Organising a Conference: Ethical Fashion Futures

It’s too late to turn back now, together with fellow PhDer Ellie Tighe, I am organising an ethical fashion conference ‘Ethical Fashion Futures: Changing Habits in Retail’. We came up with the idea of planning a conference in spring 2012 when we attended a one-day event run by some of our colleagues. Ellie went away to Dhaka for a couple of months over the summer and when she came back we set about planning our own one-day event.

As much as people like to think I’m doing a fashion PhD, I’m not. My PhD is about retail but it’s about a very specific type of second-hand retail of baby things, so I can’t say that the conference is directly related to my research. It is however, clearly a major passion of mine and I felt that not only would it be a great networking opportunity to organise my own event, there is also a real need for such an event to bring together academics, industry professionals and other interested parties to discuss the future of ethical fashion. Ethical fashion has certainly gained a huge amount of momentum over the last few years, but there is a long way to go to change the way we make clothes on a mass scale and shop. I’m not expecting instant solutions, but I am hoping the event will at least generate discussion, debate and ideas.

We started out with a thought, to organise a one-day event geared up to postgrads and early career professionals, and things fell into place quite quickly. We put a funding bid into our faculty at the University of Southampton and won enough money to cover speaker expenses on the day. It was a great feeling to have the backing of the faculty and academics within the department. Drawing on our joint contacts we now have a number of speakers lined up for the day (Saturday 9th March 2013). These include Charlie Ross from the Offset Warehouse and Clara Vuletich from the Chelsea College of Art for the morning session, and Dionne Harrison from Impactt and Dr. Kanchana Ruwanpura from the University of Southampton for the afternoon session. In addition, we hope to attract a representative from a major high street retailer to discuss their ethical trade policies.

Rooms are booked, food is ordered and registration is live. If you are a research student we are currently accepting abstracts for posters or talks (email e.j.waight@soton.ac.uk for more info) or if you work in the industry we’d love to share promotional literature with our attendees so feel free to get in contact if you’d like to send us anything.

Registration is £10 which covers lunch and refreshments. Click here to book.

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