Responsible Fashion Series

*Please note that the responsible Fashion series emerged from the Fashion Colloqium series that ran from 2012-2019.​

Can fashion save the world?

We are presently in a crisis that is nothing like anything we have ever faced before and we were reminded of our Antwerp experience from the beginning of the 1990s.  Then, we were facing in Europe important societal changes, increasing globalization, an escalation in migration and the breakthrough of populist parties all over Europe. Antwerp became in 1993 the cultural capital of Europe and ran with the ‘tagline’: “Can the arts save the world?” What Antwerp 93 wanted to stimulate was a reflection and debate about the societal role that Arts and Culture (including fashion) could play and thereby offering innovative approaches through arts and culture as a utopic remedy. The crisis today might need something similar?  Thus, accordingly, we update our offer: can fashion save the world?  

Many of you might quickly agree that fashion can be known for its disruptive potential and therefore ahead of his time or alternatively you might see it differently, rather that it is symptomatic of today’s problems?  We claim that no other field of study and practice embraces change like fashion and here in Antwerp fashion designers have for a long time been known for their creativity and disruptive imagination. Therefore, we ask:

Might Creatives play a greater role in a changing world?

Back in the 1980s creativity was mostly understood as still based on the individual genius and/or practice of certain skills (craftsmanship). Today, some forty years later, it might be more accurate to understand that creativity no longer resembles this guise, but rather, now has evolved into something that is no longer seen as exclusively individual, but rather something that draws for its inspiration from influences from new sources:  sometimes from other disciplines, from other cultures or perhaps reevaluating our heritage, etc... Thus, we are witnessing a new birth and guise for creativity; perhaps one that is an interdisciplinary response? 

We need to think differently…more creatively perhaps in terms of new ways of working including forms of collaboration?  New technologies and processes?  What business models are necessary in order to survive and prosper? Perhaps what these observations lead to is a further question:  do we need to break a few things down before we can re-build? 

These questions were discussed during the Responsible Fashion Series in Antwerp. Want to rewatch? The recordings of the conference are now available!