Van Dyk Lewis has taught fashion and practiced in Europe and North America, current a faculty member at Cornell University, he teaches a range of courses that include a graduate course in fashion theory, undergraduate courses in fashion graphics, fashion design and studio process, and portfolio presentation. In interrogating contemporary fashion and its meaning within cultures he uses ethnography, social psychology and poststructural criticism. Current research themes are, fashion in the future, fashion's intangibility, fashion blogs, sustainable fashion design practice, and the fashion underground.
New Masculinities: The challenge is understand the extent to which the menswear industry may need to become more strategic and flexible in order to adapt to a changing market. The project explores masculinities in America, with focus on young men's fashion exploration of visual dialogues in advertising and other such outcroppings are compared to real life fashion configurations. Investigations are made through the establishment of types and examination of their variance from industry promoted holdings instillations.
Fashion Undergrounds: This project considers fashion utopias, deviancy and protest as the basis for a unraveling the fashion under the radar with in the space of the big city. The contrast with the earlier Ithaca Fashion Project is cause for comparison, as is the conscious marginality of the temporary encampment of the festival as transcendence toward normalizing resistance and deviancy. Despite attempts of escape, disorder and deregulation through individual and group fashion expressions the fashion underground is discussed in Baurdrillardian terms as hyper conforming.
The Self and Fashion: Interwoven throughout all fashion output is the individual. The Self versus the Fashion industry is a situational construct of imbalance and appropriation. This study considers the relevancy of the Fashion industry in regard to emerging global issues that will impact the design, production and presentation of Fashion. Further the study explores alternative constructs such as the Self in regard to the Fashion industry and questions the future of practice, trend origination and transfer, and empowerment. The thought that design should be led by issues and not aesthetic concepts provokes new focus to the oppositions and benefits of this relationship and develops a new cartography of Fashion practice at a time when society's systems and structures are in upheaval.