TMFD assistant professor, grad student present at United Nations event
06 Apr 2021
Claire Nicholas, assistant professor in the Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design in the College of Education and Human Sciences, recently presented at the NGO CSW 65, a civil society accompaniment to the annual meeting of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Nicholas was joined by graduate student Venn Jemkur.
The virtual presentation, delivered on March 20, was entitled “Fashion Forward: A Roadmap for Gender Equality, Empowerment of Women and Fashion Identity.” Nicholas discussed the importance of fashion education and female fashion leadership, how local fashion economies can support cultural heritage development, and how the fashion curriculum in TMFD embodies these values.
“What makes our program somewhat unique is our in-depth curriculum in the historical, social psychological, and cultural aspects of diverse dress and textile traditions around the world, and of minority communities in the United States,” Nicholas said. “We want our students to appreciate and be stewards of these traditions, and to be sensitive to issues like cultural appropriation in the industry, which has received increased attention in recent years but is a long-standing issue.”
Following Nicolas’ remarks, Jemkur, an apparel design master’s student with a minor in women and gender studies, shared her own views on the role of fashion in cultural heritage and socio-economic development. A native of Nigeria, Jemkur’s research examines the marginalization of large female bodies by the fashion industry and works to promote female empowerment.
“Fashion education is part of a broader goal of developing local fashion industries that support women’s leadership, economic autonomy and prosperity. This in turn supports the same for their communities,” Jemkur said. Learn more
The NGO CSW Forum runs parallel to the annual meeting of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. The Forum is a 2-week series of events and meetings for civil organizations, non-governmental organizations, foundations and other groups who work in the space of gender empowerment, women’s rights and related topics. Over the two weeks of the UN CSW, NGO CSW/NY organizes more than 500 events that inform, engage and inspire grassroots efforts and advocacy needed to empower women and girls.
Nicholas credited CEHS alum and longtime supporter of the college, Natalie Hahn, with making the connection that led to this presentation being included in NGO CSW 65 Forum. Hahn spent her career improving the lives of children and empowering women in developing countries through her work with UNICEF. She founded the Malaika Foundation in 1997, a nonprofit organization that offers Nebraska primary and secondary teachers global educational resources and travel opportunities.
“This is a great example of how our passionate alumni continue to extend opportunities and find ways to showcase the great work CEHS is doing,” Nicholas said. “I’m very thankful to Natalie for her ongoing support.”
College of Education and Human Sciences
Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design