THE END OF FASHION: call for papers and exhibition proposals


College of Creative Arts, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand, 8-9 December 2016

Conveners: Professor Vicki Karaminas, Massey University, Wellington

Professor Hilary Radner, University of Otago, Dunedin

Keynote Speakers:

Valerie Steele, Fashion Institute of Technology, New York

Pamela Church Gibson, London College of Fashion

Raphaëlle Moine, Université de Paris 3 – Sorbonne Nouvelle

Patrizia Calefato, Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro

Fashion and the fashion system as we have understood it in the nineteenth and twentieth century have radically changed as mass media and digitalization have transformed the way that contemporary fashion is now perceived and consumed.

  • Bloggers have emerged as a fashion elite in recent years, shifting the terrain of traditional fashion reporting and dramatically changing the fashion industry and the ways in which fashion is disseminated.
  • Commerce and media have united to create new ways of experiencing the creations of contemporary designers. Runway shows now compete with phenomena such as Internet live streaming, digital fashion films, Instagram and Pinterest, to name a few, as popular means of promoting collections.
  • Concept stores and online sites have replaced the department store and traditional forms of retailing.

Fashion scholars largely agree that, at least within Western society broadly defined, attitudes towards clothing have changed radically in the twenty-first century. Dress is increasingly approached as a mode of personal expression, rather than as a signifier of status or profession, with, of course, notable exceptions. To date, little research has been done on the causes and implications of this shift, which has had significant consequences in terms of fashion design and its place in society, our general attitude towards clothing and the mandate of fashion scholarship.

  • We can no longer always judge with certainty the nationality, class, economic position or profession of an individual based on his or her clothing choices.
  • Designers are increasingly treated as ‘artists’ and their creations as ‘art’ as fashion enters the art and museum space.
  • In the past, ‘colonial’ fashions were typically viewed as manifestations of European domination; current scholarship suggests that colonial subjects, in particular women, as well as various marginalized groups, often used an amalgamation of traditional clothing and styles imported from Europe to produce new forms of dress. These innovations marked evolving identities that were often at odds with the colonial mandate.

Arguably, these transformations are a manifestation of important evolutions in perspective on a global scale, tied to technological innovation, but also to new ethical modalities emerging in response to what Canadian scholar Marshall McLuhan termed in the twentieth century ‘the global village’, promoted initially by television and intensified with the growth of the Internet.

Earlier in 2015 trend forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort released her manifesto bravely announcing ‘the end of fashion as we know it’ in which she outlined ‘ten reasons why the fashion system is obsolete’. Taking this statement as a springboard, we propose a conference that considers the shifts that have occurred within the fashion system, the rise of personal style as the mark of sartorial excellence, and what this might say about larger transformations within an increasingly global society.

The conference invites papers or creative works that address the following topics (see below). We also encourage proposals that address the so-called ‘end of fashion’ in more general terms. We especially welcome proposals that take an interdisciplinary approach to the larger phenomena of which fashion’s shifting terrain is a significant dimension.

An exhibition of creative work will be part of the conference. Anticipated publications include an exhibition catalogue, select refereed abstracts and an edited volume of select refereed papers (extended).


The Global World

  • The fashion system and the end of fashion
  • ‘The phantasmagoria of commodities’ and the fashion system
  •  ‘Instyle’: the status of fashion as personal expression in a digitalized world

Style, Resistance, and Identity

  • The re-writing of traditional clothing within a global context
  • Style ‘poachers’ and the history of fashion: how colonial subjects transformed European style
  • Style tribes

Branding and Merchandising

  • Niche branding
  • Concept retail stores
  • Online merchandising
  • Fashion sponsorship and the art world


  • The internet and the new fashion system
  • Convergence media and the end of fashion
  • Fashion as entertainment: from Project Runway to Fashion Police

Film and Fashion

  • Film, fashion and consumption
  • The fashion film
  • Fashion and documentary film


  • Celebrity style: media tyranny of the star? expressions of fandom? ethical modeling?
  • The fashion blogger as the new elite
  • The celebrity as designer/the designer as celebrity


  • The designer: artist? or entrepreneur?
  • Fashion in the art gallery: the art/fashion nexus
  • Wearable art and fashion
  • Fashion in painting/painting in fashion

Ethical Living

  • Feminism, fashion and style: ‘the personal is political’
  • Fashion and ethics
  • ‘Fast fashion’ and ‘slow fashion’: the changing pace of personal style
  •  The revival of home-sewing

Future horizons

  • Digital fashion
  • Sustainable fashion
  • Fashion and the post-human
  • Fashion and the ‘more-than-human world’


Paper proposals should include:

  • applicant’s name, contact information and institutional affiliation, as appropriate
  • title and abstract of proposed paper (200-300 words)
  • a brief select bibliography in Chicago Manual of Style (5-10 entries)
  • a brief biography (75-125 words)
  • Please send paper proposals in a single attached doc, docx or rtf file via email to:


Exhibition proposals should include:

  • applicant’s name, contact information and institutional affiliation, as appropriate
  • an artist’s statement (200-250 words)
  • a brief biography (75-125 words)
  • 2 images of the work
  • specifications of the work

Please send application materials as a single attached pdf file via email to:


  • Paper proposals due:  30 April 2016
  • Notification of acceptance of papers: 30 May 2016
  • Exhibition proposals due: 30 June 2016
  • Notification of acceptance of creative work: 15 August 2016
  • Conference dates: 8, 9 December 2016, Wellington, New Zealand

For questions about the conference, please contact, or



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