Jul 15, 2024  
2023 January Term Course Catalog 
2023 January Term Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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JAN 037 - Feminist Pockets: Garment work, Self-expression, Gender and Environmentalism in Fashion

Lower division
Full credit
MTu, 9:15 AM  - 12:15 PM, Th, 9:15 AM - 1:15 PM


“Feminist Pockets: Garment work, Self-expression, Gender and Environmentalism in Fashion” takes a commonplace annoyance (tiny pockets in pants marketed to women) as a jumping off point for a study of contemporary issues in fashion and the garment industry. The global garment industry is a pinnacle of labor violations and material waste. At the same time, student organizers, workers in the industry and consumers have achieved some positive reforms, most recently SB-22, which bans piece rate for garment workers in California. The class is organized around four topics:

Week 1: Fashion History: race, gender, kids and clothing
Week 2: The environmental tragedy of fast fashion
Week 3: Student solidarity and garment workers organizing for sweatshop reform
Week 4: Sewing as mutual aid

Each class pairs seminar-style discussion with sewing instruction. Thus, students will acquire and practice sewing skills each day through lessons in hand sewing, machine sewing, mending and embroidery to create, alter and mend garments. Weekly sewing projects allow students to engage in hands-on learning as we discuss garment worker concerns, gender segregation in fashion, waste, and environmental justice related to fashion.  The class culminates in a student exhibition of their final projects: a garment designed, altered, or mended by the student that responds to a class topic that has captivated their imagination and instigated further research. Students do not need prior sewing experience to succeed in this class. They should bring a curiosity about sewing, the garment industry, and clothing as self-expression to the class.

Instructor(s): Suzanne Schmidt
Email:  scs14@stmarys-ca.edu

Prerequisites & Notes
Prerequisites:  None
Course Fee:  100

Credits: 1

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