THE NEED FOR A DIGITAL FASHION EDUCATION
Tessa Maffucci, Master’s candidate, The Graduate Center at The City University of New York
Fashion Studies has long been rooted in the canonical, with only the sanctioned fashion winners receiving analysis and contextualization within the fashion sphere, but this dynamic has begun to change. With the digital revolution fashion has been irrevocably alteredfashion in no longer the exclusive purview of editors and buyers, now bloggers and Instagram stars define the historymaking of fashion. In addition, there has been an immense proliferation of digital imagery to be explored and analyzed. As of 2014 over 1.8 billion images were uploaded globally each day.
This data explosion has particular significance in the fashion world where these digital artifacts are remixed, modified, and then shared en masse.
These factors have resulted in a fashion system where the boundaries between local and global are increasingly blurred. The exchange of information is promising, but also overwhelming. Fashion students today need to be equipped with a skillset that will allow them to interact with this information. This is a challenge, because the tools in the digital environment are constantly changing, but incorporating a digital element into fashion education will help scholars to keep up with these changes. Fashion Studies can no longer exist in a silo. To understand the role of blogging, social media, and the digital on fashion, students need to be learning the technical frameworks (APIs, databases, and coding languages) that have made this digital fashion world possible.
I would like to make the case for an integrated digital fashion education.
She received her B.A., magna cum laude, from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University in 2011 with a concentration on the role of fashion in crafting Italian national identity.
She has worked in publishing at art and fashion magazines and in costuming for film. Her current research focuses on the intersection of fashion and digital media, with an interest in material culture and identity.