CFP: Fashion and Social Responsibility

This symposium is the second in a series of events entitled “Fashion And … ” connecting fashion with other themes of importance in today’s world. Members attending the symposia of Fashion And… examine the interconnections and intersections of fashion in today’s world. The symposium will be held on April 19-21, 2013 at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.

Fashion is change and because it is change, fashion impacts nearly every aspect of our lives from the language we speak, the furniture we use, the homes we live in, the cars we drive, the clothes we wear, and the food we eat. The second symposium will focus on relationships between fashion and social responsibility. The organisers are interested in how the many aspects of social responsibility intersect with fashion. As there are many phases to fashion from ideation, design, production, distribution, sale, consumption, and ultimately disposal, there are many instances where decisions can reflect socially responsible views and sensibilities. From where designs originate (e.g., intellectual property rights, fakes), to what materials are used in creating a fashion (e.g., green materials, recycled, upcycled, repurposed, non-traditional) to what styles are produced (e.g., objectifying children), to how and where fashion is produced (e.g., labor issues, working conditions), to how and where it is sold (e.g., fast fashion, upscale retailers, labor issues), to its consumption (use, care, disposal) decision making by designers, producers, retailers, and consumers can reflect a dedication to or indifference to social responsibility and sustainability.


Through a series of scholarly presentations, panel discussions, design presentations, the symposium participants will explore, define, and document the interconnections between fashion and social responsibility.


The symposium has an inclusive definition of the term “fashion”. While fashion is often understood to center on apparel choices, fashion can be recognized as the current style or way of behaving in any field. Thus, proposals are welcome from divergent fields such as architecture, anthropology, cultural studies, history, interior design, graphic design, psychology, sociology, and women’s studies among others.


The organisers welcome written abstracts or designs, or a proposal for a panel of speakers addressing some aspect of fashion and social responsibility. The official conference language is English. All accepted abstract submissions will be published in the conference proceedings. Symposium formats include poster sessions, design work, concurrent design/research/teaching presentations [20 minutes], and panel sessions [60 minutes]. Panel or collaborative presentations are encouraged.


Topics may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Social responsibility in design practice
  • Issues related to social responsibility in design
  • Cross-cultural views on social responsibility in design
  • Customer views of socially responsible design businesses
  • Considerations of any aspect of production within design industries and social responsibility
  • Innovative teaching concerning social responsibility within design fields
  • Historical views on social responsibility (e.g., dress reform movements)
  • Socially responsible consumption
  • Socially responsible designs
  • Socially responsible marketing/selling of design
  • Marketing images and social responsibility
  • Social values and design
  • Socially responsible design materials

Further information is available on the website.

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