CFP: The Look of Austerity Conference

The Look of Austerity

September 11-12, 2015

Museum of London

2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, the beginning of a period of economic austerity for many affected nations. ‘Austerity’ is a term that has recently re-emerged in areas as disparate as politics and design, and is used to describe everything from specific policy decisions to the national mood. In light of this, The Look of Austerity aims to re-examine the post-war period, looking at the changing meaning and the face of austerity and exploring the real implications of austerity policies and culture on sartorial aesthetics. Focusing on the immediate post-war period, specifically the years 1945-1951, we invite papers that examine the popular experience of obtaining and wearing clothes throughout the western world during these turbulent and changing times, exploring the often overlooked areas of ready-to-wear innovation, international dialogues, and approaches that look beyond some of the popular myths of post-war fashion.

Topics for discussion may include:

  • fashion consumption and austerity, particularly popular and everyday experiences of obtaining and wearing clothes
  • the production and distribution of ready-to-wear
  • the role of couture after the war
  • dialogues across Western nations and fashion capitals, particularly Paris, New York, Berlin and Rome
  • visual and written representations of fashion in newspapers, magazines, advertisements, cinema and amateur film
  • biographic approaches, for example diaries, novels and short stories
  • the designer in a culture of austerity
  • the connection between austerity and glamour
  • re-emergence of the austerity look in later periods, for example in the 1970s/1990s
  • the legacy of the look of austerity


If you wish to present a paper, please submit the following to
  • 500 word abstract of the proposed paper naming the presenter(s)
  • contact information: name, title, position, university or institutional affiliation, postal
  • address, email and telephone
  • 150-200 word biography of the presenter(s)

Deadline for submission of proposals: Monday 27 October 2014. Notification will be made to all by the end of November 2014. 

For more information, please visit the conference website.

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