The third episode was recorded in Toronto, Canada, in September 2019, where I organized the sixth annual Canadian Fashion Symposium. Every year, I find a hosting institution (usually a museum that has a fashion or a textile collection, or a fashion school or university in Canada – and I try to alternate the Eastern and Western parts of the country). Collaboratively, I organize the annual Symposium that is meant to bring together fashion scholars, curators, practitioners, and fashion professionals to build a community, present new research, organize workshops and discussion panels, network, and collaborate on academic and creative projects to promote Fashion Studies across Canada.
This year, the Fashion Symposium was hosted by the School of Fashion at Ryerson University in Toronto, and I have to thank Sandra Tullio-Pow for being such an amazing collaborator, host, and organizer!
My goal for this year’s Symposium was to document some of the work conducted at the Centre for Fashion Diversity & Social Change (FDSC), co-founded by Ben Barry and Alison Matthews David. I wanted to interview some of the members this Centre and ask them about their current work.
In this episode, you will hear a brief interview with Romana Mirza, who will introduce the Centre, her own projects, as well as the work of her colleagues.
Then, you will hear a panel recorded at the Symposium, where Romana Mirza, Sandra Tullio-Pow, Presley Mills, and Henry Navarro Delgado talk about their various projects conducted at the Centre.
And at the end of the Symposium, I also had a chance to briefly interview Jaclyn Marcus and Alison Matthews David about the open-access, academic journal, Fashion Studies, published annually by Ryerson University’s Centre for Fashion Diversity and Social Change, and co-founded by Alison Matthews David and Ben Barry. This online journal is available to all at no cost to readers or authors, and they are currently looking for submissions for their third issue.
For the first episode, I was invited to moderate a discussion panel on Sustainable Fashion at the first Victoria Eco Fashion Week, that took place in April 2019 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The panelists included Jess Montgomery,who is the founder of Think the World Differently, a non-profit organization based in Vancouver that offers educational workshops on the environmental impacts of the global clothing industry. Jess empowers participants to embrace sustainable alternatives, and speaks regularly on the environmental impacts of clothing over-consumption and the need for values-based change. Her TED Talk “How Your Clothes Can Save the Planet” for TEDxChilliwack is now available online.
The second panelist was Jakelina Listes, who is the Project Leader at Sewlutions, a sewing-based program for immigrant and other marginalized women in the Greater Victoria area. They offers opportunities to learn new skills, socialize, practice English, exchange cultures, and promote acceptance and integration. Jakelina is an artist, interior decorator, jewellery and accessories designer. She is originally from Croatia, and her diverse background is reflected in her work. She has been designing sustainable jewellery and accessories for over 25 years, always looking for ways to use existing pieces and materials, and to redesign them into something new.
And finally, the third panelist was Jessie Malott, who is the Clothing Department Manager at Women in Need (or WIN), a non-profit community co-operative that has been empowering women in Victoria for over 28 years. Revenues from their five Resale Shops finance their operations and their empowerment programs for women, which include: New Start Program for women ready to leave a transition house and set up a home for themselves and their children. The Self Sufficiency Program supports women’s financial independence and wellness (through educational pursuits, or helping them to start a small business). And the Crisis and Referral Program that supports women’s access to information, referrals, and community resources that they need for moving out of crisis.
In preparation for our panel on Sustainable Fashion, I asked the three panelists to answer a few questions that I prepared for them, as well as to submit a question of their own, on what they consider the most pressing issue in their field. During our panel, I first asked each of them to describe what they do, and how their work relates to sustainability, ethics, and empowerment of people and the environment, and who inspired their values.
For the second episode, I went to Copenhagen and met with Else Skjold, who is an Associate Professor of Design and Sustainability at the Design School in Kolding, and who organized an exhibition and presentation of the graduation projects of four design schools in Denmark as part of Copenhagen Fashion Week.
The two pop-up exhibitions “Fashion Tech” and “Young Sustainable Talents” took place at the Geological Museum in Copenhagen, which this summer also hosts the V&A “Fashioned from Nature” exhibition.
The presentations were hosted by Lifestyle & Design Cluster – a network that promotes innovation and sustainable growth in the small and medium-sized housing and clothing companies, as well as in the creative industries.
The event was opened with a discussion panel by the organizers and experts in the fields of fashion, sustainability, and technology, and you will hear an excerpt from this panel, in which Else gives a brief overview of the event.
The panel was followed by a keynote address by one of the leading scholars on fashion sustainability in the U.K., Kate Fletcher, who is a Professor of Sustainability, Design, and Fashion at the University of Arts in London. You will hear her talk, in which she emphasizes the need for an engagement with and a direct experience of nature in order to “ecologize the fashion system” (as she puts it). And both Else and Kate were kind enough to take the time and sit down with me after their presentations to talk more about their work.