Exploring Fashion Cultures, Structures, and Systems, An International Inter-disciplinary Conference
19th-21st September 2012. Royal College of Art, London
Antwerp, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Dakar, Seoul, Sydney…a familiar, yet unfamiliar, line up of cities which have all emerged as sites for the production and display of fashion in recent times. Are these also the names set to usurp the power of the ”Big Five” ”Fashion Capitals” Paris, London, Milan, New York, and Tokyo? While the power, position and prestige of the legendary Fashion Capitals are recognised as such throughout the structures and networks of the fashion industry, none are sacrosanct as such. Post-World War Two Paris had to re-assert its hold on womenswear against threats from the sportswear culture of New York which emerged during the 1940s and early 1950s, and from London’s ”youth-quake” fashions in the 1960s.

In Italy, both Rome and Florence were precursors to Milan’s authority as the country’s pre-eminent Fashion City. Yet, throughout the 20th Century, and in particular from the 1980s onwards, smaller cities, or ”Style Centres” such as Antwerp, Amsterdam, Barcelona or Copenhagen, have sought to develop their own influence through fashion culture. In Volume 15, Issue 2 of Fashion Theory: Journal of Dress, Body and Culture published in June 2011, the editors Lise Skov, of Copenhagen Business School, and Marie Riegels Melchior, of Designmuseum Danmark, brought together a collection of research papers which pioneer an approach looking at the decentering of Fashion Cities and the fashion culture that emanates from them. In her own paper in this volume Skov considers the changes occurring towards what she describes as a ”poly-centric” fashion industry. The purpose of this conference is to bring together a variety of fashion and creative industry practitioners, researchers and commentators to (re)consider the developing structures and networks of the fashion industry as it is set to develop in the 21st Century through such a ”poly-centric” system of Fashion Cities. Papers of 15-20 minutes duration for presentation and discussion are sought on the five core conference themes as follows:
* Developing the Fashion City
* The Role of the Fashion Academy or School
* Fashion Culture on Display
* The Business of Fashion Culture
* Disseminating Fashion Culture
Abstracts of 300 words in English for presentations of 15-20 minutes duration should be submitted via E-mail by Friday April 6th 2012. Applicants should also include their name, job title, academic affiliation or company/organisation (as appropriate), together with full contact details including E-mail address. Facilities for presenting visual information, including PowerPoint slides and short films, will be made available to all speakers.
All Abstract submissions, together with any further questions, should be addressed to conference convenor Nathaniel Dafydd Beard at:
Within these core themes issues for discussion and possible subjects for papers (or groups of papers) may include:
* Developing the Fashion City
* Developing fashion culture
* Relationships between Fashion Capitals and alternative sites or cities of fashion
* Developing fashion culture outside the ”Big Five” Fashion Capitals
* The role of the fashion academy or school and professional training opportunities
* Dissemination of fashion culture and the Fashion City through the media, film and television
* Dissemination of fashion culture through display in museums, galleries and retail formats
* The structure and/or restructuring of the fashion industry in the 21st Century
* The role of Fashion Weeks and fashion trade fairs in developing fashion culture
* The role of technology and new developments in technology e.g. new sales strategies, augmented reality, Fashion Film, social networking
* The role of government and city councils at regional, national and international levels
* Fashion and tourism
* Commercial versus conceptual fashion cultures
* British, European and International Perspectives
The conference is to be accompanied by an exhibition placing into context the development of the Fashion City, evolving fashion cultures and the rise of the ”Style Centre.” The focus of this exhibition will concentrate on the experience of two Style Centres: Antwerp and Copenhagen. Papers are therefore particularly welcomed which pertain to the fashion cultures of Belgium, the Netherlands or Luxembourg, Denmark and the Nordic countries (Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden). Applicants with direct experience or with active research interests in developing creative city milieus, and which have a strong relevance to the fashion industry, are also warmly welcomed.
Please Note: in order to promote as wide an access as possible and to facilitate continued and further debate it is intended that the proceedings of the conference are to be filmed with the permission of all participating speakers. In addition, all papers from the conference will be selected and considered for inclusion in a book-format publication(s) by a UK-based publisher.
All successful applicants will be notified by early May 2012.
No bursaries are available for travel or accommodation costs.
For further information and up-dates please refer to the conference and exhibition website:
Supported by:
Royal College of Art
ALCS – Association of Low Countries Studies