At Columbia, Fashion Instruction Exists in Pockets

Every semester since arriving at Barnard, Lyons has searched the word “fashion” in the course directory, drawing limited results time and time again. The only class open for enrollment this semester was Culture of Italian Fashion, taught by Barbara Faedda, associate director of the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies. This was her first opportunity to take a fashion course at Columbia, and Lyons eagerly registered for it. The inflection of her voice as she recounts a salient moment from Faeda’s first lecture is both unwavering and utterly enthusiastic. “For the longest time, people associated earthly things with being less important and frivolous, things associated with the body rather than the mind. That kind of trickled into academia,” Lyons recalls. “The history of clothes is so underdeveloped, especially at large research institutions.”

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