Power Mode: The Force of Fashion: Exhibition Tour

The Museum at FIT


Power Mode: The Force of Fashion: Exhibition Tour
Contributor Names
Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.). Museum
McClendon, Emma
In this video, Emma McClendon, curator of Power Mode: The Force of Fashion, walks you through the key themes and pieces from the show.
Today, we see a multitude of sartorial power symbols, from "power suits" to "power heels." But what makes a garment "powerful"? According to sociologist and political theorist Steven Lukes: "We speak and write about power, in innumerable situations, and we usually know, or think we know, perfectly well what we mean ... And yet, among those who have reflected on the matter, there is no agreement about how to define it, how to conceive it, how to study it, and, if it can be measured, how to measure it."
If we think of power in terms of kinetic force (for example, electrical power or a person's physical power over another), clearly an inanimate item of clothing does not have actual power. The force of fashion is symbolic. It is social. It lies in the sphere of interpersonal relations and cultural dynamics. There is no single, universally accepted definition of power. Power means different things to different people at different times. As such, its connection to fashion is multifaceted, and a multifaceted approach is necessary for considering the role fashion plays in power dynamics both historically and today.
The exhibition is organized into five thematic sections, each devoted to a particular type of sartorial "power." In each section, men's and women's clothing are considered side by side, and pieces from as early as the eighteenth century are juxtaposed with looks from contemporary collections.
Moving Image
Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.). Museum
Clothing trade
Fashion designers
Fashion merchandising
Social aspects
Clothing and dress
In Copyright
This video was produced by the Fashion Institute of Technology ("FIT") and is the property of FIT. FIT expressly prohibits the copying, displaying, or uploading to a website of any portion of this video, except for the purposes of fair use as defined in the copyright laws, without express written permission from FIT. This video has been made available online by the Fashion Institute of Technology Gladys Marcus Library strictly for research and educational purposes. If you are the copyright holder for content in this video and have any objections to this work being made available online, please notify us immediately at [email protected].
FIT Repository ID: aod_000822


The Museum at FIT


Power Mode: The Force of Fashion


FIT Faculty and Staff Work


Fashion Institute of Technology. (2020, May 28). Power Mode: The Force of Fashion: Exhibition Tour [Video]. Archive on Demand. https://archiveondemand.fitnyc.edu/item/23521
Fashion Institute of Technology. "Power Mode: The Force of Fashion: Exhibition Tour." Archive on Demand, 28 May 2020, https://archiveondemand.fitnyc.edu/item/23521
Fashion Institute of Technology, "Power Mode: The Force of Fashion: Exhibition Tour," Archive on Demand, May 28, 2020, video, https://archiveondemand.fitnyc.edu/item/23521