Disrupting Fashion; from Yesterday’s Heritage to Tomorrow’s Future
SEPTEMBER 10-11 2019, ROME, SEPTEMBER 12 special guided visits


THE FASHION COLLOQUIA is made up of a core network of 4 institutions (IFM-Paris, Parsons-New York, LCF-London, Domus-Milan) connected by their residence and involvement in the four big ‘Fashion weeks’ across the globe and housed at the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London.

Attracting a rich variety of contributions from a broad selection of people – from academia, media and practice – and utilize contributions for uploading to a newly established international repository for fashion.

At each colloquium there will be a mixture of specific themes of particular relevance to the specific location, and series themes, which will allow different sets of contributions to be added and explored. Some events at each of the colloquia will be streamed ‘live’ to pre-registered users. We also aim to upload all the content from each colloquium. Previous Fashion Colloquia addressed a variety of topics, including: New Luxury (Arnhem, May 2018), local production (Ho Chi Min, July 2016); Sustainable development in social, economic, environmental, cultural and geographic dimensions (Sao Paulo, April 2016); The future of the fashion weeks (Milan, September 2015).



Accademia Costume & Moda, founded in 1964 by the academic, designer of costume and fashion Rosana Pistolese, who’s vision was to shape and support the cultural heritage of Italian Costume and Fashion industries in an innovative approach taking into consideration the interaction between these two fields. Today the Accademia is run by the founder’s family, third generation.

A coherent balance across research and culture, design and product, Italy, and the tight collaboration with the most relevant protagonists of both industries, have led Accademia Costume & Moda to be the nest of current and future designers and communicators within a variety of fields.

Accademia today is ranked n.1 in Italy for accredited courses, and n.11 in the world by The Business of Fashion, Global Fashion School’s RankingAlumni today include the Creative Director of Gucci, Alessandro Michele, his predecessor Frida Giannini, Albino D’Amato, Maurizio Galante and many among the most important professionals of the Global Fashion Industry. The Accademia has a placement ratio of well above 80% on total population in the most prestigious international fashion houses. In the last years the Accademia and it’s students have been awarded with most prestigious global prizes such as the LVMH Graduate Prize in Paris, The Camera Nazionale della Moda Fashion Trust Prize in Milan, The Mittelmoda Fashion AwardThe Dorothy Waxman Textile Prize in NY, the Designers for Tomorrow Prize in Berlin, Vogue Talents and selected finalists at well knowns contests such as International Talent Support, ITS, in Trieste.

With regards to the entertainment industry, Accademia is the proud starting point for Academy Award winners like Manlio Rocchetti (“Driving Miss Daisy”) also nominated for the BAFTA Awards for “Gangs of New York“, Isabella Rossellini, and top level costume tailors like Francesca Sartori and Gianna Gissi, both winners of several David di Donatello (Italian Oscar Awards), Stefano Canulli (Costume Designer for Cirque du Soleil, Illustrator and close collaborator of Thierry Mugler on various projects) or professionals who have styled global celebrities.

Knowledge is power, culture and historical subjects are still vibrantly interconnected. The aim of the Accademia is to enhance these aspects together with an in depth critical approach to take research, knowledge and competence into the future. Designers and communicators as thinkers able to envision, design and interpret the future of our worlds and societies. Suzy Menkes visiting the Accademia described it as “A Haven for Culture, Art & Design”, and opened the discussion on: “Is Fashion performing Art?



Fashion Colloquium:
Disrupting Fashion; from Yesterday’s Heritage to Tomorrow’s Future
September 10,11, 2019 – Rome, Italy


Scientific Committee

  • Leslie Holden_ Head of Postgraduate Studeies, AMFI
  • Ian King_ Professor, London College of Fashion and University of the Arts, London
  • Adrien Roberts_ Director of Education, Accademia Costume & Moda
  • Valerie Steele_ Director and chief curator of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York (MFIT). Museum at FIT
  • Archana Surana_ Founder and Director of the ARCH College of Design and Business
  • Barbara Trebitsch_Director Academic Programmes, Accademia Costume & Moda

Confucius stated: “Study the past, if you want to define the future”. To disrupt or to innovate is only possible when one masters culture and technologies of the past. The question is no longer “if” but “how” and “why”: How to question the future, how to interpret changes that have already disrupted the concept of fashion worldwide, how technologies will support the continuous development toward a responsible industry, how makers, (the new craftsperson) will drive this change, how designers will interpret social changes and how they will balance their approach within the brand’s requirements, DNA and the general evolution of both distribution and communication.

The Colloquium aims to investigate the roots of disruption, the future relationship between the industry system, heritage, costume and fashion.

Guests and speakers will be welcomed into one of the most fascinating location in Rome, a 1925 building designed by Arch. Vincenzo Fasolo, immersed in beauty and history, having the opportunity to interact with panels made up of renowned international names from Accademia Institutional and Industry network, as well as with international academics. Guests will also have the opportunity to reserve special guided tours of the costume houses in Rome or in Reggio Emilia to visit the unique archives of Modateca Deanna and the impressive work of Ricami Laura.

Keywords: Heritage, History, Tradition, Craftsperson/Maker, Industry, Costume and Fashion Interface, Performance, Language, Haute Couture, Accessories, Made in Italy, Innovation, Sustainability, Technology, Design Research, Industry Disruption.

Conference Theme
“What we actually see are not the bodies but the clothes of those around us. It is from their clothes that we form a first impression of our fellows when we meet them. The interpretation of facial features requires a certain closeness.” (Flugel,J,C), “The Psychology of Clothes” 1930). Psychology of Clothes is related to a society completely different from ours, still the construction of a character, of an identity is utterly predominant in our fashion age. Fashion and Costume have never been so overlapped, actuating a game across different visions and redefining what Fashion is, or would mean to be nowadays. The last MET exhibition and gala explored this world of references around the catholic church; “Bolton suggests that “80%” of the modern Western fashion artefacts that he researched were inspired by Catholicism and many of France, Italy and Britain’s most prominent design talents were raised as Catholics. (Caroline Leaper the telegraph 2018).

This scenario is already evolving thanks to a wide number of designers and professionals from different cultures; still can we talk about heritage as a nurturing identity for fashion to come? May we state where is the difference between designing a costume to underline the psychology of a character and a collection for a Persona?“the still current importance of heritage in generating new design and exhibition practices”. (Martin, Vacca 2018) is part of a wide discussion on the evolution of heritage and on the current practices to disrupt fashion system and models through an in-depth analysis of the past.

How history and heritage can lead to disruption? Where fashion disruption should start from? The greater innovator in our Industry have always arised from authenticity, from history roots, not simply to replicate but to question them and to create new languages.

We live in a moment where fashion rules are in flux, where the fashion system has been put into question, from design to supply chain, distribution, to languages, methods of communication and to the interaction with final users. Therefore, we are looking for contributions from academics, students and practitioners to further investigate the theme and open cross discussions.

No session will be overlapped to offer each contributor the chance to attend and discuss other’s investigations. Therefore we intend to propose sharp sessions to synthesize concepts visions and projects. Other forms of presentation such as films or performances will be taken into consideration. Please remind that short, synthetic and meaningful presentations (visual) will be welcome (timing not more than 10/15 minutes each). We believe this is a challenge, but it will allow us to offer a wider view on the themes to all participants and to keep the excitement high.

We welcome contributions related to the following subthemes:

  • The role of Heritage to establish new paradigms
  • Fashion and Costume curating, moving beyond different visual narratives
  • Innovating aesthetics
  • Social responsibility and Responsible Innovation within the frames of tradition. CSR; economics and sustainability.
  • The role of authenticity within materials, manufacture and communication, from supply chain to digital narratives.
  • Innovative business and design models for heritage disruption
  • Fluid Fashion aesthetics and new languages …

Call for Abstracts
We want people from all types of background, interested in the future of fashion, to contribute, to challenge us and come to Rome to make a difference!
We invite abstracts (to be developed into full papers after selection) related to the conference theme and subthemes. There will be a special student track for MA and PhD students.
Abstracts should meet the following requirements:

  • All abstracts must have a title and a word count of about 600 words, (a A4 page), written in English;
  • Include all contact information (name of author, affiliation, email address, phone number). In case of multiple authors, please indicate who is the corresponding author;
  • Relation to the conference theme / subthemes should be clearly indicated.
  • If you are an MA or PhD student, please indicate this;
  • Submit as a Microsoft Word file.

Please send your contribution to not later than March the 29th2019.
Selected proposals will be notified by May the 15th2019

Of course, not everyone might want to present, so if you would rather just attend, then please register at not later than June the 30 2019.
We will keep you updated about the guided tours.