Geographies of Fashion and Style

18 December 2017, 10.30 AM - 18 December 2017, 6.00 PM

Peel Lecture Theatre, School of Geographical Sciences, University Road, Bristol BS8 1SS

A symposium exploring the creative and contested geographies of fashion and style.

Research on fashion within geography has importantly problematized the labour geographies and post-colonial politics of the contemporary garment industry. More recently, geographers have begun to recognise the cultural and creative significance and power of fashion.

What is sometimes missing from Geography’s engagement with fashion is a conversation with fashion scholars and designers, who have insider knowledge of the industry and its practices. As such, this event brings together geographers, fashion scholars and designers to create a space of interdisciplinary conversation.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided. See below for registration information.

Symposium schedule:

10.30am Registration and Welcome 

11am Introductory Lecture

Ian Cook (Exeter University) ‘Who made my clothes? MOOCing crowd research on everyday consumption’

11.45am Coffee/Tea/Cake Break 

12pm Fashion Cities/ Fashioning the City

Bethan Bide (Middlesex University) 'Re-imagining London fashion - mapping the changing relationships between material and symbolic networks of production and consumption after the Second World War'

Helen Mears (University of Brighton/ Brighton and Hove Museums) 'Fashion Cities Africa: exhibiting 'new' fashion geographies?'

1pm Lunch

2pm Nature in Fashion – Histories and Futures

Carole Collet (Central Saint Martins/ Design and Living Systems Lab) 'Co-designing with natural living systems'

Merle Patchett (University of Bristol) 'Avian-accessory as archive: a willowed ostrich plume reveals violent geographies of growing and making'

3pm Coffee/Tea/Cake Break

3.15pm Thinking Through Style

Adeola Enigbokan (University of Amsterdam) 'Appropriate style: dress and the claiming of urban public space'

Nina Williams (University of Bristol) 'Theorising style: from genres to practices'

4.15pm Coffee/Tea Break

4.30pm Keynote Lecture

Louise Crewe (University of Nottingham) ‘The geographies of fashion: bio-commodification, dissociation & scale'

In this lecture I invite you to join me on a journey. A journey into the secret life of clothes. A journey that connects people, places and objects together in ways that are scarcely imaginable. A journey that spans scale, from the world to the body; and traverses from here to there and everywhere in between. Our journey will reveal how the fashion industry has actively used geographical strategies of association and dissociation to create and reproduce value. The fashion industry has been adept at bringing certain spaces, places and people into high relief whilst masking the global inequalities, abuses of labour standards and environmental catastrophes that underpin the industry. It has convinced consumers to be seduced into paying hugely inflated prices for branded goods. The lecture argues for a relational view of scale that begins to break down many of the assumptions about discrete fashion spaces. It reveals the complex connections between bodies and economy, between life and capital. That which seems most priceless – sentient life – is being commodified and marketised in important ways. The distinctions between fast and slow, luxury and discount, here and there, begin to unravel during the course of our journey, revealing a number of unequal and unsettling geographies of fashion in the making.


This event is open to all and you can either:

1) Register for the whole day for £5 (to help cover the cost of lunch and refreshments).


2) Come along to Louise Crewe's Public Keynote Lecture that takes place at 4.30pm in the Peel Lecture Theatre for free.

Contact information

Merle Patchett or Nina Williams


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