Led by renowned denim design and VCUarts alumnus and Affiliate Professor Donwan Harrell, with Associate Professor Henry Swartz, Jeanology is a unique opportunity for fashion design and merchandising students to delve into the intricacies of developing, designing, manufacturing and properly positioning denim in the marketplace.


Jeanology is a three-part, experiential learning certificate program that can earn participants nine academic credits and a Certificate of Completion in Denim Product Development.

Part 1: Richmond

June 6 – 17, 2016
History of Denim

Jeanology begins with the history of Indigo and the early denim jean pioneers. You’ll learn about fiber, denim weaving patterns and wash methods, using samples from Donwan Harrell’s vintage material library. Then, you’ll learn how to compile “tech packs” to industry standards. Students will be tested on the material covered. You MUST take this portion of the program in order to take Part 2 and Part 3 of Jeanology.


Applications are available in the Department of Fashion Design & Merchandising. Apply by April 30, 2016. For costs and other information, contact Henry Swartz at hcswartz@vcu.edu.

Part 2: New York

June 19 – 24, 2016
PRPS Studio

Jeanology continues with a week in New York City at the PRPS offices. Here, you’ll witness firsthand the operations of a successful denim company. You’ll interact with the sales, production and design departments, learning how to “speak” denim and how to prepare a portfolio worthy of high-end denim brands. Then, you’ll investigate the denim market and learn how to forecast trends. Students will be graded on their presentations.

Part 3: Portugal

June 6 – 17, 2016
History of Denim

Jeanology concludes with a trip to Portugal, where you’ll experience all aspects of the denim factory – machinery, methods, chemicals and applications. You’ll be given a raw denim jean – and access to all the industrial machines – to creatively produce your own desired product. You’ll be graded on your finished product.

Summer 2016