Understanding Fashion: From Business to Culture

165,518 enrolled on this course

Discover the business of fashion and understand the cultural impact of the fashion industry with Institut Français de la Mode.

Understanding Fashion- From Business to Culture


4 weeks

Weekly study

3 hours



Take a deep dive into the fashion world with unique insights from Chanel & YSL

Curious about how the fashion industry has transformed and shaped Western culture over the last 150 years?

This 4-week course delves into the fashion world and investigates fashion as both a cultural phenomenon and a creative industry.

You will explore the interaction between fashion, society and business with top fashion designers and professors from Institut Français de la Mode.

Explore the emergence of fashion trends

Where does fashion actually come from? You will start the course by answering this question and learning about modern fashion and its contemporary relevance.

Explore the rise of the fashion industry during the industrial revolution and evaluate how brands incorporate modernity into their designs. The course features case studies from luxury fashion brands such as Gucci, Paul Smith, Jacquemus …

Investigate the role of fashion designers and brands

You will reflect on the relationship between fashion and politics, and ask whether fashion designers and brands have the power to be social actors.

You will also explore fashion codes and the language of fashion, considering whether fashion brands are indeed creative languages.

Understand consumption in the fashion industry

In your final week, you will investigate fashion consumption and develop an understanding of how fashion functions as a social marker and identity construct. You will evaluate what it takes to create and develop a fashion collection, and you look at the intersections between trends, seasonality and innovation.

Understanding Fashion: From Business to Culture

4.8 (403 reviews)

165,518 enrolled on this course

4 weeks

3 hours per week

Digital certificate when eligible

Introductory level

FutureLearn Programmes


Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to…

Who is the course for?

Whether you are passionate about fashion and interested in making a career in this field, or are a marketing student intrigued by consumer culture or indeed an experienced fashion professional looking to deepen your knowledge, this course is designed for you. Anyone looking to deepen and specialise their knowledge of the fashion industry will benefit greatly from the leanings on this course.

This course will also be relevant to fashion entrepreneurs who need a holistic view of the industry’s key success factors.

This course is supported by DEFI.

Who will you learn with?

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?

Institut Français de la Mode (IFM)

Institut Français de la Mode is a higher education institution, a training center for apprentices, a provider of executive education, as well as a center of expertise for the textiles, fashion and luxury industries. Located in Paris, it provides educational programs from vocational training to doctoral level, by cross-fertilizing design, management and know-how.

As of 2019, Institut Français de la Mode brings together Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, founded in 1927 and recognized for the excellence of its training in couture savoir-faire, and IFM, founded in 1986 and a pioneer in fashion management education.

Institut Français de la Mode now offers:

  • Higher education training programs in fashion design (among which two new degree programs, a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts), in fashion management and in savoir-faire
  •  A training center for apprentices
  •  Short, certificate or custom-designed continuing education programs for companies and institutions
  • Summer School programs
  •  Academic research activities which produce publications in the field of economics as well as social and human sciences applied to fashion and design
  •  An Economic Observatory which provides steering tools and studies for professionals, and a daily analysis of fashion consumption and distribution
  •  One of the most complete specialized libraries in France

Institut Français de la Mode is a member of HESAM Université, of the Conférence des grandes écoles and of the International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes (IFFTI). It is supported by the French Ministry of Economy. It is recognized by the French Ministry of Higher Education.

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