Ellen studied BA Fashion (History & Theory). During her study she gained experience working for Sang Bleu magazine.
I’ve always been fascinated by history and always loved the arts. My interest in fashion history specifically stemmed from my love of vintage clothes, I wanted to unearth their narrative. I’m also particularly interested in subcultures and the underground scenes, where the factor of dress is often provocative.
I’d known of CSM due to my interest in the arts but I found out about the Fashion history and theory pathway thanks to my college tutors suggesting I look into a history of fashion course after writing an essay on the couturier Paul Poiret for my A level Fashion coursework.
I’m particularly interested in the body, gender and sexuality in fashion. My essays so far have featured around these themes, especially through the discourse of the female body. I’ve written about the different ideals of femininity expressed through fashionable and Aesthetic dress of the late nineteenth century where I evaluated their visual and ideological contrasts around sex and autonomy within patriarchal Victorian England. I have also written about the extent of which fashion reflected attitudes to the female body of the 1930s (a stereotypically ‘feminine’ silhouette) through the body’s idealism, mobility, sexuality and Schiaparelli’s designs.
My work usually addresses historic ideals of feminine beauty through the discourse of the female body. I marry a study of the silhouette with lots of social and body cultural theory in order to get a sense of the psyche at the time and how fashion reflected, or constructed an attitude to the body.
I’m also interested in subcultures and girls role within them (which is often overlooked), and effeminate fashion.
Fashion history is more than just a chronological study of fashion from the Renaissance to present; it’s a study of a history of culture, visual culture, politics and social and moral notions through the discourse of dress. It’s multi-faceted with endless intrigue. The course is an academic study of something creative through the written and the spoken word, with essays and presentations. There are some really fabulous lectures from some incredibly interesting and influential people in fashion and the opportunity to access a wealth of archives and physically engage with examples of extant dress and imagery that you’re studying.
A typical day varies with FHT, one day you’ll have lectures and another could be spent in a museum archive. There’s a lot of research and independent study involved with the course so most days begin and end in the library.
I did some styling assisting for a magazine in my holidays of first year but am currently assistant to the editor and writer for Sang Bleu magazine; an arts website and publication that is focused on the body, gender and sexuality elements that I am interested in informing my university work.
We had a project where we had to follow a graduating BA designer and give a theoretical presentation on their collection. Seeing their collections being shown at the graduate shows was a highlight as we’d witnessed the development of their work and the collection’s meaning.
As long as you’re passionate I think anyone can achieve success. I think that you just have to find something that is a unique personal interest and somehow make it inform all your briefs set so your body of work has a theme and is more engaging to study.
If you haven’t, apply.
If you have, be passionate.
Work hard, dance hard, be groovy!