approaches; oral histories; deconstruction; postmodernism; structuralism; grounded theory, phenomenology; critical theory; semiotic analysis LO2

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The module is delivered over a 13-week teaching period, through a combination of workshops, lecture presentations and seminars totalling three hours contact time per week. Seminars feature group discussion and analysis of case studies or utilise a tactic of ‘flip-learning’ to provide opportunities for peer interaction. The module supports independent study through a virtual learning environment hosted on WebLearn, where students can access lecture notes, additional readings, coursework briefs, assessment guidelines and feedback, in addition to finding links to external resources. The university’s feed-forward initiative supports these independent learning strategies. Lecture materials and seminar/workshop tasks are posted in advance as part of a blended learning approach that allows students to plan their contribution to particular sessions.

Reflective learning is incorporated into the module – students are advised to keep a journal of experiences and personal development that charts the effectiveness of their learning. Personal Development Plans can be customised through negotiation of topics of personal interest for assessment and take advantage of learning opportunities as these arise during the module. Students are encouraged to actively engage with the subject, their peers, and the tutors through the module's online forums. Guest speakers are invited to give master classes or discuss career opportunities with students and employability is embedded throughout the module through consideration of the various job roles within the fashion industry and reflection on how the skills and knowledge conveyed during the module line-up with professional expectations.

Learning outcomes

LO1. Describe and discuss a particular role or function of dress in contemporary society

LO2.  Identify and present material demonstrating how theoretical explanations of the discipline are embodied in the creative practice of a major player in the fashion sector


Core Text:
Barnard, M. (2007), Fashion Theory: A Reader, Routledge
           Other Texts:
Anderson, B (1991), Imagined Communities, Verso
Breward, C. & Gilbert, D. (2006), Fashion’s World Cities, Fairchild
Bourdieu, P. (1979), Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, Routledge
Bauman, Z. (2007), Liquid Times: Living in an Age of Uncertainty, Polity Press
Church Gibson, P. (2011), Fashion and Celebrity Culture, Berg
Kawamura, Y. (2005), Fashion-ology: An introduction to Fashion Studies, Berg
Knox, K. (2012), Culture to Catwalk: How World Cultures Influence Fashion, A & C Black
Steele, V. (2010), The Berg Companion to Fashion, Berg

Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture