They say you can’t teach style, but this spring, the Freshman Dean’s Office is going to try. A new non-credit class for freshman, “Introduction to Fashion” approaches the subject from historical, technological, and commercial perspectives over the course of five weeks.
The seminar is taught by Katiti Kironde ’79, the first black woman to grace the cover of a major fashion magazine. For several years, she has guided students interested in fashion through the Radcliffe Mentor Program and helped out with Eleganza a few years ago.
Even though the curriculum for the course isn’t yet finalized, over 50 freshmen have applied.
“They don’t even know what it is,” said Kironde. “I hope I don’t disappoint them.”
Katie W. Steele, Director for Freshman Programming in the FDO, hopes students get something out of the course that they can’t find other places at Harvard.
“I imagine that it will be both sort of informative and inspiring,” she said. “Those who are hoping to understand the history of fashion and how it’s changed over time, I hope they get a glimpse of that. But then I also hope that it will be inspiring, especially for those students who are considering getting involved in the fashion industry.”
According to Kironde, the class will provide students with the background to think critically about many aspects of the modern fashion industry.
“I want to make it more than just look at these pretty clothes,” says Kironde. “I hope that they get a broad view of what fashion means and what it is.”
The freshmen have already demonstrated a strong interest in fashion. The class was due to start on February 2, but was postponed for one week to accommodate the unexpected number of applicants. Originally designed for 12 to 15 students, enrollment will probably be capped at 20 to 25, according to Steele.