Earth, Water, Air, And Fire: The Four Elements Of Fashion

Università Iuav di Venezia March 16, 2023, March 17, 2023

Earth, Water, Air, And Fire: The Four Elements Of Fashion

INTERNATIONAL FASHION CONFERENCE Organised by Università Iuav di Venezia March 16-17, 2023 Venice, Italy

Convenors Anneke Smelik, Radboud University of Nijmegen Alessandra Vaccari, Università Iuav di Venezia

Sun, air, water and soil are in most of the clothes we wear. In the era of ecological crisis, this international conference aims to investigate the new paradigms of fashion cultures through the four archetypal elements of matter. By doing so, it shifts the attention towards the material and sensory aspects of fashion, features that have been largely neglected by fashion studies over the past forty years. This approach fits in the current debate on the ‘material turn’ inspired by de-centering the human and re-centering matter and the materiality of things, objects, technologies, and bodies (Latour, 2007; Rocamora and Smelik, 2016; Lehmann, 2019; Smelik 2021). The conference proposes to analyse this ontological shift through the redefinition of the substance of fashion and its history. In Western and non-Western cultures matter is conceived as a coexistence of multiple elements following a tradition that includes, among others, the cosmological treatise of Aristotle, the Hinduist and Buddhist meditations on the ‘primary material elements’ (mahabhutas), and Jābir ibn Hayyān’s alchemy. The conference will take place in the context of Venice, a city that emerged from water through a process of significant anthropisation, and in which life rhythms and movements historically coexist and are dependent on a critically changing environment. Venice has a long experience with phenomena such as the high tide (acqua alta) and the increasing submersion of the emerged land; but also with air and water pollution due to the nearby petrochemical pole of Porto Marghera and the cruise ships traffic.

The conference aims to provide a fertile ground for interdisciplinary and transnational dialogue to respond to the sustainable fashion challenges posed by the Anthropocene (Payne, 2019), and to envision possible futures engendered by an environmentally and socially aware fashion culture and industry (Vaccari and Vanni, 2021). Scholars, researchers, educators, and practitioners in the fields of fashion theory, history, and design are invited to send a proposal on the themes illustrated at the website url:

Important dates Abstract submissions by 16 October 2022 Selected abstracts notification by 30 November 2022 Registration by 31 January 2023. Regular fee: 140 €; reduced fee (PhD and MA students): 80 € Conference: 16-17 March 2023 Full paper submission for publication (optional) by 30 April 2023

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