Embracing Difference: Fashion, Design and the Rhetoric of Social Change

  • Matthew Coats (Presenter)

    Activity: External talk or presentationInvited talk


    For years, many in the fashion industry have chosen not to speak out on injustices in the world for fear of alienating consumers, and have considered taking a stance on civil rights and equality as unimportant. But these same consumers are starting to question what that means for the character of a brand, and why many creatives aren’t being held accountable for their actions, that have a direct impact on our political climate. It’s becoming ever clearer that the fashion industry can’t be apolitical, and you can’t separate politics from fashion.

    Whilst the term ‘fashion’ has been historically used to describe the latest trends and how something is made into a particular form, the industry, and the wider creative industries, find themselves in the midst of an escalating evaluation culture.

    In an increasingly online, globally-connected world, and with consumers acting in huge numbers to create a new voice and new type of critical discourse through online social media platforms that provide a direct link to the industry heavyweights, fashion and politics have never been more interlinked. From calling-out discriminatory industry standards to holding brands and businesses accountable for environmental abuses, the creative industries are democratising in a way we have never seen before, with fashion at the forefront of this discourse. Change is happening rapidly, with the new landscape developing on an almost daily basis. The consequences are huge and will affect each part of the fashion industry—from design educators to marketeers to practising designers. Add to this the Covid-19 global health crisis, and it becomes evident that the fashion industry as we know it will never be the same again.
    Period25 Jul 2020
    Event titleThe 8th European Conference on Arts & Humanities
    Event typeConference