On The Bias: Fashion’s Obsession With The West

Online course

+44 (0)20 7942 2000

On this fashion history course explore the causes and consequences of Fashion’s ‘western’-centrism through a thematic journey that dives into the persistence of nineteenth century ideas that influence what we wear and how we dress today.

Learn from our world-class experts wherever you are, whenever suits you: watch lectures live or view the recording later in your own time. You can experience the full breadth and depth of the V&A's collections with 12 hours of study over 6 weeks. Learn at your own pace: lecture recordings and study materials, lecture notes, copies of the presentations, and additional study materials are available in our secure Microsoft Teams environment for 6 weeks after the course ends, so you'll never miss a thing. And finally, join the conversation: share your perspective with your fellow students, and support each other in your further enquiries outside of class time.

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course photo
Portrait of Short Course Leader Benjamin Wild

Short Course Leader
Benjamin Wild

Benjamin Wild is Senior Lecturer in Fashion Narratives within Manchester Fashion Institute, Manchester Metropolitan University. A cultural historian, his work is underpinned by a belief that history is a dynamic agent within people’s lives, informing their values and behaviours. The course is linked to his new publication due to come out early 2024

I love the fact you can participate from home. The presentation, speakers and subject matter are always fascinating and excellent. I have already booked onto my next V&A course online. Previous online course attendee

Course overview

Fashion is the world’s fourth largest industry but it continues to reflect ‘western’ ideas that crystallized in the crucible of empire during the nineteenth century. On this history of fashion course, explore how the influence of ‘western’ thought is evident at every stage of the Fashion system, from the conception of garments, to their creation and consumption.
Through the exploration of the origins and implications of social constructs that frame today’s Fashion industry, including age, faith, gender, race and sexuality, and drawing upon on the rich and varied collections of the V&A, this course will provide a critical understanding of the causes and consequences of Fashion’s ‘western’-centrism. To know how the industry developed into its current form is important if the increased efforts to make Fashion more accountable, diverse, inclusive, and enjoyable, following the Covid-19 pandemic are to be effective.


V&A Academy Online. A learning environment you can trust.

V&A Academy Online courses are built using the latest Microsoft software. Tune in to expert lectures live, or catch up later on demand. Download handouts and presentations. Join the discussion in a secure, closed class environment, wherever you are.

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Online course: On The Bias: Fashion’s Obsession With The West

16 April 2024 - 21 May 2024


Call to book +44 (0)20 7942 2000

Need help enrolling? Talk to the admissions team:

+44 (0)20 7942 2000

Open 10.00 - 13.00, Monday to Sunday (closed 24-26 December)

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