The Fabric of Cultures is a pedagogical, research lab and platform that interprets fashion, clothing and textile from a historical, theoretical and globalized perspective as well as in mediated forms such as screen media. The Fabric of Cultures is the result of several years of research, teaching, exhibition curating, and program building within CUNY.

Large manufacturing industries and symbolic machines such as fashion and clothing are not neutral platforms and structures. Rather, they affect millions of people in their everyday lives and in their work and social interactions. Fabric and fashion are intertwined domains that touch on the political and the collective. Fashion has a profound impact on the public self, national self-image and projection and utopias, as well as on the most intimate structure of feeling in the construction and perception of identities that are fluid in their manifestation and cannot be divorced from gender, race and class.

In its broadest context and definition, fashion establishes a set of practices, codes and manners–what we could call affective regimes–that regulate the rhythms of people’s existences, as well as the way they communicate in society, with each other and how they project desire through dress. These set of practices are acquired through culture. Fashion then “plays a key role in regulating the politics of [both individual and collective] subjectivity” (Altinay: 2016) and can be interpreted as multiple modes of “embodied historiography” (Altinay: 2016).

The Fabric of Cultures brings attention to the art of making and its knowledge producing processes. At the core of The Fabric of Cultures is the understanding that clothing and fashion work within larger power systems that are linked to economics, migration, social justice, climate change and sustainability, technology, and cultural and political transformations. The Fabric of Cultures pays special attention to women’s work in the fashion industry, NY based entrepreneurs, makers and communities and in a comparative perspective with other countries such as Italy.

We envision The Fabric of Cultures as a platform for activism and social change. Add info about partners.

– Eugenia Paulicelli

Altinay, Rüstem Ertug, Dressing for Utopia. Fashion, Performance, and the Politics of Everyday Life in Turkey (1923-2013), PhD Dissertation, New York University, 2016.

The Fabric of Cultures: Fashion, Identity, Globalization, 2006
Exhibition catalogue online

The Fabric of Cultures Project Team<

Eugenia Paulicelli is Professor of Italian, Comparative Literatures, Women’s and Gender Studies, Film Studies and Liberal Studies at The Graduate Center and Queens College of the City University of New York. She is the founder and director of the Fabric of Cultures that she originated in 2006, which made possible several collaborative projects and dialogues among CUNY scholars and beyond to fulfill the mission of an academic recognition of the interdisciplinary field of fashion studies through the creation of new courses, exhibitions, conferences and prestigious publications, such as the co-edited volumes with Hazel Clark, The Fabric of Cultures. Fashion, Identity, Globalization (Routledge: 2008) and with Veronica Manlow
and Elizabeth Wissinger, The Routledge Companion to Fashion Studies,(Routledge: 2021 and 2023).

The Fabric of Cultures came alive in digital format in 2017 and since then has continued in its ongoing mission to expand research projects on the history, theory and pedagogy of fashion, exhibitions, documentary and short film production and the use of the website to foster projects with students in different universities as well as working with the Francis Lewis High School located in Queens.

Eugenia is also the founder of the Concentration in Fashion Studies housed at the Graduate Center, CUNY in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies, as well as of the Italian Cinema CUNY (IC-CUNY), showcasing Italian cinema and cinematic encounters and featured on CUNY-TV. She is the author of several books. More detailed information can be found on her website:www.eugeniapaulicelli.com.

Iris Finkel, Associate Editor and Website Manager of The Fabric of Cultures, is an Assistant Professor and the Web & Digital Initiatives Librarian at Hunter College. Iris is a former student of Professor Paulicelli’s and is interested in the communication of fashion scholarship through digital modes. Her projects can be found at fashionindh.org.

The latest project that Iris worked on with Professor Paulicell and students in a course at The Graduate Center is the website Fashion Through Film and Screen Media highlighting students’ exhibits.