AUP Hosts Digital Multilogue on Fashion Education


On Friday, September 25, 2020, around 300 fashion educators came together with students from 200 institutions in 40 countries across 5 continents to take part in an open-access Digital Multilogue on Fashion Education, featuring a series of provocations, conversations and workshops – all generously facilitated by some of the most inspiring voices in fashion education and related subjects. The kinds of pedagogical and philosophical questions that fashion educators are asking themselves have changed significantly in recent months: How and why does one teach fashion during a global health crisis, or indeed during any social, environmental or democratic crisis? What challenges do educators share? What experiences and solutions can be collaboratively developed?

Speakers focused on key areas of current concern: sustainability, diversity, ethics and digitization. Short provocations were given by Dilys Williams, founder and director of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, London College of Fashion; Kim Jenkins, professor of fashion studies in the fashion school at Ryerson University, Toronto, and founder of the Fashion and Race Database; and Zowie Broach, head of fashion at the Royal College of Art, London, and one half of legendary label Boudicca. A conversation entitled “fashion | education | the digital” featured Sarah Mower – MBE fashion journalist, chief critic at US Vogue, British Fashion Council Ambassador for Emerging Talent and chair of the NEWGEN committee – and Matthew Drinkwater, Head of The Fashion Innovation Agency, and was facilitated by Alistair O’Neill, professor of fashion history and theory at Central Saint Martins, London.

At the heart of the event were 18 workshops, where interaction and live multilogue took place in small groups guided by two facilitators each on a diverse range of subjects, including dream images, the future of fashion shows, time in fashion, inclusivity and circular fashion. These events illustrated the strong wish of our international participants to share ideas, learn from each other and develop solutions and collaborations.

This Digital Multilogue on Fashion Education was organized by Renate Stauss, professor of fashion studies at AUP, and Franziska Schreiber, professor of fashion design at Berlin University of the Arts. It was supported by AUP’s Civic Media Lab and Teaching and Learning Center, as well as Netzwerk Mode Textil. An overview of the multilogue, as well as recordings of the provocations, are available to view online. This multilogue is a prelude to the Fashion Education Conference , which will be held October 1–2, 2021, at The American University of Paris. The conference website includes a growing repository of fashion education sources and resources and a link to the newly launched initiative Fashion is a Great Teacher – The Fashion Education podcast.

Voices from the Digital Multilogue

"A great opportunity, it has been very inspiring." – Giulia Mensiteri, IDHES-Paris Nanterre, France

"What a fantastic, dynamic, pioneering and exciting event. … The multilogue was a first, a much-needed new approach to convening ideas, exchange of knowledge, visually super strong and critical discussion for/ about/ with fashion educators, bravo indeed and huge thanks – so important right now." – Dilys Williams, The Centre of Sustainable Fashion, LCF, UK

"… an incredible experience ... It was truly one of the most inspiring and rich conference experiences I have had to date. Congratulations on creating critical space for fashion educators to come together at such a critical time. I will be musing on the many take-aways from the provocations for many weeks/months to come and I look forward to the follow-up in person iteration next year in Paris." – Fiona Dieffenbacher, Parsons School of Design, New York, US

"Awesome info and inspirational content." – Iyesha Stolarczyk, Villioti Fashion Institute Johannesburg, South Africa

"an incredible way for everyone to start their academic year." – Zowie Broach, The Royal College of Art, UK

"An incredible event. …  I was so happy to meet and work with non-American scholars and educators who had some really refreshing perspectives … This is the first time since the pandemic began, really, that I’ve felt hopeful about the future of fashion education and the fashion industry." – Lauren Downing Peters, Columbia College Chicago, US

"Great interaction." – Shawana Khalil, Pakistan School of Fashion Designing, Pakistan

"Such a successful and inspiring conference. It was truly a wonderful feeling to be connected to these multiple worlds of fashion in so many different places, among so many different kinds of scholars, practitioners, students..." – Christina H. Moon, Parsons School of Design The New School, New York, US

"Brilliant and very informative." – Nicole Fucaloro, student, Los Angeles, US

"Excellent event and engaging afternoon" – Michela Ornati, University of Applied Sciences and Arts (SUPSI) Lugano, Switzerland