Online course in Creative Arts & Media

Understanding Fashion: From Business to Culture

Explore the two inseparable aspects of fashion: commerce and culture.

  • Duration 4 weeks
  • Weekly study 3 hours
  • Learn Free
  • Extra benefits From $54 Find out more

Why join the course?

For almost 150 years, fashion has been a deep cultural mechanism, that has transformed almost every part of Western culture. Join the course to get acquainted to the inseparable commercial and cultural sides of fashion.

Whether you are a marketing student, a young or experienced professional willing to refresh or enlarge your knowledge in fashion, this course will offer you a dual approach to fashion, both as a cultural phenomenon and as a creative industry.

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What topics will you cover?

Under the supervision of Benjamin Simmenauer, with exclusive input from designers as Simon Porte Jacquemus, Christelle Kocher, Paul Smith, and CEOs of Chanel, LVMH Fashion Group, Yves Saint Laurent and Hermès, this MOOC will give you a transdisciplinary approach to the phenomena of contemporary fashion.

The course is structured into 4 chapters:

  1. Fashion and modernity: contemporary relevance, ‘Zeitgeist, and the desirability of the new.

  2. Fashion and society: the concept of trends, social distinction and selection, culture and subcultures.

  3. Fashion as a language: decoding silhouettes, the genre of fashion literature and fashion press.

  4. Fashion and consumption: fashion and gender, the emergence of ‘lifestyle’, fetishism.

This course is supported by DEFI.

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Develop transdisciplinary knowledge and expertise aimed at understanding the logics of the contemporary fashion field
  • Identify the creative models of the different fashion houses and their conception of time
  • Explore the trends diffusion models
  • Interpret a fashion silhouette
  • Explain the construction of consumer behaviour

Who is the course for?

The aim of this class is to introduce students to the inseparable commercial and cultural sides of fashion. It is intended for:

  • Marketing students or young professionals who want to specialise in fashion.

  • Experienced fashion professionals who want to refresh or enlarge their knowledge of the field.

  • Present or future fashion entrepreneurs who need a comprehensive view on the industry’s key success factors.

Who will you learn with?

Benjamin Simmenauer

Benjamin Simmenauer

I am a permanent professor at Institut Français de la Mode, where I teach fashion theory and fashion brands strategy. My background is in analytic philosophy and social sciences.

Who developed the course?

IFM (Institut Français de la Mode) is a higher education institution specialising in the textile, fashion, luxury and design industries, based in Paris, France.

Join this course

Start this course for free, upgrade for extra benefits, or buy Unlimited to access this course and hundreds of other short courses for a year.


Join free and you will get:

  • Access to this course for 6 weeks


Upgrade this course and you will get:

  • Access to this course for as long as it’s on FutureLearn
  • A print and digital Certificate of Achievement once you’re eligible

Unlimited (New!)
$239 $179 for one year

Buy Unlimited and you will get:

  • Access to this course, and hundreds of other FutureLearn short courses and tests for a year
  • A printable digital Certificate of Achievement on all short courses once you’re eligible
  • The freedom to keep access to any course you've achieved a digital Certificate of Achievement on, for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn
  • The flexibility to complete your choice of short courses in your own time within the year
Find out more about upgrades or Unlimited.
Available until 31 October 2019. T&Cs apply.