The Fashion & Justice Workshop

a collaborative project between Kimberly M. Jenkins and Jonathan M. Square


Fashion forms part of a society’s rich tapestry and can serve as an entry point into contemplating how marginalized and racialized communities understand themselves and their place in the world. FASHION & JUSTICE is a daylong workshop that examines the role of fashion in challenging inequality through sartorial ingenuity. The schedule includes an analysis of artwork and artistic projects, partial film screenings, review of relevant literature, conversations with guest speakers, and a look at designers, artists, journalists, curators, photographers, and academics who explore the fashion system through a critical lens. Participants leave the workshop with a syllabus equipping them with tools to understand how marginalized communities harness fashion to negotiate the complexities of power and visibility (and the lack thereof), proposing substantive solutions for a more just fashion system.

Press coverage: "These Professors Are Here To 'School The Ignorant' On Race And Fashion", NYLON (July 14, 2017)

Related events: Kim and Jonathan joined the Brooklyn Public Library's weeklong "LitFilm" festival to accompany director Karen Thorsen and producer Douglas K. Dempsey as they discussed their film, "The Price of the Ticket," which chronicles the life and work of James Baldwin in his own words.

 
 Jonathan Square and Kim Jenkins  Photo credit: Shivani Manghnani

Jonathan Square and Kim Jenkins

Photo credit: Shivani Manghnani

Graduate course, “Fashion and Justice,” for the MA Fashion Studies program at Parsons School of Design (Spring 2019)

Fashion forms part of a society’s rich tapestry and can serve as an entry point into contemplating how marginalized and racialized communities understand themselves and their place in the world. Fashion and Justice will examine the role of fashion in challenging inequality through sartorial ingenuity. Through select readings, in-class discussion and topical assignments, students will be encouraged to interpret and remedy problematic issues in fashion today, proposing possible futures. The courses seeks to help students understand how marginalized communities harness fashion to negotiate the complexities of power and visibility (and the lack thereof), proposing substantive solutions for a more just fashion system.

 André Leon Talley in Paris, 1984 in THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ANDRÉ, a Magnolia. Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

André Leon Talley in Paris, 1984 in THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ANDRÉ, a Magnolia. Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Kim Jenkins and Jonathan Square in conversation for "Fashion Cultures: The Body Politic" at Parsons School of Design, April 25, 2018.

Fashion scholar Kim Jenkins and historian Jonathan Michael Square engage in a conversation that reflects upon being 'the only one' as inspired by Hilton Als' poignant New Yorker piece about fashion legend André Leon Talley.

The conversation is part of the 2018 Fashion Culture lecture series, themed "The Body Politic," presented by the MA Fashion Studies program at Parsons School of Design (Kim’s alma mater).

Jonathan Square with guest speaker, photographer Lola Flash.

The Fashion & Justice Workshop at the Phluid Project, New York, June 2, 2018

Host: The Phluid Project, a gender-free store

Guest Speakers

Rae Angelo Tutera is an LGBTQ+ clothier at Bindle & Keep and they're one of the owners of Willoughby General. Rae is also a subject in the documentary Suited, which they hope reminds folks it's everyone's birthright to be themselves and to be loved unconditionally.

Lola Flash is an American photographer whose work has often focused on social, LGBT and feminist issues. An active participant in ACT UP during the time of the AIDS epidemic in New York City, Flash was notably featured in the 1989 "Kissing Doesn't Kill" poster.

A group photo of Kim, Jonathan, members from IMMEDIATE Fashion School and the participants who attended Fashion & Justice, Austin.

The Fashion & Justice Workshop at the Contemporary Austin, Austin, Texas, February 3, 2018

Host: Tina Sparkles and IMMEDIATE Fashion School

Guest Speaker

Lyndon K. Gill, PhD, is currently an Assistant Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. He was born in New York City and raised on all the Trinbagonian culture that Jamaica, Queens, would allow. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University with a BA in African & African American Studies. He received his PhD in African American Studies and Anthropology (with a Secondary Field in Studies of Women, Gender & Sexuality) from Harvard University. His scholarship focuses on Queer aesthetics in the African Diaspora, the erotic, LGBT art and activism in Caribbean cultures, African-based spiritual traditions in the Americas, and subjectivity and community building.

Participants take notes during Jonathan Square’s lecture on dress and enslavement in the 19th century.

The Fashion & Justice Workshop at Parsons School of Design, New York, July 15, 2017

Guest Speakers:

Elizabeth Way, Assistant Curator, The Museum at F.I.T.
Elizabeth Way is an assistant curator at the Museum at FIT where she was instrumental in curating and organizing the recent Black Fashion Designers exhibition and symposium. She has also published a study of African-American dressmakers Elizabeth Keckley and Ann Lowe for the journal Fashion Theory.

Joy Douglas, Fashion Designer, Parsons BFA ’17
Joy Marie Douglas is a fashion designer, photographer, and artist from Los Angeles, California. Joy earned her bachelor's degree in Fine Art at Parsons School of Design where she majored in Fashion Design. The social, political, and environmental impacts of fashion are topics that Joy has focused heavily upon within her personal research and design career. Her senior thesis was titled, REBRANDED: Redefining post-incarceration identity.