« Fashion Theories and Practice » Doctoral Studies Program

IFM and Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University have jointly devised a doctoral program entirely dedicated to fashion and luxury. This unique program entitled « Fashion Theories and Practice » offers a truly multidisciplinary approach (management, history, art history, law, design, aesthetics and art science) applied to the fashion and luxury sector.

Heir to both the Sorbonne and the Panthéon Law Faculty, Paris 1 University is one of the leading universities in the field of human and social sciences as well as law and economics.

Ranked 3rd best fashion school worldwide by The Business of Fashion, IFM is a higher education institution whose research activities focus on the one hand on marketing and insights from social sciences in the areas of luxury, fashion and design, and on the other hand on the analysis of changes in the fields of production, consumption, distribution, international exchanges and lifestyle (fashion, textiles, design, luxury, perfume, cosmetics, food...).

The position of Paris as the world's fashion and haute couture capital has now found a unique academic extension with the creation of this doctoral studies program, offered jointly by two internationally renowned institutions, offering high-level education to all students wishing to prepare a thesis dedicated to fashion or luxury.


Each doctoral student, enrolled in one of the doctoral Schools at Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (management, history, art history, law, design, aesthetics and art science) will follow specific and multidisciplinary training amounting to a total of 192 hours spread over the entire curriculum.

Comprising study days or weekly seminars held either at IFM or at Paris 1, this course will cover the following topics:

  • Fashion sociology, philosophy and anthropology

This seminar will focus its attention on authors, classic and contemporary, for their contribution to the emergence of a specific academic field dedicated to fashion and luxury. The aim will be to examine influent classic texts, such as Adam Smith, Rousseau, Hume or Mandeville, and the corpus of social science texts, such as Durkheim, Tarde and Veblen, who made sense of fashion phenomena beyond clothing, through the prism of social differentiation or Bourdieu's « distinction ». To what extent is this scientific horizon problematically « impassable »?

  • Fashion management and economics

This seminar will take a broad approach to the theoretical and practical challenges facing fashion and luxury through social sciences and management sciences alike. It will deal with the challenges in the fashion and luxury industries' economic history (strategy, professional organization, business models); marketing (brand and supply management, customer experience in physical and on line sales points, customer relationships, distribution and internationalization models); consumption sociology; dimensions linked to the value chain, to the supply chain and to information systems; human resources; management control and finance.

  • Historiography and methodology of fashion history

The aim of this seminar is to present the historical scope of fashion, its research topics, its practical and theoretical horizons. The twelve sessions relate to two areas: the first will question the study of fashion and the creation of a narrative of its history via the sources available to the historian (images, texts and objects); the second will chart a fashion historiography via the different disciplinary milestones that have shaped the fashion studies landscape to this day. This seminar's various objectives are to offer up-to-date tools for analysis of the history of theoretical and practical thought on fashion and luxury, the sources from which this fashion history stems and an approach to fashion that cannot be at the expense of reflecting on the body, its appearances, its gestures and its personal care.

  • Legal approach and sustainable development

This seminar will be based on two separate components. The first will aim to outline intellectual property rights as a whole that might be of interest to activities related to fashion (trademark rights, patents, designs and models); the challenges in protecting them; their valuation. The second will concern the various legal, environmental and social aspects of sustainable development linked to the activities of the textiles and fashion industry's sector through corporate social responsibility policy and the tools necessary for its implementation.

  • Creation, arts, fashion aesthetics: innovative processes

This seminar will approach fashion from the perspective of contemporary creation, emerging arts and hybrid cultures, and will look into the following topics: Inventing stage costumes, Filming what is private: the pyjama in cinema, Street culture and street fashion, Analysis of fashion's queer practice, Fashion and digital, Fashions from elsewhere, What is in, what is out? Other study topics will also be offered such as: Staging and shows, What is an accessory?, Haute couture and rock/punk culture, Contemporary fashion and art.



Applying for a PhD is no light matter. On an intellectual level, it requires understanding and knowledge of what one wishes to demonstrate, and on a personal level, long term determination.

The following requirements apply to Paris 1 doctoral schools:

  • writing a 3-page research proposal on a unique and innovative topic, including significance of the research, resolution hypotheses, a discussion of the overall approach, methodological choices, literature framework, authors or textual documents, observation and analytical terrain;
  • producing a brief bibliography-webography;
  • establishing an estimated 3-year research timeline;
  • producing proof of a Master's degree (M2) or equivalent, with GPA, especially for the dissertation, and with at least Upper Second honours;
  • if possible, sharing significant previous research work (Master's dissertation, academic article, etc)
The applicant is responsible for choosing his PhD supervisor within Paris 1 doctoral schools. He may approach a qualified professor or lecturer, who remains free to accept or refuse the applicant's request.

Once they have agreed on the research topic, its scope, feasibility and timeline, the PhD supervisor and the applicant mutually commit to bringing the thesis to its conclusion by signing an academic contract and a PhD charter. They engage in a human relationship, full of mutual understanding and scientific rigor.

Completing a PhD requires full intellectual and moral commitment which has an impact on the applicant's personal life and professional prospects for at least three years. Before applying, applicants are advised to thoroughly evaluate the feasibility of the project, the time will be able to commit to it, and the human and professional benefits they expect to gain from it.




Applications are now closed for academic year 2017/2018.

1. To apply for academic year 2018/2019, contact the IFM team in charge of the doctoral studies program, who will guide you through the process.
Contact: Olivier Assouly, Head of Research at IFM, or David Zajtmann, Professor at IFM, +33 (0)1 70 38 89 89,

2. Contact the Director of the doctoral school in your discipline, who will orient you to a professor qualified in directing a thesis, and send him the documents listed in the requirements section.

3. Following the professor's approval, fill in your application form on the university's website.

On average, you can expect to allow for a two-month period in order to validate all the steps necessary for preparing the application.



Olivier Assouly, Head of Research, Institut Français de la Mode
David Zajtmann, Professor, Institut Français de la Mode
+33 (0)1 70 38 89 89

36, Quai d'Austerlitz - 75013 Paris - France — T. +33 (0)1 70 38 89 89 — F. + 33 (0)1 70 38 89 00 — — Plan d'accès
  — Régles de confidentialité

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