Category Archives: Responsibility

ATTEND // WEAR 2014 (Updated)


WEAR 2014 hits Toronto, Canada, November 3rd and 4th, 2014 (updated dates).

The event, presented by Canada’s Fashion Takes Action, offers keynote presentations and panel discussions from industry stakeholders on the following themes (updated themes):

  • Creating Shared Value & Profitability Through Sustainable Business Practices
  • The Evolution of Social Standards & Systems; Navigating Change
  • Make Fair, Buy Fair; Responsible Supply Chain Practices from Design through Delivery
  • Supply Chain Transparency; Tools and Trends in Visibility & Risk Management
  • Innovation, Impact & Perception: Telling New Stories



READ// Women in Clothes

Cover Images

We first caught wind of the epic collection that is Women in Clothes via Facebook from Zoe Welch, who contributed to the project.

Most wonderfully, you can read through participant survey answers online!

Although the book is now published, the project survey itself is still online, which we think would make an awesome classroom activity!

Edited by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits and Leanne Shapton, Women in Clothes captures the voices and stories of 600 contributors from across the world.

Through interviews, conversations, surveys, diagrams and drawings, and with original contributions from a wide range of people, including established artists and writers like Miranda July, Molly Ringwald, Eileen Myles, Mona Kowalska, Rachel Kushner, Roxane Gay and Sarah Nicole Prickett, Women in Clothes will explore the multiplicity of motives that inform how women present themselves, and what style means (Women in Clothes)

Women in Clothes

The Editors of the book sat down with Jian Ghomeshi for an interview on the CBC, click here to check it out. The spirit of the book, according to Shapton, comes down to connections with strangers (Leanne Shapton, on CBC Radio).

So looking forward to reading this!


Images via the Women and Clothes Facebook page.

EXHIBIT// Politics of Fashion | Fashion of Politics

Canada’s QUEEN of fashion, Jeanne Beker, is guest curator for an upcoming exhibit at The Design Exchange on the intersection of politics and fashion!

The exhibit covers political fashion from 1960 to the present including a paper dress covered with Pierre Trudeau’s face during the Trudeaumania days, fur coats splattered by PETA, skinhead fashion, and a few pieces from Jeremy Scott’s Arab Spring collection.

Here is Jeanne Beker chatting with the KING of radio, Jian Ghomeshi (big fans!), on Q today and doing an AMAZING job discussing fashion theory, elucidating on the deeper meanings behind fashion, and even adding a few points on second-hand clothing, consumerism, fast fashion, cultural appropriation and thoughtlessness within the fashion industry:


This exhibit is definitely on our #fashionbucketlist next time we’re in Toronto! Politics of Fashion | Fashion of Politics runs from September 18th – January 25th, 2015.

READ// Summer reading, and/or back to school prep!


Yes, yes, we know it’s not even August yet, but September is just around the corner, and, in any case, maybe you’re looking for some summer reading?

With this in mind, we’ve added more resources to our reading list, including a free ebook on sustainable fashion from Aalto University (thanks to Timo Rissanen for sharing the link on his site) and a link to the juicy reading list from

As always, please note that our reading list is in no way exhaustive; if you’re on the hunt for something specific, a particular article, author or topic, just drop us a note on Twitter or Facebook and we’ll see if we can help.

READ // The Current State of Fashion, Otto von Busch

New tracts - The Current State of Fashion

Friends, two new tracts from the Current State of Fashion are out:

Tractatus Fashionablo-Politicus: The Political Philosophy of The Current State of Fashion and The Mark of Cain: The Aesthetic Superiority of the Fashionable.

In the Current State of Fashion, Otto von Busch asks,

“What if fashion was a state? What kind of state would it be? Probably not a democracy. Something more sinister, more controlling, more elitist; a state of exclusion and violence.

“A state with no dictator, but with a population all too eager to follow every command and demarcation. A population that happily embrace the superiority consumerism evokes and turn the terror to each other through acts of judgments, micro-aggression, micro-violence, bullying and passionate micro-fascism. Fashion is a totalitarian state hidden under the consumer paradigm of ‘free choice’, a mythical superpower with a political mannerism in the footsteps of what political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls ‘Inverted Totalitarianism’.

“This is the Current State of Fashion.” (Source: The Current State of Fashion)

Both tracts are available for free download, and also available for purchase through Amazon.

Happy reading!

Call for Papers // Fashion Theory Special Issue: Brazilian Fashion

Fashion Theory, a premier journal in the academic study of fashion, seeks articles for a special issue on Brazilian Fashion.

The issue will be guest edited by Dr. Rita M. Andrade (Universidade Federal de Goiás, Brazil) and Dr. Regina A. Root (The College of William and Mary, USA).

About the journal:

Fashion Theory takes as its starting point a definition of ‘fashion’ as the cultural construction of the embodied identity. The importance of studying the body as a site for the deployment of discourses has been well established in a number of disciplines. Until Fashion Theory’s launch in 1997 the dressed body had suffered from a lack of critical analysis. Increasingly scholars have recognized the cultural significance of self-fashioning, including not only clothing but also such body alterations as tattooing and piercing. 

Fashion Theory provides an international and interdisciplinary forum for the rigorous analysis of cultural phenomena. Its peer-reviewed articles range from foot-binding to fashion advertising.

Click below to download the full call for papers:

Fashion Theory: Brazilian Fashion

Deadline for abstract submission (300 words): August 1st, 2014; act fast!

Fashion in Fiction 2014 Conference: Style Stories and Transglobal Narratives, Hong Kong


Friends, Nadira will be presenting some of our most recent research at the Fashion in Fiction 2014 conference at City University of Hong Kong on Friday, June 13th. Our research will be presented under Panel 2.5: Sustainable Fashion and Ethical Fashion Brands in Practice. 

The theme of the conference is ‘Style Stories and Transglobal Narratives’ and the agenda is packed with a great line-up of presenters, including Efrat Tseëlon.

Take a look at the schedule and let us know what you’re interested in learning more on – we’ll see if we can gather some data for you.

The conference runs from 12-14 of June, with an event on the 15th.

The online catalogue is available here.

And if you’ll be in HK for this event, drop Nadira a line!

Call for Papers: Symposium on Contemporary South Asian Youth Cultures and Fashion


On 25th and 26th September, 2014, The London College of Fashion will host a symposium to explore contemporary South Asian cultures and fashion in relation to youth.

Suggested themes include:

  • fashion and consumer cultures
  • fashioning youth in cinema /television/music/magazines
  • dress cultures, gender and sexuality
  • fashion, politics and faith
  • South Asian fashion trends and culture in the diasporas
  • dress and fashion as resistance and defiance
  • fashion, media and technology

The deadline on the call for participation is fast approaching: March 30th.

Click here for details, via The South Asianist Blog

WATCH // Indigenous New Media Symposium

On February 21st, the School of Media Studies at The New School hosted a symposium on Indigenous new media.  Lucky for us, the event was livestreamed!

Indigenous New Media Symposium

Speakers for the symposium included Dr. Jessica R. Metcalfe of Beyond Buckskin and Adrienne Keene of Native Appropriations.

Click here for an overview of some of the key issues, here for speaker bios and here to connect.

Thanks to Timo Rissanen for posting about this event.

Symposium webpage:

Olympic Pride & Hidden Narratives

Hudson's Bay Unveils Official Parade Uniforms for Canadian Olympic Team at Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremony (CNW Group/Hudson's Bay Company)

Hudson’s Bay Unveils Official Parade Uniforms for Canadian Olympic Team at Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremony (CNW Group/Hudson’s Bay Company)

There have been quite a few articles on the Sochi 2014 olympic fashion so let’s talk about the uniforms. 

As a Canadian, I have mixed feelings about the uniforms designed by the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC). The historical significance of this company, which predates the official establishment of Canada, cannot be underestimated. HBC’s history as a crown charter is so intertwined with that of the birth of the Canadian colonies that the two stories cannot be told separately. Our history curriculum inevitably discusses the voyageurs [fur trappers] and the Hudson’s Bay Company’s fur trading posts along Hudson Bay, usually as a starting point to the story of Canada [for more on that story, see here]. Yes, I recognize that this is a Euro-centric view that privileges the colonial settler experience over that of the original native inhabitants.

The Voyageurs by ONFB , National Film Board of Canada

Anyway, so the uniforms…actually, I’m mostly talking about the wool coats; those convey strong sense of symbolism for Canadians. The maple red with a bold black stripe are a direct reference to the iconic HBC blanket, as you’ll see in the video below by the Textile Museum of Canada. It was introduced in 1780 as a trading item at the fur trading posts and became very popular, particularly with the First Nations [read about that history here]. Since then, it has become quite literally a physical manifestation of Canadian identity – a difficult feat for a country that struggles with the question of identity.

Here is the issue with this uniform, and the HBC blanket in general, it embodies two narratives. On the one hand, it symbolizes an enduring link to the voyageurs and all that they represent – the spirit of exploration in a vast rugged wilderness, their strength and pride in the face of adversity, their determination to survive harsh winters which has now also become part of Canadian identity [seriously, people can recount the details of winters past], so much so that the Canadian Olympic Committee slogan for Sochi 2014 is #wearewinter accompanied by Canadian poetry that depicts these attitudes of winter survival. These are the positive associations invoked when our athletes wear this uniform, adding to the sense of Canadian pride and belonging to what Benedict Anderson called the ‘imagined community’.

However, the blankets also hold negative associations. There is evidence that the HBC blanket was linked to the infection of the First Nations people with smallpox at Fort Pitt during the Pontiac Rebellion

This uniform, by association to the HBC blanket, embodies a hidden narrative linked to this aspect of a huge historical trauma inflicted on the First Nations. Are we acknowledging this trauma by celebrating the blanket’s heritage? This is problematic because as this commentary points out:

“Much of the colonial legacy has been swept under the rug, with Canada’s subaltern having little voice in the processes of historiography […] Those privileged by the outcomes of history have had the power to manipulate a symbol representing an inconvenient stain on Canada’s reputation. The erasure of the blanket’s genocidal connotations draws an uncomfortable parallel to the consistent oversight of the subaltern within discourses of Canadian history and identity.”

And this is why I am conflicted over this uniform.