“The fashion sector faces enormous challenges”

The University of Antwerp attracts famous names from the fashion world to Antwerp for the Responsible Fashion Series

Can fashion save the world? That is the central question during the Responsible Fashion Series, a prestigious interdisciplinary conference that will be organized in Antwerp from 20 to 22 October. “Hyperconsumerism has reached its limits”, says Prof. Annick Schramme (UAntwerp). “How can the sector evolve towards a more sustainable model? How can fashion be a lever for a more social and inclusive society? and what is the role of the creative designer in the future?”

The Responsible Fashion Series saw the light of day ten years ago. Educational institutions in the fashion capitals of London, Paris, Milan and New York established the international network. Since then, conferences have been organized at various locations worldwide. This year it is Antwerp's turn: on 20, 21 and 22 October, many interesting lectures and workshops will take place. It is a hybrid conference, which can be followed both live and virtually.

“The reopening of the Fashion Museum is an ideal momentum to once again put Antwerp in the spotlight as a fashion city”, says Prof. Annick Schramme (UAntwerp). The Antwerp University is organizing the conference, in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, the Antwerp Management School, MoMu and with the support of the City of Antwerp and Tourism Flanders.

Lots of high respected designers

Can fashion save the world? That is the central question of the congress. Schramme: “After all, the fashion sector is facing enormous challenges, especially after corona. It is one of the most polluting industries worldwide, fast fashion and hyper consumerism have reached their limits. What is the role of the creative designer in the future? How can we make the transition to a more circular and local fashion industry? And what are sustainable business models and innovations? These are just a few of the topics that will be discussed during this congress.

"Many famous personalities from the fashion world, from home and abroad, will attend the congress. Linda Loppa, director of the fashion department at the Antwerp Academy in the 1980s, Also, Kate Fletcher, the leading authority on fashion and sustainability (with her recent essay Earth Logic) and Ben Barry, the new director of Parson's in New York , one of the best-known design schools globally will have their say. We open the conference with a conversation with Walter Van Beirendonck and discuss his legacy to fashion. 

Expo in Winter Garden

This international conference offers researchers, educators, entrepreneurs and creatives the unique opportunity to discuss with each other and get to know other innovators from the fashion sector in Flanders and far beyond.During the congress, an exhibition will also be held in the Winter Garden of the Academy (Mutsaardstraat 31, 2000 Antwerp) with artistic projects that aim to provide an answer to the question “Can fashion save the world” in their own way. For example, there is a project from Romania that develops sustainable jeans from hemp or a designer from Taiwan who explains how to make your own outfit from recycled material. Everyone can therefore find inspiration for a more sustainable fashion sector. …

The full program can be found at: www.uantwerpen.be/responsible-fashion