Deirdre Clemente

Associate Director, Public History program
Expertise: 20th century American Culture, Fashion and clothing, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Museum studies


Deirdre Clemente is a historian and curator of 20th century American culture, specializing in fashion and clothing. She is an expert in the use of fashion in the work of F. Scott Fitzgerald and served as a historical consultant for costume in Baz Luhrmann's film, The Great Gatsby.

Clemente is the associate director of the UNLV public history program. She holds a master of arts degree in Museum Studies from the Fashion Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in history from Carnegie Mellon. Her research on the intersection of clothing and social change has been published in the Journal of Social History, New England Quarterly, Journal of American Culture, and others. Her book Dress Casual: How College Kids Redefined American Style was published in spring 2014 from UNC Press. The book explores how and why collegians pioneered the adoption of casual dress – one of the most pervasive cultural shifts of the 20th century. Clemente is currently working on her second book titled, Chic Streets: Urban Development, Shopping, and the American Fashion Industry which considers the evolution of New York's Fifth Avenue, Beverly Hills' Rodeo Drive and Miami Beach's Lincoln road as places where American clothing was made and marketed.

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Deirdre Clemente In The News

May 19, 2021
Fashion is, has been and will be a reflection of everything that happens around us. And if we stop to think about the reality we are living right now —or what is coming in the near future— the word that best defines the situation is very clear: chaos.
May 18, 2021
In recent weeks, as the New York City weather has warmed and my second vaccine jab has clocked in at full, immunized capacity, I've started to go "out." By "out," I mean to an indoor meal at an actual restaurant or to a museum that now requires advance reservations. No matter where I've gone and no matter what I've worn for the occasion, though, I've been objectively, decidedly underdressed.
May 13, 2021
I might be relatively new to fashion reporting, but with almost three decades of life under my belt, I'm old enough to know that, like plot lines in literature, there is rarely any fashion trend that hasn't been done before.
April 19, 2021
While old habits and old systems are hard to break when it comes to a more-sustainable fashion industry, changing technologies and mindsets are paving a new path.

Articles Featuring Deirdre Clemente

Campus News | June 8, 2021
A collection of news stories highlighting celebration, health, and progress at UNLV.
Kamala Harris wearing a white suit while giving her victory speech
Arts and Culture | January 28, 2021
UNLV fashion expert Deirdre Clemente on the historical scrutiny of male versus female politicians’ clothing and the power of textiles, color, and style in shaping image.
Claytee White sits in a chair and gestures toward a woman sitting to her right
Arts and Culture | December 30, 2020
A sampling of university experts who sounded off on the year’s monumental movements surrounding race, ethnicity, and gender.
Campus News | December 10, 2020
A collection of news stories highlighting the election, COVID-19, and scientific discovery at UNLV.