Newsletter 2022#1

Dear RCDF Community,

We hope you feel excited and energised for the new year ahead. We are looking forward to continuing building on a strong and viable foundation, securing a sustainable flow of income through funding and donations, as well as improving and expanding the activities and projects that are already in place. For the monthly Conversations, for example, we would like to facilitate more languages, pay our conveners and guests a (modest) honorarium, and develop a database of (open access) digital sources. For our (online) courses on decoloniality and fashion, we would like to increase our collaborations with institutions all over the world and for our Annual General Meeting, we would like to develop a Decolonial Fashion Film Festival.

In December 2021, we had our first RCDF Annual General Meeting, which was a great experience. Our chair of the Advisory board and decolonial thinker Rolando Vazquez very generously shared his knowledge and ideas on what decoloniality can mean for fashion studies on the first day. While the Brazilian coalition set the bar very hight for the RCDF’s Zine, with a very strong and beautifully designed first edition. On day two, Eleni Kalantidou led an inspiring conversation on Design in the Borderlands with a group of fascinating practitioners from different parts of the world. Khanyi Mpumlwana, who is a member of the Advisory Board, did a great job at moderating the ‘decolonial fashion movie night,’ which we hope to make a regular component of our AGM. You can read all about it in the Reflections by Victoria Maung and/or watch the recordings on the brand new RCDF YouTube channel.

With a new year, we have started a new series of Conversations on Decoloniality and Fashion, which once more, transcending academe, aims to experiment with decentralising ways of knowledge-creation and sharing regarding fashion – through conversation, through the communal and coalitional, and through a radical act of listening across age, race, gender, education, discipline and geography. As a result of the survey, we have switched from first Saturdays to the first Thursday of the month, so we can all enjoy our weekends. Besides text, the selected works now include audio and video, which allow automated translation captions and therefore facilitate more languages.

We are also in full preparation of our first Global Fashioning Assembly, scheduled for October 2022, which is our decolonial response to our inaugural academic Non-Western Fashion Conference (NWFC) that initiated the creation of the Collective in October 2012. Despite its best intentions, we have come to understand that the academic format—based on exclusively English abstract submissions and paper presentations—is not inclusive. Who gets to speak is not acknowledged. In addition, peer reviewing processes focus on certain academic qualities and privilege a system of gate-keeping that is eurocentric and colonial. Ten years later, we wish to create a platform and programme that breaks with these discriminating and hegemonic practices. With the format of a global assembly, the Collective wants to experiment with decentralised ways of knowledge creation and sharing that empowers and honours cultural, historical and epistemological diversities.

Furthermore, we have news to share from our coalitional partners as well as some exciting publications, exhibitions, podcasts, courses and calls.

We hope you enjoy this newsletter.

The RCDF team

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