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Emma McClendon

Visiting Assistant Professor


Emma McClendon is a fashion historian, curator, and author based in New York City. While Associate Curator of Costume at The Museum at FIT from 2011-2020, McClendon curated numerous critically acclaimed exhibitions including Power Mode: The Force of Fashion (2019), The Body: Fashion and Physique (2017) and Denim: Fashion’s Frontier (2015). Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Economist, CNN, Vogue, WWD, The Financial Times, and The Wall Street Journal among others.

McClendon holds an MA Hons. in Art History from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and an MA in the History of Dress from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. She is currently completing her PhD at the Bard Graduate Center for decorative arts, design history, and material culture in New York City. Her research focuses on the power dynamics inherent in clothing with a particular interest in body politics, labor, technology, and standardized sizing.

Recent publications include Power Mode: The Force of Fashion (Skira, 2019), Denim: Fashion’s Frontier (Yale University Press, 2016), Yves Saint Laurent + Halston: Fashioning the 70s (Yale University Press, 2015), and chapters “Don’t Eat That: Food, Fashion, Dieting, and Disorder” in Food and Fashion (Bloomsbury, Forthcoming 2022), and “Fashion and Physique: Size, Shape, and Body Politics in the Display of Historical Dress” in Nearly Human: Mannequins in Museums (Routledge, 2021).