Popular couture brands as UC Berkeley majors

Illustration of three models wearing different couture looks inspired from international cultures and California
Lucy Yang/File

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While high fashion may seem far removed from the everyday student attire, its fascinating history and notable styles have left a lasting impression. Couture fashion, or haute couture, is high-end clothing that is typically handmade with the highest quality materials. But what if these fashion couture houses were to attend Berkeley? Here’s our take on what the most notorious couture houses would major in at UC Berkeley.

Gucci 

Founded on making quality leather handbags designed for luxury travel, the house of Gucci continues to expand and innovate its fashion lines despite a history of economic setbacks.  For this reason, Gucci would take its academic aspirations into the field of political economy. Gucci developed an interest in European embargos and economic recessions after an embargo in 1930s Italy led to a leather shortage. It quickly bounced back by importing woven hemp instead and creating the iconic interconnecting brown diamonds on the tan canvas it has come to be known for. Gucci’s resourcefulness from leather shortages inspired it to further understand consumer demands against economic changes. While Gucci has chosen to specialize in the political economy of Europe, it’ll find a way to take additional courses about the Asia region for fun. The iconic Japanese-inspired bamboo handle bag created during World War II leather and cloth shortages is a telling example of its interest in international affairs.

Dior 

Dior’s emphasis on an older style of luxury influences the brand’s interest in history. Christian Dior’s long hems on gowns and voluminous shape contrasted wartime rationing, returning to the 19th-century era of opulent female clothing while maintaining the modern sleekness when worn on the figure. This transition to a modern look while incorporating older fashion styles represents how it would carefully analyze historical events with a progressive modern view.

Chanel

Chanel’s historical practice of mixing masculine designs into its fashion line shows its aptitude for the gender and women’s studies major. Chanel is known for challenging the exclusivity of male clothing materials and cuts. The brand’s academic interest would mainly explore gender roles and the intersectionality of feminism. Coco Chanel is Chanel’s inspiration for declaring the major. Who can deny Coco’s feminist take on clothing post World War I, feminizing traditionally male outfits such as jersey sportswear and the infamous tweed suits? Find Chanel engaging in a fashion charity show with proceeds going to advancing international women’s rights and equality.

Yves Saint Laurent

Hailed as the revolutionary couture house, YSL finds its place as an EECS major hoping to create innovative technology redefining society. YSL revolutionized the approach to fashion by creating androgynous designs with bold contrasting cuts, so it would appreciate the innovative spirit of the EECS major. The infamous Mondrian dress characterized by a boxy silhouette with contrasting solid colors like mosaic tails is straightforward yet synonymous with the founder Yves Saint Laurent himself. YSL desires to do the same, to create technological innovations that become synonymous with its name, similar to how Tesla is synonymous with Elon Musk. 

Not only do these houses pioneer the fashion scene, but they can also be excellent UC Berkeley students in their respective fields. Would you catch any of these iconic couture houses in one of your classes?

Contact Emily Lui at [email protected].