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“How Did You Use to Dress in Those Days?”

“How Did You Use to Dress in Those Days?”

In an article published in a special issue of The International Journal of Reminiscence and Life Review, “Pedagogy in Reminiscence and Life Review,” Lori Yancura, Andy Reilly, and Young Bahng (all FCS) focus on how oral histories can be used in teaching fashion theory. 

As the authors explain, the use of reminiscence methodology, in the form of oral history or life story projects, is a not-uncommon component of coursework in a few disciplines in higher education, such as nursing, gerontology, and history. The pedagogical technique provides students with the experience of working with older adults and learning about historical events from those who experienced them. However, they argue that it might also be successfully used in other academic disciplines, particularly for providing students with the opportunity to apply course material to everyday environments. This article, a collaboration between the HDFS and FDM programs, describes the development of a reminiscence project used in Fashion Design and Merchandising courses.

For this project, students applied Consumer Culture theory to their interviews with older adults about people, places, social roles, and events in terms of their clothing choices at various points in their lives. The pilot project demonstrated that one-on-one interviews centering around clothing-related reminiscence can be successfully applied to teaching Consumer Culture theory and opened the door for further applications for this methodology.

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