We are thrilled to announce the publication of the inaugural issue of MA Design Studies’ Plot(s), and the second edition of MA Fashion Studies’ BIAS. Both are peer reviewed, student edited and produced journals run by our outstanding students.
In an attempt to map the network of discourses within design studies, each work in Plot(s) lends a critical eye to a facet of design practice — understanding design as both a catalyst for change and as culpable for the state of our present world. As students at The New School, we do not attempt to provide an exhaustive understanding of design studies, but a glimpse into the burgeoning field. From the Editors: The contents of the first issue presents a selection of works demonstrating the diversity of our approaches to design. As evident from the breadth of subjects considered on the following pages, design is increasingly a term of nebulous definition. As practitioners of design studies, we are thus required to invoke flexible modes of inquiry and a willingness to step over the boundaries between disciplines. Our task as the first class in Parsons’ MA Design Studies program has been to sketch and navigate a map of this transdisciplinary landscape. In doing so, we have had no choice but to push past the traditional methods, expectations, and borders of academic work. The results continue to be an array of creative scholarship that cannot be fit neatly into any one box. So, in lieu of a box, we offer you Plot(s).
Throughout history, the ever-changing worlds of fashion and politics have been inextricably linked. While some governments have reserved the power to dictate the dress of their citizens, fashion has conversely served as a way for citizens to boldly stand in the face of oppression. Still, as fashion writer Jane Audas commented in response to Show Studio’s project on political fashion, “How can something so much concerned with surface have a political agenda of any depth?”
For this issue, contributors were challenged to consider the ways that fashion and politics intersect, as well as how fashion can be politicized. The diverse content featured within these pages comes from writers, artists, and designers from around the world. Their personal styles and political beliefs may differ, but each contributor is influenced by the inescapable forces of fashion and politics in our everyday lives. Whether it’s the politics that affect garment manufactures, the influence of dress choices made by our political leaders, or even the politics behind how a society views beauty, these pieces provide proof of how powerful these intersecting forces can be.
The journal you have before you is the result of late nights, long discussions, and the creative power of a dedicated team that I am proud to call my colleagues. We hope that this issue will provide you with new ways of looking at how both fashion and politics affect our lives, and will perhaps even spark a debate or two. After all, everyone has his or her own political biases. The difference is how—or if—we choose to cover them up.