"How are technology and sustainability fostering new paradigms for fashion?" - MASTER CLASS BY Sandy Black

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8th of January
@IADE´s Campus Santos, Lisbon
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Fashion is very old fashioned” is a statement that is now made regularly by influential people in fashion, such as designer Stella McCartney and trend forecaster Li Edelkoort. Whilst clearly making good journalistic copy, this sentiment also highlights the paradoxical nature of fashion – its ethos is predicated on speed and novelty, yet the industry itself has been slow to change and develop from the practices and schedules established in the mid 20th Century, particularly in relation to both sustainability and digital technologies

Stimulated by the rise of ubiquitous mobile technology, e-commerce in the fashion space, and recent disruptive initiatives such as the ‘See now, buy now’ catwalk trend pioneered by brands Burberry and Tommy Hilfiger, the realization has grown within the industry that the current fashion system - based on bi-annual seasonal designer presentations to wholesale buyers travelling the globe between the established fashion capitals - appears increasingly inappropriate in the 21st Century digital economy. External pressures such as natural resource depletion, escalating consumption and waste, globalized, conglomerate-led markets and financial fluctuations driven by the accelerating pace of fashion cycles, coupled with high profile designer turnover at luxury fashion brands, all strongly evidence that the current fashion system is unsustainable from the perspectives of environment, economy and now its creative leadership.

How are new paradigms being fostered for the fashion industry? The talk discusses these issues and gives some examples of current innovations in the field.

About Sandy Black
Professor Sandy Black has extensive experience in both the fashion industry and academia. As designer and director of the Sandy Black Knitwear label, she sold inventive fashion knitwear to prestigious stores internationally, and developed the successful Sandy Black Original Knitting yarns and pattern kits. Sandy then entered higher education and directed undergraduate and postgraduate fashion and textiles programmes, first at University of Brighton then London College of Fashion, where she developed the innovative multi-disciplinary MA programme in Fashion Studies. She was the programmes first director until 2005, then focused on fashion research, starting the pioneering Interrogating Fashion inter-disciplinary research cluster. Sandy has conducted academic review for many institutions and for public bodies; in 2014 she was an assessment panel member for Art and Design: History, Theory, Practice in the UK Research Excellence Framework.

Sandy publishes widely on fashion, textiles and knitwear design and their intersection with technology and sustainability. Her books include the co-edited volume The Handbook of Fashion Studies (Bloomsbury 2013 h/b, 2017 p/b); the internationally acclaimed The Sustainable Fashion Handbook (Thames and Hudson 2012, London and New York); the comprehensive historical monograph Knitting: Fashion, Industry, Craft (V&A Publishing 2012), based on extensive archival and contemporary research; and one of the pioneer texts on sustainable fashion Eco Chic: the Fashion Paradox (Black Dog Publishing 2008, 2nd ed. 2011 ). Sandy founded and co-edits the academic journal Fashion Practice: Design, Creative Process and the Fashion Industry (Routledge), published since 2009, giving a voice to the practitioner and integrating research, design practice and enterprise in fashion.

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