Julie Fredrickson Interviews Dr. Valerie Steele about Fashion and Academia


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Dr. Valerie Steele is a respected fashion historian and author who was appointed director of The Museum at FIT in 2003. Coutorture co-founder Julie Fredrickson recently had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Steele, armed with reader-submitted, as well as self-selected questions, to discuss academics, fashion, and fashion writing. Many thanks to Julie for asking Dr. Steele several of the interview questions I suggested, as well as making the code available to re-post. I basically forgot to breathe while watching the video and am now entertaining all sorts of fanciful notions about a PHD in Fashion Studies!

Dr. Steele mentions the academic journal, Fashion Theory, as a place to find the work of current, innovative fashion theorists. I mentioned this journal briefly in my thesis but had not made the connection that she was the editor – I am glad to have been reminded of this journal and have added it to various wishlists! For now though, I am enjoying this free edition from March, 2003.

I was also excited to hear Dr. Steele reinforce the idea that fashion studies get marginalized in academia due to the association they have with “women’s work.” I find similarities in public relations scholarship, as evidenced by the fear and concern that the feminization of PR negatively affects the perceived credibility of the field.

Fashion and Academics: