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Rachel Lifter

Clinical Assistant Professor and Program Director

Art and Art Professions

Rachel Lifter joins the MA Costume Studies program in fall 2020 as Clinical Assistant Professor and Program Director. She received her Ph.D. in Fashion/Social and Cultural Studies from the University of the Arts London, her MSc in Sociology from the London School of Economics, and her BA in German Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Lifter is an expert in the social and cultural analysis of fashion, with a specific focus on popular fashion cultures. She is the author of Fashioning Indie: Popular Fashion, Music, and Gender (Bloomsbury 2019), which charts the gendered and racialized transformation of indie from British music subculture to international fashion phenomenon. Her writing also appears in Communicating Fashion Brands (Routledge 2020), Fashion Stylists (Bloomsbury 2020), Fashioning Professionals (Bloomsbury 2018), Fashion Cultures Revisited (Routledge 2013) and the exhibition catalogue for “Clash –Resistance in Fashion” (Herning Museum of Contemporary Art, 2014).

Her current projects focus on the global second-hand clothing industry, the USPS letter carrier uniform, and the impact of the AIDS epidemic on New York’s fashion industry. Previously, Dr. Lifter held faculty positions at Parsons School of Design (2013-2020) and London College of Fashion (2008-2013). She was theReviews and Open Space editor of the International Journal of Fashion Studies from 2014-2017.

Selected Publications


2019    Rachel Lifter, Fashioning Indie: Popular Fashion, Music and Gender. London and New York: Bloomsbury.

Book Chapters

2020    “Styling ‘90s Hip-Hop, Fashioning Black Futures”. In A. Lynge-Jorlén (ed) Fashion Stylists: History, Meaning and Practice. London and New York: Bloomsbury, forthcoming.

2020    “Communicating Brand Identity, Creating Fashionable Identities”. In E. Huggard and J. Cope (eds) Communicating Fashion Brands: Theoretical and Practical Perspectives. London: Routledge, forthcoming.

2018    “Fashioning pop: Stylists, fashion work and popular music imagery”. In F. McDowell and L. Armstrong (eds) Fashioning Professionals: Self Identity and Representation at Work. London: Bloomsbury.

2013    “Fashioning ‘indie’: The consecration of a subculture and the emergence of ‘stylish’ femininities”. In S. Bruzzi and P. Church Gibson (eds) Fashion Cultures: Theories, Exploration and Analysis. 2nd Edition. London: Routledge.

Exhibition Catalogue Articles

2014    “Resistance: Why does it still matter?”. Catalogue article accompanying the forthcoming “Clash – Counterculture in Fashion” exhibition at The Herning Museum of Contemporary Art in Denmark.

Book Reviews

2016    A. Rocamora and A. Smelik (eds) Thinking Through Fashion: A Guide to Key Theorists. In Fashion Theory, published online.

2013    G. Riello and P. McNeil (eds) The Fashion History Reader: Global Perspectives. In Textile History. 44 (2): pp. 270-272.

Other Writing

2017    “A Feminist Moment: Mariah Carey”. In n0thing, edition 1, January.

2014    “Beyoncé: The Visual Album”. In International Journal of Fashion Studies 1 (2): pp. 271-273.


Costume Studies

The MA in Costume Studies program focuses on fashion as an important cultural product in the context of material culture and the fine and decorative arts.

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