UCCI Course Description

Fashion Forward: World History and Fashion Design

Overview Course Content Course Materials
Length of Course
Full Year (2 semesters; 3 trimesters; 4 quarters)
Subject Area - Discipline
History / Social Science (A) - World History / Cultures / Historical Geography
UC Honors Designation
CTE Sector
Fashion and Interior Design
CTE Pathway
Fashion Design and Merchandising
Grade Level(s)


Fashion Forward: World History and Fashion Design is a course in which students analyze significant periods in world history from the 1700’s to modern times while building basic skills and understanding key principles in fashion design. Students use major world events such as wars, the Industrial Revolution, and globalization as the inspiration for design projects that reflect their comprehension of both historical content and relevant industry design standards. Students also use a developing understanding of fashion trends, textile design, and industrial advances across history as a means to understand the historical and cultural context in which those fashions, designs, and advances came about. Upon completion of this course, students create a portfolio to prepare them for a career in the field of fashion design and merchandising. 

Recurring Assignments

Portfolio Requirement

Students in this class will select their best work and create a portfolio, emphasizing inventions or developments in the world history of fashion, merchandise marketing, and design. The body of selected work will be assembled into a format consistent with industry standards and could be used in conjunction with professional documents for the purpose of gaining employment. The portfolio must exist digitally and will be developed, shared and critiqued by the instructor as evidence of their learning throughout the class. This work, when compiled at the end of the year, will complete a digital timeline, as each item will be presented in chronological order.

Career Pathway Connection Recurring Assignment

At the end of each unit, students will be required to research suggested careers from each time period and write a 400-600 word reflection, connecting the innovations from each precise time period with historical context and with current CTE pathways. Selections for each time period will be chosen by the teacher. At the end of the year, a final writing assignment will be required of each student in which they choose one career pathway to research and reflect on the potential for the career to exist in the future, how it might change and new career pathways that may develop.

Course Content

Unit 1 : Gunpowder and Other Early Empires, Trade Routes, Early Civilizations

Unit 1 Description

Students analyze maps of the growing empires of the late Middle Ages and their colonies,  as well as trade routes of the period (Atlantic World, Pacific/Indian Ocean, and world trade systems). They examine how the distinctive fashion of the inhabitants of the Gunpowder Empires (Mughal India, Ottoman Empire, Safavid Persia) of this period was indicative of the sustainable practices involved in weaving cloth from raw materials grown in local regions, or purchased through mutual trade. They understand the influence of dynastic rule and what was understood as the “divine right of kings, ” as well as identify examples of the luxury present among the highest classes of these societies, particularly exemplified in the opulence of the court of Louis XIV of France and contrast this extravagance with the clothing worn by the peasant class (Third Estate). Students explore the sources of political, military, or religious power in these civilizations and examine the influence these structures--as well as land ownership--had on the wealth of both the ruling and ruled classes. In addition, students analyze how the politics, society, economics, culture, and aesthetics of these periods influenced the textiles used in clothing production and the designs of clothing worn by both the ruling and ruled classes of these periods.

#1. Land Ownership, Wealth, and Power in the Early Nations

In this assignment, students investigate the feudal system of the Middle Ages, distribution of land and power in the form of fiefs and the later shift toward nations controlled by powerful monarchs. Under this new system, monarchs who in some cases had effectively taken over surrounding kingdoms were only rivaled in power and influence by monarchs from other nations. Students also investigate that, while European nations still maintained strong aristocracies as a result of inheriting large tracts of land or estates from the feudal period, additional changes to the social, political, and wealth structure still occurred as serfs and peasants left manors and migrated to growing cities for more business opportunities, contributing to a new middle class  After researching one European nation of their choosing during the 1500’s, students will write a paper that examines how the transition into a strong nation either maintained the status quo or disrupted who owned the land, resources, and wealth. They should include a discussion of how the social hierarchy during this era did or did not change from the social pyramid of the feudal system for at least three segments of society. The entire paper may be structured as a compare and contrast essay, if so desired, provided an analysis of the transition is covered. This assignment provides foundational historical knowledge that prepares students for the more in depth analysis of Louis XIV in the assignment that follows.

#2: Historical Research Paper on Louis XIV of France

Throughout history, differences in social classes have often been visually demarcated by distinct fashion -in some cases, separating the “haves” from the “have nots.” In this assignment, students explore that concept by examining King Louis XIV of France as an example of an Absolute Monarch, and how the extravagance of his court was reflective of the extreme wealth the aristocracy and royal family had accumulated during that period. Using the internet or a library, students research his life and rule, paying special attention to the ways in which he increased the power and authority of the monarchy and how he became known as the “King of Couture.” In order to understand how the history of social, cultural, political, and economic  changes influenced fashion, students will use specific examples of the extravagance of Louis XIV’s court and the distinctions between classes in dress, food, and overall lifestyle to explain how Louis XIV was an example of an Absolute Monarch. Students could also choose to address the ways in which Louis XIV’s rule strengthened France and the ways in which he weakened the nation, as well as how the peasant majority experienced his rule. The basis of government and early fashion design concepts taught in this unit will be referenced throughout the course as historical events and fashion trends change over time and build upon one another.

#3: Clothing of the  Gunpowder Empires Storyboard

In this assignment, students explore the significance of the “gunpowder empires” of this period and their control of the trade routes to and from Asia, Egypt,  and the Middle East from Europe, including valuable spices, incense, porcelain, tea, and cotton and silk resources. In order to bring these goods back home, European merchants were forced to pay for the “middle men” of these empires (primarily the Ottomans, who often only allowed trade with Italian merchants).  In fact, it was to find new trade routes and avoid paying fees to these middle men that Columbus made his famous voyage west. Yet, in spite of discovery of the American continents, trade continued through the Turks, Safavids, and Mughals as middle men until the British took control of India in 1852 and Egypt in 1882. By examining images of the distinctive dress, such as long, flowing garments, headdresses, and ornaments of various types, students can imagine the visual impression the merchants and officials of the Gunpowder Empires would have upon European traders of the time. With further exploration, students will begin to see the connection between owning the land where the resources were grown, or how controlling the trade routes to their sources (such as silk from China). Students create a storyboard that identifies characteristics, production and sustainable practices of silk and/or cotton used by any one segment of society in one of the gunpowder empires. Students storyboards should also focus on how the construction of the outfits was specific to the people's access to the most desirable materials. The storyboard must diagram two outfits. Students should be prepared to present their projects orally upon completion and should include a summary  of the historical significance of the gunpowder empire they focused on for this assignment.

#4: Recurring Career Pathway Connection Writing Assignment

In a 400-600 word written lesson reflection, students will summarize their research from Assignment #3, comparing and contrasting the clothing of these two classes, making sure to reference differences in income, materials in the outfits, cost of the clothing, historical context and any other relevant findings, with the suggested CTE career path of Fashion and Interior Design or similar pathways.

Unit 2 : 1750-1917: Revolutions Reshape the World/ Democratic Revolutions

In this unit, students identify major trends in Enlightenment era thought such as: the concept of natural rights, as well as specific ideologies of political theorists Locke, Hobbes, Rousseau, and Montesquieu who greatly influenced architects of civil reform. Students connect the ways in which new political ideas, such as freedom of expression, gave rise to changes in social norms, including fashion trends. They understand how democratic and representative government was still considered a revolutionary concept for Europe in the 18th Century, even though experimentation with the practices had begun in ancient Greece and the Roman Republic, and several intermittent documents. Likewise, students recognize how such classical thought aligned with Judeo-Christian values to provide a philosophical groundwork for a new wave of political reform, contributing to the American, French, and Latin American Revolutions. Through their analysis of conceptual and political changes occurring during this time, students understand the interrelationship between politics, society, economics, culture, aesthetics and fashion principles. Students also identify the general reasons for military uniforms, and the distinct issues related to outfits in both the American and French Revolutions.

#1: Contrasting Views on Government Essay

Maintaining order and increasing political and economic stability has been a primary goal of government throughout history. Students will consider the best way to do this – by extending government control and powers, or by guaranteeing individual rights and limiting government. To build foundational knowledge on key Enlightenment philosophies and prepare students for assignment #2, students contrast the different approaches espoused by two Enlightenment thinkers, such as John Locke and Thomas Hobbs. They will write an approximately 1000-word essay contrasting the views of the two philosophers, as well as include their opinion on the issue. At least two direct quotes from each philosopher should be incorporated, as well as citations of sources.

#2: Enlightenment Shift in the Arts, Culture and Fashion PowerPoint

In this assignment, students examine the  connections between the broad political and cultural shifts during the Enlightenment and the changes in the arts  and fashion. Students will conduct primary and secondary research in order to create a digital slide presentation (ie, PowerPoint) of approximately 10 slides in which they compare and contrast the transition from the earlier fashion to mid-18th century fashion trends and include images that illustrate the changes in styles, fabrics, and accessories of both men and women. The format of each slide should include a ‘Before’ (early 1700’s ) outfit and ‘After’ (later 1700’s) outfit from a similar class of society. Using information and ideas from assignment #1, students identify the key changes, and analyze and explain how these changes in styles, fabrics, and/or accessories reflect a shift in political thinking. Students should incorporate, if possible, a direct quote from one of the key political theorists of the Enlightenment and explain its connection to the content of their presentation. Student include a final slide that summarizes how the key shifts in political thought are reflected in the shifts in fashion that manifested as a result of the Enlightenment.

#3:  (Choose A or B)

Option A

Military uniforms have served several purposes historically, including the ease of identification of combatants (to avoid attacking one’s own side), pride, and camaraderie. Students will research and examine images of the uniforms of opposing sides of one of the revolutions studied in this period: American, French, Mexican, or South American. Acting as a mock reporter from the time period for The London Times, they will write an informative opinion piece, discussing the uniforms, including detailed descriptions of the uniforms, exploration of the materials used, their own opinion on each uniform, focusing on how effective they find the uniforms in inspiring moral, or any other relevant dimension as appropriate.  And, since it is an Opinion piece, students may choose to comment on the design.

Option B

Students will research the unique hardships faced by the Continental Army during the American Revolution, especially in the early years. Using primary source documents, including but not limited to this excerpt of a letter from George Washington to the Continental Congress,   students will write an expository essay on how the issue of military uniform was secondary to basic needs such as sufficient clothing in general during this important phase of American history. Students may alternately write a newspaper article for the Pennsylvania Evening Post on the subject, in the format described above (see Option A), after having done appropriate research on the issue of military uniforms.  

#4: Recurring Career Pathway Connection Writing Assignment

In 400 - 600 word unit reflection, students will research any time period and society covered in this unit, comparing and contrasting the clothing of any two classes within the same society, with those of current society today, making sure to reference differences in income, materials in the outfits, cost of the clothing, historical context and any other relevant findings, as related to suggested fashion pathways. In completing this assignment, students will formulate reasonings as to how changing societal needs, economic conditions, and government affects the trends of the time.

Unit 3 : Industrial Revolutions

Students identify how the earliest developments in industrialization began in England with machines for increasing the output of spinning cloth, such as the flying shuttle, spinning frame, and spinning jenny. They demonstrate the basic weaving process used in this production. Students learn about a shift from agrarian-based society to manufacturing-based society and the urban shift in population and why large cities in Western Europe and America, centered around factories, saw new waves of immigration. Students consider the multiple ways in which industrialization transformed people’s daily lives, in terms of providing more merchantable goods in the marketplace, to standardizing time and work schedules. Students identify the societal and environmental challenges of industrialization: overcrowded cities and housing, poor sanitation, unsafe working conditions for both adults and children. Students research and analyze workplace safety in the textile mills, as it relates to children and how it lead to the creation of child workplace safety laws. They understand how increasing divisions between rich and poor, as well as difficult working conditions, and increasing regimentation, resulted in the creation of unions and new economics ideologies, such as socialism and Marxism.

#1: Innovation and Industrialization

To prepare for assignment #2, students will be introduced to textile design and the textile industry. Students will understand how the Industrial Revolution in England and Europe was crucial to the spread of textiles for all economic classes. Textiles could be produced and printed in greater volume. Factories soon replaced the cottage industry. The factory system was the first step towards American Industrialization. Students will create a geographical and pictorial timeline showing the key inventors/inventions from the Industrial Revolution, which spurred the rapid growth in the textile industry in Great Britain to new technology today, emphasizing the type of power each machine utilized, the number of workers it replaced, and the connections between the machines (i.e. how the increase in the supply of thread meant that the demand for a quicker weaving process was heightened). Once finished with the timelines, students compose an essay to compare and contrast the cottage system and the factory system of production, to current productions over time.

#2: Early Textile Production

Students will gain a first hand experience of the process by which cloth was hand woven prior to the advent of machine produced goods that began to revolutionize all aspects of life during the Industrial Revolution. Students will be provided with visual steps and teacher modeling to illustrate the process of weaving cotton. They will analyze their own clothing to identify the woven process and will then experiment with color and patterns to practice making fabric by weaving paper. The paper will represent the dyed warp threads and the colored strips will represent the weft thread. The end product will be used as cotton wall displays, greeting cards or bookmarks. Students will then write a one page reflection answering how well the woven piece stayed together, how it is similarly held together like the fabric in the shirts we wear today, what qualities of the warp and weft change with weaving, and personal thoughts on the field to fabric process. The completion of this assignment gives students a conceptual framework in preparation for Unit 4: how the mechanization of textile production revolutionized the way people lived in the 19th century.

#3: Child Labor in the Workplace

Once students have a good understanding of the development of the textile industry and factory production, students act as journalists and create a traditional print newspaper (a cut and paste activity on large paper), newspaper story board on tri fold cardboard displays, desktop published newsletter or multimedia presentation (ie, PowerPoint), to create a graphic and visually appealing timeline to present readers with an overview of the issue of child labor as it relates to industrialization. Students should convey a sense of the period through their finished product (e.g. old fashioned fonts and images). Then, students choose a persona (a parent, child laborer, factory owner/employer) and write an editorial aimed at persuading readers to take some form of action relating to changing child labor conditions or defending the conditions which make it necessary for children to work. Students locate from primary sources three compelling photographs that deal with the issue of child labor and present them to readers with original captions, providing accounts of children at work in two news stories, presenting the facts, and representing opinions only as quotes.

#4: Recurring Career Pathway Connection Writing Assignment

After learning about the introduction of textile machinery and its transformation on textiles in society, students will write a reflection, connecting and synthesizing the innovations from the Industrial Revolution with current innovations, particularly if they connect to the fashion industry. Students will research the idea of fashion’s 4th Industrial Revolution and, if possible, predict future innovations for fashion design. In completing this assignment, students formulate ideas and reasonings as to how new technological breakthroughs affect fashion of the time.

Unit 4 : The Rise of Imperialism and Colonialism 1800’s-early 1900’s

Students examine industrialized nations’ worldwide imperial expansion, fueled by demand for natural resources,  larger markets in which to sell their products and ideological motives of a “civilizing mission.” They identify how, for much of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, local manufacturing in regions such as India, China, and Latin America declined dramatically while the race to secure raw materials spurred European, Japanese, and American imperialism. Students are introduced to the invention of the sewing machine and how the demand for increased production led to the rise of the textile industry.  Students compare the perspectives of advocates for and against imperialism and consider the way each side presents evidence to support their claims. Students also recognize how Europeans, in turn, were shaped by their encounters with colonial peoples through their exposure to non-Western religions, systems of thought for the first time, and unique forms of apparel that in some cases changed customs throughout the empire. Overall, students begin to understand the multiple interconnected causes and justifications for colonization: religious, racial, and political uplift; economic exchange; and geopolitical power. Through this analysis, students explore the rise of the social classes and how fashion influenced each social class. Students demonstrate their knowledge in a “Look Book”, containing the visual elements of design choices. Though the label “globalization” is often restricted to the late twentieth-century, students begin to explore the ways in which both the processes of industrialization and imperialism initiated transformations in transport and communication technologies, unprecedented levels of global migration, and accelerating global economic exchange. The basis of design elements taught in this unit will continue to build on one another as historical events change over time and skills develop and improve to meet career and industry standards.

#1: Social Classes Influence on Fashion

Students continue investigating the rise of the textile industry, researching the invention of the sewing machine, patent laws, and its many changes and adaptations to meet the growing fashion industry. Through this investigation, students understand that economic, social and fashion changes accompanied the Industrial Revolution, and discover those connections. Students will research class structures and fashion choice and availability to the three main classes and use fashion to delineate between classes. Students will synthesize their findings and create a “Look Book” illustrating three garments/styles that reflect each individual class of that time to include: lower, middle, and upper class. Students may choose to hand illustrate or create the Look Book digitally. The final “Look Book” will consist of a written description detailing each look. The student will identify the fabric(s), the cut, silhouette, cost, and purpose of each style using current fashion standards.

#2: The Invention of the Sewing Machine and Influential Fabrics

The invention of the sewing machine can be seen in the CTE career pathway of the fashion and interior design industry. Students will choose a unique item or garment and the fabric used to produce it during the Age of Imperialism, which saw the expansion of goods and markets that came with rise of capitalism and increased global markets.  Examples for this project include: Upholstery, Nylon Stockings, sofa, corset, handbag, etc.

Students will write a research paper identifying:

  • The historical purpose/use during this time, history of the fabric/item;
  • Reasons for popularity, manufacturing/design process;
  • Impact technology has/had on the production of this item;
  • Current use and how that use differs from historical purpose.

#3: Sewing Techniques and Hand Stitching  

After learning about the invention of the sewing machine, historical textiles and clothing apparel manufacturing processes, students will apply past and present knowledge of hand-stitching techniques and preparation of fabric for current sewing purposes. Students learn proper technique and design the following clothing article indigenous to a colonized people from the mid to late 19th Century: pajama bottoms from India.

In addition to the sewing product, students will produce a written summary of how Imperialism spread indigenous items beyond their traditional borders into wider markets, as exemplified by the pajamas in this assignment.

#4: Retail and Marketing

Much of the motivation for the growth of imperial empires during this time period came from increased access to capital, in the form of raw materials, labor, and gold and silver.  Additionally, by colonizing new peoples, empires also gained access to new markets to sell their goods. In this assignment, students explore the factors that contributed to the Industrial Revolution triggering a self-supporting manufacturing and retailing cycle: more goods produced, more goods to sell, increasing business activity and giving the growing middle class more money to spend, therefore, increasing product demand. Ultimately, this created the retail industry: the first department stores and early mail order merchandising soon emerged. Building on knowledge learned from assignments 1 and 2, students also explore the early marketing principles used by department stores to effectively reach consumers and compare them to today. Students document and digitally submit their research via photos of past and current day window displays. Students will identify a non-western product to market and create a 3D model of a complete window design for a retail store. Students will research window dressing techniques and best practices in order to advertise their garments. Students will apply marketing and design principles of balance, unity, and composition to present an effective and strong advertising layout. Through completing  the preliminary learning described in this assignment, and connecting it to the project (describing historical context), students should be able to verbally identify how the Industrial Revolution, Imperialism, and Colonialism worked together to stimulate growing consumer markets, which in turn spurred on the search for more materials and more efficient means of producing and selling goods, thereby creating a cyclical pattern.

#5: Recurring Career Pathway Connection Writing Assignment

Students will write a reflective essay in which they explain how their artistic choices up to this point in the course relate to the consumer audience in terms of design, production, and language.  This assignment provides students career-ready skills found in the CTE Anchor standards such as communications, career planning and management, and technical knowledge and skills.

Unit 5 : Causes, Course, and Consequences of WWI

Students identify how the European balance of power that had been set at the Congress of Vienna, was undermined by global competition in the colonial era, the rise of nationalism, and the new alliance system, leading to the outbreak of a world war. They understand how the entrance of large numbers of men into the military resulted in women entering the workforce, changing their traditionally understood roles as well as attire. Students explain the causes of the Russian Revolution and its effects on the people of Russia and the course of the war as well as America’s late entry and contribution to the war effort. Students build upon their knowledge of the history of fashion design to include the elements of principles and design and the fashion designer influences of the time. They come to understand the nature of the war and its human costs on all sides of the conflict, including how colonial peoples contributed to the war effort and the human rights violations and genocide that occurred, including the Ottoman government’s actions against Armenian citizens. Students exhibit a digital exhibit of design concepts connecting the significance of how people and events influence fashion and compare the key influencers during this time period to present day. Students also create a brochure that demonstrates an understanding of how fashion design elements and principles changed the course of women’s fashion during WWI.

In the second part of this unit, students analyze the aims and negotiating roles of world leaders, the terms and influence of the Treaty of Versailles and Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points, and the effect of the United State’s rejection of the League of Nations on world politics. After analyzing the impact of disillusionment on literature, art, and intellectual life in the west, students will use design skills to produce a clothing or accessory item. They also analyze the rise of totalitarian government after World War I. Students include a discussion to connect the significance and meaning of the fashion trend to the facts about people and events that influenced this time period. In preparation for understanding what lead to the events in Unit 6, they examine the rise, aggression, and human costs of fascist, Nazi, and/or communist regimes in Germany, Italy and the Soviet Union, noting especially their common and dissimilar traits.

#1 Causes of WWI Timeline

The Congress of Vienna was largely successful in preventing any European nation from growing in power and starting new conflicts, like those seen in Napoleon’s time (there were some wars, but generally they were limited in size and scope). However, by the late 19th century, various (and changing) alliances, competition for colonial empires and influence outside of European borders, combined with growing tensions within some struggling empires and erupted into a world war. Through class lecture, reading, and outside research, students gather a solid understanding of how WWI did not begin simply with the assassination of one political figure. They will create an annotated timeline, starting with the Congress of Vienna and culminating with the onset of WWI and making sure to include the Russian Revolution and Russia’s exit from the war AND the Armenian Genocide - both of which happened during the course of the war. Students may also include the armistice that ended the war. The timeline must have 16-20 events listed, shown with a symbol of their choosing (and made by the student), and several sentences explaining what happened in brief, and its significance. Students should also be prepared to explain the meaning of the symbol and why it relates to the event depicted. Alternately, they may create a digital slide presentation covering the same topics, provided they also are able to upload (or use software) symbols they have created. This assignment provides historical context and foundational knowledge to prepare students for the work of the following assignments.

#2: The War Beckons Women into the Workforce

At the turn of the century, women had begun working in factories, department stores and offices. Their need for clothing changed from fanciful dresses to practical “ready-to-wear” clothing. This caused the retail market of fashion to grow exponentially. Women’s fashions began to trend towards more simple, “masculine” styles. Clothing was more free-moving with less restrictive accessories to accommodate this shift in style. Building on the work of assignment one, students identify how the events of World War I drove even more women into the workforce, afforded them new rights, and established the need for practical clothing. Students will research and choose one fashion trend for women during this time and analyze the connection between this fashion trend and women’s changing roles in society. Additionally, students will compare and contrast fashion of early 1900’s to present day. They will identify the current events that are changing fashion today, how politics/history may play a role, Art, technology (including Facebook, Twitter), and the people who influence fashion.

#3: Fashion Trends, Elements and Principles of Design Digital Brochure

After learning about women’s changing roles in society and the shift in fashion in the early 1900’s, students will collaborate to create a digital foldable brochure that illustrates sample fashion styles. Students will include the famous fashion designers that contributed to the trend changes and the role each one played. After a brief tutorial and explanation of the elements and principles of design, students will use their sewing machines and chosen fabric to create an apparel item or accessory indicative of a fashion trend of the time. In a written document, students will identify and describe the purpose for each element of design including: texture, line, color, balance, shape, emphasis, harmony, proportion, and rhythm, as well as, identifying what meaning and emphasis the fashion trend was conveying. The completion of this assignment will demonstrate the student’s understanding of how fashion design elements and principles changed the course of women’s fashion during WWI.

#4: The Treaty of Versailles

Students will research the ramifications of the Treaty of Versailles on Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany, and Austria in regards to: territorial changes, military restrictions, war guilt, reparations, and the creation of the League of Nations. Applying their existing knowledge of the principles of design, students  will create a series of infographics illustrating the impact the treaty had on each nation and will present findings and assessment as to who benefited most in each category. Alternately, they may write a summative paper of approximately 4 pages covering the topics listed above.

#5: Recurring Career Pathway Connection Writing Assignment

In a 400-600 word essay, students will connect the fashion trends of women during WWI, including the design elements, principles and trend forecasting to suggested career pathways in both fashion design, merchandising and manufacturing and how fashion trends may evolve in the future.

Unit 6 : Causes and Course of WWII

Students analyze the causes and consequences of World War II.  They compare the German, Italian, and Japanese drives for empire, including the atrocities committed. They understand the role appeasement, isolationism, and domestic distractions, including the Great Depression, in Europe and the United States, had on the outbreak of World War II. Students research one key leader from this period, examine his impact, and observe the unique characteristics in personality, appearance, and style, describing the traits that contribute to his iconic stature. Students will identify and locate the Allied and Axis powers on a map and discuss the major turning points of World War II, the principal theaters of conflict, key strategic decisions, and the resulting war conferences and political resolutions, with emphasis on the importance of geographic factors. Students will research how the war affected the rationing of raw materials. Building on the design elements, students will recreate a wartime fashion style for present-day use. Students will explore wartime costume design using current visual design tools to clearly and creatively represent an understanding of historical events and fashion trends. Students also analyze the Nazi policy of pursuing racial purity, its transformation into the Final Solution, and the Holocaust. Please note: Assignment(s) that address this learning outcome are for the teacher’s making and up to their discretion. Students evaluate the human costs of the war, with particular attention to the civilian and military losses in Russia, Germany, Britain, and the United States, China, and Japan.

#1: Iconic Figures of WWII, Biography

WWII saw the most devastating loss of human life from any war in history, with staggering numbers of dead and wounded soldiers and civilians.  Yet only a handful of people are universally recognized from this apocalyptic period in history, each with his own unique personality and style.  Students will use lecture notes, their textbook, and/or additional research and choose one of the following leaders to research in detail for a 1200 word biography - or, alternately, write a 300-400 word overview on several of them (3 or 4, also adding up to roughly 1200 words total) l, making sure to include: background, role in WWII, and unique characteristics - including appearance/ dress/ speech and/ or mannerisms that help make this figure iconic for future generations:  Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini, Hideki Tojo, and/or Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Students include a discussion of the political cartoons from the time period, observing and analyzing how they accentuate the very features/ dress/ manners which help make the figure iconic. Some “iconic” points to consider: Churchill usually wore a bowler or top hat, and was often seen smoking a cigar. Stalin, Hitler, and Tojo were rarely seen out of military uniform during this time period, and each had a unique mustache.  FDR was unable to walk on his own (due to a bout with polio in his 20’s), though he made many attempts to hide this from public.

#2: World War II Fashion Trends and Croqui Designs

A great number of restrictions on raw materials existed during World War II, for every resource that could be used for war efforts was needed. The war had priority so the military needs for materials such as wool and cotton had to be fulfilled first before they could be used by civilians for the main purpose of the manufacturing of clothing. The restrictions on resources such as these drastically changed the fashion trends during the time.

Incorporating the essential elements and principles of design and the basic shapes and forms of the croqui, students will research the shift in trends and choose three styles that resulted from World War 2 to sketch and design. Students will provide detail for each one, explaining its purpose and function for wartime life. Students will then use one style as inspiration to construct and create a new (modern-day) fashion garment or accessory. Students will present their new design as a persuasive sales pitch, convincing a manufacturer to purchase their prototype for a new line of clothing.  In the pitch, students identify and discuss the historical elements and earlier design that influenced their design. This assignment is critical with respect to the students’ development of the portfolio.  

#3: Wartime Costume Design  

Building on newly emerged design skills of the croqui and evaluating the effects of the lack of access to Europe’s fabrics or designs, American fashion and manufacturing drastically changed.  Claire McCardell and Stanley Marcus were considered the top designers and retailers of this time. Claire designed practical separates, inspired by the work clothes of farmers, railroad engineer, soldiers, and sportsmen. American designers grew skilled in the category of “sportswear” which would eventually influence the rest of the world. Based on the need for conservation of materials for the war effort, Stanley Marcus helped create regulations for the garment industry that restricted the amount of fabric that could be used to create a garment.

Building on their design knowledge of the croqui and the global shift in access to materials, students will read a play from this time period and design costumes for 3 characters. Student designs should demonstrate a clear understanding of the character and how the use of clothing is communicated (using color, texture and shape). The designs should also demonstrate an understanding of historical events/context represented in the play and how they influenced fashion differences between the various countries. Students will demonstrate knowledge of conceptualizing characters and history through costumes by digitally presenting the designs they created.

#4: Recurring Career Pathway Connection Writing Assignment

In a 400-600 word lesson reflection, students will examine the roles and responsibilities of a fashion designer or costume designer from the 1940’s to present day. How has technology evolved to improve delivery of designs. Using the elements of design, their knowledge of the croqui and understanding of trends, students will identify the current job market and outlook for future employment.

Unit 7 : The Cold War

Students will examine international developments including the state and relationships between nations following World War II. Students will understand the economics and military power shifts caused by the war, including the development of nuclear weapons, soviet control over Eastern European nations, and the economic recoveries of Germany and Japan. Students will examine the causes and effects of the Cold War and the communist influence outside the Soviet Union. Students will discuss the cultural and political developments in an essay, discussing cold-war inspired spy themes and the impact history and culture had on the development of fashion and media during that period. Students will use sequential techniques to analyze information delivery systems and compare and contrast to present day digital delivery systems as an economic and political result of the objectives from the Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan and the purpose of organizations such as: The United Nation, the Warsaw Pact, NATO and SEATO. Students will analyze the causes and events associated with the Chinese Civil War and communist China under Mao Zedong as well as the uprisings in Eastern European countries seeking freedom from Soviet control including the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War.

Students will continue to examine the shift in fashion trends from the impact of cultural and political developments of the Cold War. After the war, women returned to the home and men back to the factories. While times were tense internationally, at home people tried to regain a more relaxed lifestyle. Families moved to the suburbs to get out of the chaos of city living.  Casual sportswear and ready to wear fabrics became quite popular. Students will examine the principles and techniques in product development comparing fashion trends of the 1960’s to today. After an introduction to “dressing a model,” students will practice draping, using various fabrics and evaluate globalization’s effect needed for production. Students will determine the location of fashion trend development and how the styles and clothing combinations drove the market and began to dominate the fashion industry. Distinguishing between past and present product development, shapes how historical and cultural content has evolved over time.

#1: Cold War Espionage

Through lecture, class activities, and readings, students learn about the Cold War Era’s heightened tensions, increased spying and espionage between competing superpowers, and how these growing trends came to be reflected in popular culture. They will be exposed to some of the true stories that are known, as well as the more famous book, TV, and movie characters and storylines that converted international tension into entertainment (more recent dramatizations will also be referenced).  Students research at least one Cold-War spy (or espionage) related book, TV or radio show, and/or movie from this time period. In an analytical essay of approximately 1,000 words, students briefly summarize the tensions of the time period and the purpose of spy agencies. Students should include a discussion of the plot and, more importantly, an analysis of why the story had public appeal, emphasizing the fashion depicted in the story and how societal attitudes played a role in influencing the clothing of the characters based on historical trends of the Cold War Era.

#2: Past, Present, and Future for Informational Delivery Systems

Rapid advances in technology were a common theme of the last half of the 20th Century, with some of them a direct result of competition for global power between the superpowers. In some cases, advances created for military supremacy, such as satellites for spying, were adapted for commercial use. Students will explore the information delivery systems during the Cold War Era, (radio, satellite, fax, telegraph, newspapers, television, etc) for marketing and advertising products or services and compare and contrast with modern digital systems of delivery (youtube, facebook, yelp, etc). Students will create a timeline illustrating the various methods of delivery, including the role of each system, how the technology originated, how the potential customer might receive the information, technology required, and how marketing and the consumer experience was affected by each innovation. If students cannot fit this type of detail onto a timeline, they can complete the last 1-2 components in a write up detailing how the technology originated (in a few sentences), and how marketing and consumerism were both affected by each new technology (a few additional sentences).

#3: Fashion Influences, Design, Color and Draping

In the United States, several incidents during the Cold War Era, including McCarthyism, the Bay of Pigs, and the revelation that the government lied to the public in relation to escalating the Vietnam conflict, created a wave of rebellion against authority that had not been previously seen. This cultural revolution created new identities, including the concept of “teenagers” as a unique demographic. Additionally, in unison with the the new identities came new fashion statements. Students will use their classroom text and additional research using web-based resource materials to investigate Cold War changes in society and explore what fashion influences drove the fashion industry. Students will examine the principles and techniques in product development of sportswear and casual wear. Students will explore the wave of color, design, and textural trends in fashion from the 1960’s and compare it to the current trends of today. Students will gather sample fabrics and “dress” a model (real or dress form) by draping a sportswear outfit inspired by the 1960’s to present day. Students will experiment with draping using various fabrics, distinguish and report on the technology needed for global production for each outfit, and “identify and illustrate how the manufacturing process relates to the cost of producing garments.” All tasks should be compiled into a written and visual report format that clearly identifies the historical and cultural context of changing styles, youth driven fashion, manufacturing requirements, pricing, technology, and reasons for fabric choices.

#4: Recurring Career Pathway Connection Writing Assignment

In 400 - 600 word lesson reflection, students will connect the advances in communication and technology of post war era and the advertising and marketing mediums with suggested modern CTE career paths that use multimedia formats (such as art media entertainment, advertising, manufacturing, merchandising). Students should evaluate modern trends in merchandise marketing and other fashion pathways today and predict what the career path may be in the future.

Unit 8 : Modern Era

Students will identify ways in which nations reformed or were created in the Cold War era and Post Cold War eras, some as a result of the fall of the Soviet Union, and others due to revolutions or other factors, and the types of governments that have formed. They will learn of ongoing challenges to regional stability, including the tension between Israel and many of its neighbors over the occupied territories (and lack of recognition of Israel’s nationhood by several nearby nations), the presence of dictators and/or corrupt governments in various parts of the world, the impact of the Aids epidemic on Africa, terrorism and hostility towards America and the West by some radical groups and leaders, instability in Iraq since the US invasion, tensions between Shia and Sunni muslims in the Middle East, the Arab Spring, and the threat of climate change. Students will examine how new technology, including both ease of travel, communication (including the internet), and shipping,  has contributed to an increasingly global world and economy. Students will identify and research an Arab nation that was (and some are still) under a theocracy, where a sectarian government enforced their interpretation of strict moral conduct, including dress codes- particularly for women and compare to a present-day dress code rule and societies cultural response. Students will study the origins, causes and effects of globalization and the inspiration derived to produce fashion designs for communicating cultural, political, economic and social trends to a global audience. Building on these skills, students will apply prior design concepts and be introduced to the inspiration boards purpose and function in order to produce sequential design concepts and an innovative fashion garment incorporating their cumulative design skills and knowledge

#1: New Nations

Wars, territorial disputes, ethnic and cultural conflicts, acts of terrorism, advances in technology, expansion of human rights, and changes in the global economy present new challenges. After studying global shifts in nationhood in the last 70 years, such as the independence of India, Israel, and other former colonies, the fall of the Soviet Union (and resultant new nations), and the Arab Spring, students will select one new government discussed in this unit and create a presentation that addresses the changes that took place in relation to at least two of the themes listed above. Students must connect one or more of the themes chosen with two past units, or connect with at least two prior units in a different way. The presentation can be a written essay (1000 words), oral presentation with photographs, maps, and other images or a multimedia presentation. In all cases, notations and works cited page will be required.

#2:  Arab Spring and Social Change

Students will continue to learn about globalization principles that relate to economic, social, and political challenges. Using their text and other relevant sources, students will understand how the wave of revolts in Muslim countries known as the Arab Spring, that began in Tunisia in 2010, soon spread across North Africa and into the Middle East, resulting in protests against some combination of authoritarian rule, human rights violations, corruption, and poverty. From a teacher provided list, students will choose one country involved in the Arab Spring (even if the revolution was not successful) to research and write a 1200 word expository essay that:

  1. Provides background information on the nation (addressing the type of government that was in place before the revolt, what rights the people had or did not have, etc),
  2. Addresses what issues were being protested,
  3. Describes the moral conduct and dress codes enforced by the government,
  4. Discusses the effects of enforcing such dress codes and societies response,
  5. Details synopsis of the revolt and to what extent it was successful,
  6. Identify and compare to a present-day dress-code rule or challenge, imposed socially, politically, or economically and societies response.
  7. Includes an update on the changes on each of the previous dimensions since the revolt took place.

#3: The Fashion Cycle and Designing Globally

Students will explore the globalization of fashion trends and cycles, the principle of economics and its relevance to modern day fashion. With changes like those inspired by the fall of the Soviet Union and the Arab Spring occurring across the world, more independence in design decisions has occurred in some places. Globalization has expanded with the ease of the internet and social media. Exposure to styles from other countries, trend setters, and mass production has resulted in many people sharing similar styles across the globe. Students will visit a mall, observe and collect data of the shoppers apparel. Students will then visit department stores to collect data of the featured styles and current trends. Students will create a minimum 10 slide PowerPoint and inspiration board. The PowerPoint will include photos showcasing the various trends. Students will identify “Why we Love It”: A description and historical/cultural inspiration for this trend; “New Style Rules”: How should the trend be worn, what parts of the body can/does it best highlight or hide, who this trend is best for? Students will then create an Inspiration Board using a world map and identifying the countries from which the trends originated. This will showcase what inspired the trend, the color palette, prints and/or patterns, fabric, cultural relevance and influential world events.

#4: Paper Dolls and Final Fashion Product

Students will build on their knowledge from Assignment #2 and create and dress 5, two-dimensional paper dolls to illustrate the current designs from above, and the cultural trend and historical relevance it is based upon.  Students will continue to use the elements of design to create and complete an original fashion product for today’s global market. Students utilize their design techniques by incorporating their cumulative design skills and knowledge into their final portfolio.

#5: Recurring Career Pathway Connection Writing Assignment

In 400 - 600 word lesson reflection, students will construct and identify skills needed in the suggested CTE career pathway for fashion design, both past and present.  Students will compile reasonings for the importance of research in fashion design, as well as building a necessary skills list for the fashion design career path.

#6: Final Career Pathway Writing Assignment

Students will research one of the careers they studied in this course as part of the Pathway Connection assignments. In this 1600 word research paper, suggested questions to guide the students research might include:

  • Researching a famous person in their career field.
  • What skills and/or education is required for someone looking to be in this profession? (What is the average cost of obtaining the training/education needed?)
  • What is the average annual salary?
  • What are the working conditions?
  • What are the professional organizations?
  • What are the career prospects for someone in that field now?

#7: Final Timeline Portfolio and Resume

Students in this class will be expected to select their best work and create a portfolio graphically displaying a timeline of world history, emphasizing inventions or developments in the history of fashion, merchandise marketing, and design. The body of selected work will be assembled into a format consistent with industry standards and could be used in conjunction with professional documents for the purpose of gaining employment. The portfolio must exist digitally and will be developed, shared and critiqued by the instructor as evidence of their learning throughout the class.

For the end of the course portfolio assignment, students should place a link/image of their best work from each unit into their Timeline Portfolio. In addition to the Final Portfolio timeline with their best work, the last link should be a personal resume that is suitable for printing that includes references.

Course Materials

Primary Texts:

Title: District approved World History textbook
Usage: Read in entirety or near entirety

Supplemental Instructional Materials:

Title: Fashion: from concept to consumer, 9th Edition,
Publication Date: 2007, Publisher: Pearson/Prentice Hall
Author(s): Gini Stephens Frings
Primary Text, Read in entirety or near entirety

Title: Survey of Historic Costume, Edition: 5th
Publication Date: 2009, Publisher: Fairchild Books
Author(s): Phyllis G. Tortora, Keith Eubank
Primary Text, Read in entirety or near entirety

URL Resource: Fashion: Past or Present
Usage: General Resource for Entire Course

URL Resource: The King of Couture: How Louis XIV invented fashion as we know it
Usage: General Resource for Entire Course

URL Resource: A Chronological Look Through Fashion HistoryUsage: General Resource For Entire Course

URL Resource on Turkish Culture and Textile ArtsUsage: Unit 1 / Assignment #2

URL Resource: Clothing in the Safavid and Qajar periods
Usage: Unit 1 / Assignment #2

URL Resource: Costume of the Mughal Period
Usage: Unit 1 / Assignment #2

URL Resource: History of European Fashion
Usage: Unit 1 / Assignment #3, Unit 2/Assignment #3, General Resource for Entire Course

URL Resource: Leaflet: 18th C. Back in Fashion
Usage: Unit 2 / Assignment #2

URL Resource: The factory system and how it lead to industrialization
Usage: Unit 3 / Assignment#1

URL Resource: How to make a fashion look book
Usage: Unit 4 / Assignment #1

URL Resource: Website detailing how different products are made
Usage: Unit 4 / Assignment #2

URL Resource: Sewing patterns
Usage: Unit 4 / Assignment #3

URL Resource: A history of the department store
Usage: Unit 4 / Assignment #4

URL Resource: WW I Women's Fashion
Usage: Unit 5 / Assignment #1

URL Resource: Process of Fashion Forecasting
Usage: Unit 5 / Assignment #2

URL Resource: Article: Hitler was ordered to trim his moustache
Usage: Unit 6 / Assignment #1

URL Resource:
Usage: Unit 6/ Assignment #
URL Resource: How to Draw Fashion Sketches
Usage: Unit 6/ Assignment #2

URL Resource: Slides on Costume Design
Usage: Unit 6/ Assignment #3

URL Resource: Fashion History of the 1940's 
Usage: Unit 6/ Assignment #3

URL Resource: 1940's, the Cold War and Consumerism
Usage: Unit 7/ Assignment #2

URL Resource: Video on Basic Draping
Usage: Unit 7/ Assignment #3

URL Resource: Tips fo Draping on a Dress Form
Usage: Unit 7/ Assignment #3

URL Resource: Video: The Inspiration Where Fashion Design Begins
Usage: Unit 8/ Assignment #2

URL Resource: Recreating Iconic Fashion Looks with Paper Cutouts
Usage: Unit 8/ Assignment #2

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