The Research Collective for Decoloniality & Fashion (RCDF) is an experimental platform beyond institutional, disciplinary and geographical boundaries established in 2012. It aims to critique the denial and erasure of a diversity of fashioning systems due to unequal global power relations based on the modern-colonial order, the Euro-American canon of normativity and the exploitation and abuse of cultural heritages, human beings and natural resources.
Through a global network of sovereign, yet connected fashioning coalitions, we want to decentralise contemporary fashion discourse and practice, engender solidarity across multiple lines of difference and activate self-representation, self-determination and self-governance in regard to fashion. Transcending academe, we strive to experiment with other ways of knowledge-creation and sharing concerning fashion—through conversation, through listening, through the communal and coalitional and through a broad diversity of voices across age, race, gender, education, discipline and geography. We are all concerned, for we are all connected due to our relational insertion into hierarchies of power and privilege; hierarchies that we can resist and transform.
From a decolonial perspective, we aim to rethink fashion as a multitude of possibilities rather than a normative framework falsely claiming universality. In the words of leading decolonial thinker Rolando Vázquez (in Vistas of Modernity, 2020), to witness the destruction of cultural diversity, is to face a radical reduction of roads into the future.
We acknowledge that we do not own this thinking, but that there is a community producing what we are thinking; from the languages that we are using to the concepts and insights that we are suggesting. We are not thinking of this, but instead we are thinking with, from a shared legacy, from a consciousness of owing. We acknowledge our infinitive indebtedness to others
If you wish to join the Research Collective, you can fill out this form.
The Foundation & Annual General Meetings
After operating as an informal network for nearly ten years, without any structural funding and solely run by dedicated volunteers, the RCDF transitioned in the fall of 2021 into a not-for-profit foundation registered in the Netherlands. The Foundation consists of a Supervisory Board chaired by José Teunissen (Dean of the School of Design and Technology at London College of Fashion and Professor of Fashion Theory), an Advisory Board chaired by Rolando Vazquez (Associate Professor of Sociology at Utrecht University and initiator of the Maria Lugones Decolonial Summer School) and an Executive Board directed by RCDF initiator Angela Jansen. This legal structure finally allows the Collective to implement a more (financially) sustainable way of operating, by applying for funding, implementing paid activities, and receiving donations from the community.
Once a year, we organise our Annual General Meeting (AGM) as an opportunity to present the year report and for the community to feedback on the work, projects and activities as well as to suggest new initiatives and collaborations. On 10-12 December 2021, we organised our first AGM21, a three-day online event that allowed the community to connect, reflect and project on decoloniality and fashion. The programme included roundtable conversations with inspiring guests, a keynote, panel discussions with creatives and practitioners from around the world, and screenings of short fashion films from different regions. It is also an opportunity to collect voluntary (annual) donations in support of the Collective’s initiatives.
This was also the occasion for the much-anticipated launch of the first RCDF Zine, created by the Fashion and Decoloniality: Global South Crossroads Collective, and edited by the Brazilian Anthropologist Mi Medrado, highlighting the ongoing works and debates about decoloniality and fashion in Brazil.
What we have done so far…
2022 – Sarah Cheang, Leslie Rabine and Arti Sandhu (guest eds.). International Journal of Fashion Studies. ‘Special issue Decolonizing Fashion as Process.’ volume 8, number 2 (expected Autumn 2022).
2021 – Mi Medrado (ed.). RCDF Zine. ‘Decoloniality & Fashion in Brazil.’
2021 – Sarah Cheang, Erica de Greef and Takagi Yoko (eds.). Rethinking Fashion Globalisation. London: Bloomsbury.
2021 – Angela Jansen. ‘‘Other’ Fashion Exhibitions Are Disrupting Fashion’s Normativity, Now Let’s Disrupt Fashion!’ In Voices of Fashion. Black Couture, Beauty and Styles, Museum exhibition catalogue for the Centraal Museum Utrecht.
2020 – Angela Jansen and Toby Slade (guest eds.). Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body and Culture. ‘Special issue Decoloniality and Fashion.’ volume 24, number 6.
‘Fashion and the Phantasmagoria of Modernity: An Introduction to Decolonial Fashion Discourse,’ by Angela Jansen.
‘Decolonizing Luxury Fashion in Japan,’ by Toby Slade.
‘Fashion, its Sacrifice Zone, and Sustainability,’ by Sandra Niessen.
‘Decolonizing the Curriculum? Transformation, Emotion, and Positionality in Teaching,’ by Sarah Cheang and Shehnaz Suterwalla.
‘Transforming Sustainable Fashion in a Decolonial Context: The Case of Redress in Hong Kong,’ by
Anne Peirson-Smith & Jennifer Craik.
2019 – Angela Jansen. ‘Decolonising Fashion: Defying the ‘White Man’s Gaze.’ Vestoj Platform for Critical Thinking on Fashion.
2016 – Angela Jansen and Jennifer Craik (eds.). Modern Fashion Traditions: Negotiating Tradition and Modernity Through Fashion. London: Berg Publishers.
2015 – Angela Jansen and Jennifer Craik (guest eds.). International Journal of Fashion Studies. ‘Special Issue Constructing National Fashion Identities.’ Volume 2, number 1.
2019 – Research Collective for Decolonising Fashion and National Museum for World Cultures Leiden, Inter-disciplinary Critical Thinking Workshop, Leiden, The Netherland.
2019 – Research Collective for Decolonising Fashion and Jan van Eyck Academy Maastricht, ‘Conversations to Redress a Fashion Disaster,’ Maastricht, The Netherlands.
2019 – Research Collective for Decolonising Fashion and Bunka Gakuen University Tokyo, ‘Rethinking Fashion Globalization,’ Tokyo, Japan.
2016 – Non-Western Fashion Conference and the University of Antwerp, ‘Local Fashion Communities,’ Antwerp, Belgium,
2014 – Non-Western Fashion Conference and the University of Hong Kong, ‘The Global Politics of Fashion,’ Hong Kong.
2013 – Non-Western Fashion Conference and the University of the Arts London, ‘Constructing National identities,’ London, United Kingdom.
2012 Non-Western Fashion Conference and Centre Jacques-Berque Rabat, ‘Tradition/Fashion,‘ Rabat, Morocco.
2021 – Conversations on Decoloniality and Fashion. A monthly online series for academics, critical thinkers, activists and creatives to expand our collective understanding of decoloniality and its convergence with the field of fashion. As a virtual space beyond institutions, it wants 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.
2019 – Series of Masterclasses MA Activism in Arts, iArts Maastricht, The Netherlands.
2019 – Series of Masterclasses MA Fashion Strategy, Artez Arnhem, The Netherlands.