Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Secondhand Culture: Waste, Value and Materiality

This event hosted by the Bard Graduate Center is looking very promising. Alexandra Palmer, Nicky Gregson and Susan Strasser have all written texts that have considerably enriched my research so I very much look forward to hearing each speak.

Details from the above release:

RSVP required to academic-events@bgc.bard.edu or 212 501 3019

For more information please contact Alex Phelan at phelan@bgc.bard.edu

Bard Graduate Center 38 West 86th Street, Lecture Hall

Thursday, April 15th, 5pm - 8pm
Film Screening: Secondhand (Pepe), 2007
followed by Q&A with the filmmakers, Hanna Rose Shell and Vanessa Bertozzi

William Davies King
Professor of Theater, University of California Santa Barbara
Suited for Nothing: Collecting Second-Hand

Friday, April 16th 9am - 4pm
Shirley Teresa Wajda
Secondhand Culture Studies: A View from the Rust Belt

Alexandra Palmer
Senior Curator, Royal Ontario Museum
Back to Back: Retro-fitting Fashion within the Museum

Alison Isenberg
Associate Professor, History, Rutgers University
Second-Hand Cities: Antiques, Inheritance, and Preservation from the Civil War to Urban Renewal

Nicky Gregson
Professor, Geography, University of Sheffield
Death, the Phoenix, and Pandora: End of Life Ships, Chock-Chocky Furniture and the Bangladeshi Middle Class

Marilynn Gelfman Karp
Emeritus Professor of Art, New York University
In Flagrante Collecto: Caught in the Act of Collecting

Susan Strasser
Professor, History, University of Delaware

I hope to see you there!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sustainable Fashion Symposium & Opening Party In Conjunction with Eco Chic Exhibition

Eco Chic - Towards Sustainable Swedish Fashion
May 5 - August 21, 2010 @ Scandinavia House

Symposium - Towards Sustainable Fashion
Directly followed by the Opening Party for Eco Chic in Volvo Hall

Tuesday, May 4, 2010, 6:30 pm, Victor Borge Hall
RSVP required. Please respond by Thursday, April 29 to malin@amscan.org

Eco Chic - Towards Sustainable Swedish Fashion opens at Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America, May 5, 2010 and showcases Swedish fashion designers who take an environmentally-friendly and ethical approach to their work, without sacrificing style. On view through August 21, this exhibition illuminates high-fashion alternatives to much of today's environmentally harmful clothing.

Proving that "going green" is more than a feel-good fad, Swedish designers collaborated to establish a culture of sustainable fashion. The fashion industry faces major challenges in both resources and labor, but designers featured in the Eco Chic exhibition strive to change the general attitude of fashion and consumption. They believe that sustainable development is not simply an empty phrase, and fashion is not just about appearance. This touring exhibition from The Swedish Institute (SI), which premiered in Belgrade in the winter of 2008, has visited major international cities including Minsk, Kiev, Riga, Istanbul, and most recently Berlin. The installation at Scandinavia House in New York marks the first American stop on this tour.

Eco Chic - Towards Sustainable Swedish Fashion presents garments and footwear by various Swedish fashion designers. Designers featured in this exhibition include: Anja Hynynen, Bergman's, Camilla Norrback, Dem Collective, Johanna Hofring, Julian Red, Nudie, Pia Anjou, Reflective Circle, Righteous Fashion, Swedish Hasbeens, and Zion. These designers aspire to create a culture of principled design and production. Through this touring exhibition, they hope to inform consumers that fashion can be simultaneously stylish and sustainable.


Symposium - Towards Sustainable Fashion
Tuesday, May 4, 6:30 pm, Victor Borge Hall

A symposium, in conjunction with the opening of the exhibit Eco Chic - Towards Sustainable Fashion, with fashion designers who take an environmentally-friendly and ethical approach to their work, without sacrificing style. The panel of speakers includes designers and fashion experts from Sweden and The United States - Marcus Bergman, Karin Stenmar, Sass Brown and Eviana Hartman, and is moderated by Dr. Hazel Clark, Dean of the School of Art and Design and Theory, Parsons: The New School for Design.

The symposium is followed by a party celebrating the opening of the exhibit Eco Chic - Towards Sustainable Fashion at Scandinavia House. The exhibit will be open until 9:30 pm.

Marcus Bergman is one of the partners of Bergman's (a part of the exhibition). Bergman is a researcher at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg and lecturer at University College of Borås. For more information, please visit www.ecocotton.com/

Karin Stenmar - One of the two founders of Dem Collective (a part of the exhibition). Since 2004 Karin and Annika Axelsson has ensured that Sweden receives a steady supply of fair produced and organic clothes from Dem Collective's own factories in Sri Lanka. For more information, please visit www.demcollective.com/

Sass Brown is a full time professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, now resident in Florence, Italy, where she is the Resident Director for FIT's study abroad program. Originally from London, England, Sass established herself as a designer with her own signature collection selling across Canada, and as VP of Merchandising for Perry Ellis Kids. As an academic, Sass's area of research is in the area of community outreach and ethical design practices in fashion based businesses. Sass has published papers and spoken around the world on the topic of sustainable design. She has also worked and volunteered in women's cooperatives in Latin America, and in particular in Brazil's largest favela - Rocinha, as well as taught workshops to manufacturers and fashion enterprises in Peru.

Eviana Hartman, founder and designer of Bodkin. Hartman was the fashion features editor at NYLON, fashion writer at Vogue and Teen Vogue, and the founding columnist of EcoWise in The Washington Post. She collaborated with designer Wendy Mullin on the Sew U series of books for Little, Brown and Potter Craft, and has written about music, style, architecture, and design for such publications as Dwell, I.D., Purple Fashion, VMan, Domino, and Wired. Her interest in sustainability began while studying under architect William McDonough, author of Cradle to Cradle. She is also a modern dancer and plays drums in the band Open Ocean.

Dr. Hazel Clark is Dean of the School of Art and Design History at Parsons the New School for Design. She is a design historian and theorist who has taught internationally and has a particular interest in design and culture, and fashion and textiles including ethical practices. Her most recent publications include co-editing Old Clothes, New Looks: Second Hand Fashion (Berg, 2005), The Fabric of Cultures: Fashion, Identity and Globalization (Routledge, 2009) and Design Studies: A Reader (Berg, 2009). Her articles include: 'SLOW + FASHION - An Oxymoron or a Promise for the Future..?', Fashion Theory, 12: 4, December 2008.


This exhibition is commissioned and produced by The Swedish Institute. The curator and exhibition architect is Karin Gräns.

The Swedish Institute is a public agency that promotes interest in Sweden abroad. SI seeks to establish cooperation and lasting relations with other countries through strategic communication and cultural, educational, and scientific exchanges. SI works closely with Swedish embassies and consulates around the world. Please visit www.si.se/English/ for more information.

Scandinavia House is a public forum presenting a wide range of exhibitions, films, concerts, lectures, symposia, and family programs that illuminate the contemporary vitality of the Nordic countries. It also houses the headquarters of The American-Scandinavian Foundation. Please visit www.scandinaviahouse.org for more information.

The American-Scandinavian Foundation (ASF) is the leading cultural and educational link between the U.S. and Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. It works to build international understanding with an extensive program of fellowships, grants, intern/trainee sponsorship, publishing, and membership offerings.

Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 12 - 6 pm
Due to a generous grant from The Barbro Pro Suecia Foundation, admission is FREE.

Scandinavia House
The Nordic Center in America
58 Park Avenue (@ 38th Street)
New York, NY 10016
General Information: 212.979.9779 & www.scandinaviahouse.org

Sunday, March 28, 2010

IFFTI 2010 Conference: Fashion: Sustainability and Creativity

I am back from Taipei and Fashion: Sustainability and Creativity, from what was simply a fantastic conference. Thank you to the organizers - not just for the quality and richness of the papers but also for the other activities throughout the three days. I was going to post a full report on the conference here, but since I've just posted a report on my top three papers on 560: Magazine for Parsons School of Fashion, it's easier to simply link there.

In addition to the three papers by Holly McQuillan, Daniel James Cole and Patricia Lockren, I'd like to commend and briefly comment on the following papers:

Katherine Townsend & Yumi Chon, Nottingham Trent University:
Remaining Beauty: A Sustainable Approach to Surface Pattern Design
Chon was not able to come to the conference but Townsend presented Chon's work in a beautiful light.

Yu Han Au, Joe Au & Raymond Au, Hong Kong Polytechnic University:
Development of Theoretical Framework of Ultimate Fashion and Textile Design Process Model
Having read most of Joe Au's papers on fashion design process, it was exciting to hear from one of his research students - in short, it is good to see rigorous research into fashion design process. This may have changed, but a couple of years ago a read-through of the keywords for Design Studies, one of the key journals for design research, did not include fashion design while around 20 other design disciplines made it.

Kritika Dawar, Pearl Academy of Fashion:
Collaborative Efforts Towards Sustainability
Dawar reported on Shared Talent, a heart-warming collaboration between six Indian and six UK designers, and students from India, UK and the Netherlands. I was so immersed in listening that my notes were somewhat brief, but here's a tidbit: "Sustainability need not compromise creativity or quality."

Kathryn Brownbridge, Manchester Metropolitan University:
The Impact of Advanced Knitwear Technology: Fashion, Sustainability and Innovation.
Brownbridge presented interesting findings from three UK companies that had implemented complete garment technology. It certainly sounded like the investment paid off for all three. This was Kathryn's first conference presentation; if the moderator hadn't said so, we would have never known. Congratulations!

Patricia Brien, RMIT:
Imagination, Inspiration, Imitation: A Preliminary Exploration of Rudolf Steiner's Theories. Holistic Clothing and Sustainable Fashion Design
Perhaps the most left-of-centre paper I heard - in a good way: so rich and interesting. Brien made an interesting link between Rudolf Steiner, Joseph Beuys and AF Vandevorst. I hope Brien continues with this endeavour.

Ok, I missed the following two; it was so difficult to have to choose between six parallel sessions. Yes, six. I can cope with three or four but at times I wanted to go and see all six at the same time. I should note that Holly, Todd and Kate had their presentations at the same time and I went to Holly's, hence missing these two.

Todd Robinson, University of Technology Sydney:
Thematizing Change: Creativity, Dynamic Practices and Sustainability
Todd is a former colleague whose PhD project is promising to be of great interest. Watch out.

Kate Fletcher, London College of Fashion:
Systems Change for Sustainability in Fashion.
Kate wasn't in Taiwan to present; instead, Helen Thomas presented for her. Kate discusses systems change in her book and I would have loved to have heard where she's at with this, but I will have to wait until next time.

IFM will host the conference next year. The race is on, folks; to top the calibre of papers from 2010 will be a truly exciting challenge!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Craft Research

I'm at the IFFTI conference in Taiwan; a report of the excellent two days to come soon. In the meanwhile, I just wanted to flag a promising new journal edited by Kristina Niedderer and Katherine Townsend: Craft Research from Intellect Ltd. It was a pleasure to meet Katherine and hear about the journal. From the website:

Aims and Scope

Craft Research is the first peer-reviewed academic journal dedicated to developing and advancing contemporary craft practice and theory through research. Its purpose is to portray and build the crafts as a vital and viable discipline that offers a vision for the future through its ability to explore and challenge technology, to question and develop cultural and social practices, and to interrogate and affirm philosophical and human values.

Call for Papers

Craft Research welcomes contributions from new and established researchers, scholars, and professionals around the world who wish to make a contribution to advancing the crafts.
Contributions may include research into materials, technology, processes, methods, concepts, aesthetic and philosophy in any discipline area of the applied arts and crafts, including craft education. Accepted formats include full research papers, position papers, reports on research linking craft and industry, craft-researcher portraits, and reviews of research exhibitions and conferences.