Lesson Plans

The Berg Fashion Library is perfect for use in teaching. The following have been prepared to help lecturers and teachers plan their lessons more effectively, using material from the Berg Fashion Library.

Lesson plans are provided free of charge, but to access the articles and images therein, your institution will need to subscribe to the Berg Fashion Library. For more details click here.

More lesson plans will be uploaded in future. If you would like to share a lesson plan please contact Fashion Editor Anna Wright. 


Diversification in Fashion Markets, Street Styles and Cultural Change

Dress and Teens: A Brief Study of Influences

The Study of Dress and Fashion

Fashion and National Identity: An Intercultural Overview

Costume and Costuming: A Brief View

Gender and the Fashion Media

The Cultural Elements of Men's Fashion and Style: Race, Ethnicity, Sex, and Class

Fashion and Gender

The History of the Paper Pattern Industry

Dress and the Arts

Dress, Culture, and Society

Victorian Fashion

Nineteenth-Century Western Silhouettes and Color


Diversification in Fashion Markets, Street Styles and Cultural Change

This course provides students with an introduction to multidisciplinary and popular cultural influences (race, ethnicity, gender, sex, religion) on fashion and style. It also introduces students to the ways in which individual characteristics have shifted the meanings and notions of what we call fashion and style. Through various readings related to fashion, style, identity, race, ethnicity, gender, sex and religion, this course will serve as an educational guide on cultural, social, and unique consumer markets. This lesson plan has been designed to conceptually expose students to various types of popular groups and unique individuals. The readings are a starting point and are not intended to be comprehensive; students should build upon these readings as the class progresses. Take me to the lesson plan.

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Dress and Teens: A Brief Study of Influences

The study of this area of fashion is rich in fascinating content and serves as an excellent introduction into the investigation and development of subcultures. The readings for each individual lesson will encourage students to question influences on teen style that they may not previously have considered, such as specific aspects cultural and social change. The assigned class readings serve as an excellent foundation for the study of fashion; in addition, the enrichment materials listed help students to put this topic into context. Take me to the lesson plan.

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The Study of Dress and Fashion

This unit focuses on the similarities and differences among dress, costume, and fashion, how different scholars view these three words and how the ideas involved in them are used in the Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion and the Berg Fashion Library. In addition, other words are related, such as ethnic and national dress and world fashion. This learning module begins with articles providing definitions and concepts followed by other articles that connect to these ideas. Take me to the lesson plan.

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Fashion and National Identity: An Intercultural Overview

This unit explores the connections between politics, country status and social power and their influence on fashion. Specifically, the set text for each lesson describes the differences in style that have been noted in countries that have made the significant move from colonization or socialism, for example. Take me to the lesson plan.

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Costume and Costuming: A Brief View

This unit focuses on “costume” as a word that means what is worn to act in theater, film, or dance productions or to dress for special events such as Halloween, Mardi Gras, other masquerades, and fancy dress parties. In each of these situations, the costumed individuals project the identity of fictional or fantasy characters. In addition, a costume designer has a specialized profession related to the art and design of costuming. Take me to the lesson plan. 

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Gender and the Fashion Media

This unit explores the way gender is constructed in the fashion media. Drawing principally from cultural studies approaches, the unit provides an overview of the following key issues: representation, gender ideology, the gaze, production, and consumption. In particular, it considers how visual representations relate to the fashioning of gender identities, as well as the way the fashion media can work to both. Take me to the lesson plan.

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The Cultural Elements of Men's Fashion and Style: Race, Ethnicity, Sex, and Class

This short lesson plan explores the new changes in menswear, style, and fashion. The purpose of it is to expose students to a diverse array of men, their fashion styles and choices. Instructors and students should not consider this as an exhaustive list of men’s fashion, but a beginning, and build upon the readings and references. Take me to the lesson plan.

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Fashion and Gender

This unit explores the role played by fashion in the construction of gendered identities. It introduces different theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of gender through a range of fashion-related case studies—both historical and contemporary. The intersectional nature of the subject is highlighted throughout, with students encouraged to think about how gender is constructed in and through other aspects of identity such as ethnicity, religion, nationality, social class, sexuality, and age. A key theme, which recurs throughout the unit, is the ways in which fashion can be used to both affirm and subvert stereotypes of masculinity and femininity. Take me to the lesson plan.

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The History of the Paper Pattern Industry

This unit examines the growth, adaptation, and significance of the commercial paper pattern industry. In order to create the tailored and styled designs of Western clothing, fabric needed to be specifically cut to fit the shape of the body. Guides were created and the paper pattern evolved. By realizing the importance of the commercial pattern and the companies that produced and marketed them in illustrated envelopes together with instructions, it is possible to analyze an aspect of European and American popular culture and social history from the late nineteenth century through to the present day. Furthermore, surviving patterns provide a detailed and unique record of construction techniques and everyday styles, which also reveal the development and influence of new fabrics. Take me to the lesson plan.

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Dress and the Arts

The purpose of this unit is to examine deeply the relationship between dress and art. In Module 1, we explore how dress is integral to creating an aesthetic response in the viewer or reader. In Module 2, we focus on how dress is used in the arts to communicate character and to amplify the body’s performance to entertain and amaze. The symbiosis between dress and the visual arts is addressed in Module 3. Finally, we probe fashionable dress as an art form in Module 4. Taken together, the themes of art, identity, performance, and fashion create a pattern of expression of the human condition. Take me to the lesson plan.

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Dress, Culture, and Society

Humans engage in the act of dressing every day, with a wide range of supplements and modifications to the body. Dress is an assemblage of those supplements and modifications, and it is also an act or a behavior. How we dress and with what communicates a world of information about the individual—in relationship to others and in society at large. In this unit, we examine dress as it relates to culture and society to understand the meaning of dress in different places and over time. Take me to the lesson plan.

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Victorian Fashion

When the eighteen-year-old Victoria ascended the throne in 1837, the penny post was not yet widespread in England, the passenger railroad boom had not yet begun, and homes were lit with candles or oil lamps. By the time of her death in 1901, London residents could place telephone calls to Paris, automobiles were an increasingly common sight, and Buckingham Palace was fitted with electric lighting. In the same period, the high-waisted, full-skirted silhouette of the 1830s evolved through countless variations before arriving at the long-waisted, S-curve dress of the 1900s with its lithe, columnar skirt. The massive social, technological, and industrial changes that defined nineteenth-century England under Queen Victoria were reflected in the century’s changing fashions. This unit explores those changing fashions alongside the sociocultural context that both shaped sartorial trends and were shaped by them. Take me to the lesson plan.

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Nineteenth-Century Western Silhouettes and Color

This semester-long course provides students with an introduction to the key silhouettes and style changes that made up fashionable European and American clothing during the nineteenth century. This will be achieved through the use of selected images and texts, combining to create an overview of the significant cultural and political events and attitudes that contributed to the changing shape of suits, dresses, skirts, blouses, and accessories. The aim is for students to learn to recognize these changes and talk with some authority around the reasons for style inceptions, quoting key influences and learning where to source further primary and secondary information.

It will also provide a guide for undertaking extended “detective work” and strategies resulting in an ability to “read” a historical garment. It is vital for students of both historical and contemporary fashion, and those exploring broader aspects of cultural studies, to be able to identify an era through clothing and to provide a reliable context. From this, students can branch out to explore related historical and contemporary perspectives on ideas surrounding art, design, sociology, politics, and economics. At the very least, the course will encourage an ability to pinpoint an era though key fashionable traits shown in images and described through text. Take me to the lesson plan.

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