Conversations on Decoloniality and Fashion

Conversations on Decoloniality and Fashion is a monthly online series organised by the Research Collective for Decolonizing Fashion for academics, critical thinkers, activists and creatives. The Conversations series seeks to expand our collective understanding of decoloniality and its convergence with the field of fashion. It aims to address the foundational knowledge within the field of fashion, at the very heart of our understandings of fashion. While fashion, as a noun has been appropriated and defined according to a temporality (contemporaneity), a system (of unequal power relations) and an industry (of capitalism) particular to modernity, fashioning the body, as a verb, is of all temporalities and geographies. Starting February 2021, each month Angela Jansen, Erica de Greef and Shayna Goncalves are hosting a one-hour online conversation centred around a selected reading to critique and rethink the fashion system from a decolonial perspective.

The Conversations series wishes to critique the denial and erasure of a diversity of ways of fashioning the body due to unequal global power relations based on modern-colonial order, the Euro-American canon of normativity and the exploitation and abuse of cultural heritages, human beings and natural resources. As a virtual space beyond institutions, we want to experiment with other ways of knowledge-production and sharing in regard to fashion studies –  through conversation, through the communal, and through a broad diversity of voices across age, race, gender, education, discipline and geography. Through this format, we hope to create a safe space for sharing our individual and collective journeys as we decolonise and emancipate our own thinking in regard to fashion; a space where everyone is respectful of each other’s’ voices, opinions and intellectual content.

The Conversations on Decoloniality and Fashion are organised online every first Saturday of the month from 8-9:30pm GMT to accommodate as diverse a global participation as possible. It is free for everyone to join, and the main language is English. To registration for the Conversations (required) please send an email to mangelajansen@gmail.com. Every month you will receive the required zoom link and the selected reading for the following session. Participants are asked to read the article in advance of the meeting to maximize the discussion.  

Programme 2021

1. Saturday, 06 February 2021 on ‘Contemporary Fashion and modernity/coloniality’
Selected Reading: Jansen, Angela. 2020. ‘Fashion and the Phantasmagoria of Modernity: An Introduction to Decolonial Fashion Discourse.’ Fashion Theory: Fashion and Decoloniality.
2. Saturday, 06 March 2021 on ‘Some Key Propositions of Decolonial Thinking’
Selected Reading: Walter Mignolo and Catherine Walsh. 2018. ‘Introduction.’ In On Decoloniality – Concepts, Analytics and Praxis. Edited by Walter Mignolo and Catherine Walsh. Duke University Press. Pp. 1-12.
3. Saturday, 03 April 2021 on ‘Modernity/Coloniality and Sustainability in Fashion’
Selected Reading: Sandra Niessen. 2020. ‘Fashion, its Sacrifice Zone, and Sustainability.’ Fashion Theory: Fashion and Decoloniality.
4. Saturday, 01 May 2021 on ‘Decolonial AestheSis and Fashion’
Selected Reading: Walter Mignolo and Rolando Vázquez, “Decolonial AestheSis: Colonial Wounds/Decolonial Healings”, Social Text Periscope, 2013.
5. Saturday, 05 June 2021 on ‘Modernity/Coloniality and Luxury Fashion’
Selected Reading: Toby Slade. 2020. ‘Decolonizing Luxury Fashion in Japan.’ Fashion Theory: Fashion and Decoloniality.
6. Saturday, 03 July 2021 on ‘The Role of Fashion in Global Unequal Power Relations
Selected Reading: Anibal Quijano. 2008. ‘Coloniality of Power, Eurocentrism and Social Classification.’ In Coloniality at Large: Latin America and the Postcolonial Debate. Edited by Mabel Morna, Enrique Dussel, and Carlos A. Jauregui.
7. Saturday, 04 September 2021 on ‘Decolonizing the Fashion Curriculum’
Selected Reading: Sarah  Cheang and Shehnaz Suterwalla. 2020. ‘Decolonizing the Curriculum? Transformation, Emotion, and Positionality in Teaching. Fashion Theory: Fashion and Decoloniality.
8. Saturday, 02 October 2021 on ‘Fashion’s Dynamics of Erasure’
Selected Reading: Rolando Vázquez. 2010. ‘Modernity, the Greatest Show on Earth: Thoughts on Visibility.’ Borderlands e-journal vol 9 nr 2.
9. Saturday, 6 November 2021 on ‘Fashion Curation and the Role of Museums’
Selected Reading: Erica de Greef. 2020. ‘Curating Fashion as Decolonial Practice: Ndwalane’s Mblaselo and a Politics of Remembering.’ Fashion Theory: Fashion and Decoloniality.
10. Saturday, 4 December. 2021 on ‘Fashion and the End of the Contemporary’
Selected Reading: Rolando Vázquez. 2018. ‘The Museum, Decoloniality and the End of the Contemporary.’ In The Future of the New, Artistic Innovation in Times of Social Acceleration. Edited by Thijs Lijster.

Angela Jansen

Angela Jansen is an independent researcher based in Belgium and the founder of the Research Collective for Decolonizing Fashion (RCDF, 2012). She holds a PhD in cultural anthropology (Leiden University 2010) and is the author of Moroccan Fashion: Design, Tradition and Modernity (Bloomsbury 2014). She is also the co-editor with Jennifer Craik of Modern Fashion Traditions: Negotiating Tradition and Modernity Through Fashion (Bloomsbury 2016) and the guest-editor with Toby Slade of the special issue of Fashion Theory on Decoloniality and Fashion (Vol 24:6, 2020). Her scholarship grows out of an effort to underwrite a firmly ongoing critique concerning Eurocentricity in dress and fashion studies. In addition to publishing and lecturing, she is involved in diverse fashion events and museum exhibitions.


Erica de Greef

Erica de Greef is a fashion academic, curator, researcher and sustainable culture activist with a keen focus on African fashion, based in Cape Town, South Africa. In 2019 she co-founded the African Fashion Research Institute with Lesiba Mabitsela. They host and support projects, and new knowledge productions that creatively and critically position the politics, power and poetics of contemporary African fashion. She holds a PhD in African Studies (University of Cape Town, South Africa), titled Sartorial Disruptions, that explored the persistence of colonial and apartheid legacies two decades after the end of apartheid that continue to mark South African museum collections of dress and fashion. As Fashion Curator at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art (MOCAA) from 2018-2019, she led the fashion department’s exhibition, collection and public programming. She has also lectured and published widely with a focus on decolonising fashion studies from the Global South.

Shayna Stephanie Goncalves

Shayna Goncalves works in fashion as a social equity activist, a gender researcher, and a creative director. She holds an MA in Fashion Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Gender and Sexuality Studies from Parsons New School for Design. Her thesis looked at the miniskirt rape of Nwabisa Ngcukana to address the Intersectional experience of being female, black, and African. Her work deals with subjectivity, identity politics, and post-colonial theory. She is currently interested in the work of rev. angel Kyodo williams, M. Jacqui Alexander, Rosario Morales, bell hooks and Thich Nhat Hahh to integrate poetic story-telling, healing, love and spiritual knowledge into her structure of activism.

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