Histories of Resourcefulness, Reuse and Creative Ingenuity in 20th Century Fashion and Dress
International online conference (Zoom)
09.45-15.45 BST
Friday 21 January 2022



Keynote Speaker: Erica de Greef (African Fashion Research Institute)

Organised by Dr Alex Nora Esculapio, Dr Annebella Pollen and Dani Trew with support from the Centre for Design History (CDH) at University of Brighton, UK, this free online conference aims to explore histories of resourcefulness, reuse, creative ingenuity, remaking, repair, durability, mending and sharing in twentieth century fashion and dress. We are particularly interested in critical accounts that span cultural and historical contexts and intersect with histories of modernity, urban development, globalisation, craft, race, colonialism, popular culture as well as gender, disability, sexual and body politics.The conference mobilises design theorist Tony Fry’s concept of ‘sustainment’ (2003) as a practice of sustaining life and the material world which challenges the entanglement of the concept and practice of sustainability with Eurocentric modernity, economic growth and a techno-functionalist understanding of the world. We are keen to explore dress and fashion histories that can make critical contributions to sustainable futures, which we understand as futures which can be sustained. Thus, the conference aims to refocus our attention to practices that have taken place before the development of the concept of sustainability, alongside or outside of established sustainable industry practices, and at the periphery of and beyond the West and the Global North.



09:45-10:00 – Welcome and Introduction,
Dr Alex Nora Esculapio (University of Brighton)

10:00-10:45 – Keynote
Stitched Resistance and other Genealogies: Fashioning African Sustainabilities in the 20th Century,
Dr Erica de Greef (African Fashion Research Institute & University of Cape Town)

10:45-11:00 – Q&A with Dr Erica de Greef

11:00-11:10 – Comfort Break

11:10-12:30 – Morning Session: Global Perspectives
moderated by Dr Annebella Pollen (University of Brighton)

  • Subtropical Fashioning: Care, Community and Ritual in 20th Century Queensland Textiles,
    Dr Alice Payne (Queensland University of Technology) and Judith Hickson (Queensland Museum)
  • Everything New is Non-Well Forgotten Old: Mending Practices in Eastern Post-Socialist Societies,
    Iryna Kucher (Design School Kolding)
  • Reviving Boro: The Transcultural Reconstruction of Japanese Mending Culture,
    Dr Leren Li (Royal College of Art)
  • Straw Craft Production as Contre-Plantation in Haiti and Curaçao,
    Dr Charlotte Hammond (Cardiff University)

12:30-13:00 – Morning Q&A and Discussion

13:00-14:00 – Lunch Break

14:00-15:00 – Afternoon Session: UK Perspectives,
moderated by Dani Trew (University of Brighton and Victoria & Albert Museum)

  • Back to the Future of Fashion’s Past: Re-fashioning Future Garment Making,
    Dr Matilda Aspinall (Nottingham Trent University)
  • Pioneer of the Circular Economy: The ‘Waste Products Collection’ of P.L. Simmonds,
    Hannah Auerbach George (Victoria & Albert Museum)
  • Make Do and Mend Spend: Why 1940s Austerity Provides a Poor Model for Sustainable Consumption,
    Dr Bethan Bide (University of Leeds)

15:00-15:30 – Afternoon Q&A & Discussion

15:30-15:45 – Closing Remarks
Dr Alex Nora Esculapio (University of Brighton)



Please see the conference blog for further details: https://blogs.brighton.ac.uk/fashioningsustainment/