It is increasingly urgent to create interventions in the current fashion system and to redefine its meaning and relevance. The ‘Fashion Colloquium: Searching for the New Luxury’ will explore how to transition to a more resilient, inclusive and regenerative future of fashion. Re-generative societies can be viewed as holistic self-sustaining and self-designing ecosystems – a form of biomimicry and thus ‘innovation inspired by nature’ (Benyus 2009). 


The critical word here is ‘abundance’: mimicking natural systems that enable us to focus on what is possible instead of being restrained by how we should reduce our negative impact on the planet. From working against the earth, this paradigm shift entails a transition to an engaged collaboration with the earth and its abundant resources. The ‘Fashion Colloquium: Searching for the New Luxury’ will critically reflect on how this affects the meaning of ‘luxury’ in contemporary culture and society.


New (bio-)technologies, digital platforms and manufacturing processes are already being explored for their potential to overturn conventional concepts of luxury and set a more responsible agenda for the future of the industry. It is increasingly urgent to design with a purpose (Brismar 2015) and to envision a more responsible and ethical engagement with material objects that surround our bodies and living spaces. The world needs imagination and experimentation in order to develop a new kind of aesthetics and connectivity (Margolin 2007). Not just in the design of new textiles, materials and artefacts, but also in the crafting of radical new business models and forms of organization (King 2013). Aesthetics is essential to sustainability since ‘the aesthetic experience can lead to an emotional connection between object and subject, which creates a bond’ (Harper 2012). Therefore, aesthetics – in particular the imaginary power of fashion – is crucial in order to design for ‘emotional durability’ (Chapman 2009).  


We need more critical fashion practices and critical theories to “fashion” a more ethical, inclusive and responsible reality – expressed by an imagination that connects us to the world by conveying these new values in an engaging way. And we are looking for interventions and ‘objects that almost become a new category of objects’ (Sudjic 2008: 57). The ‘Fashion Colloquium: Searching for the New Luxury’ thus underlines the importance of redefining value systems – starting from our own fundamental human values.


  • New materials, living materials, biomimicry, biotechnologies 
  • Strategies to design for closed loops; innovation, novel business models and different types of value chains   
  • Emotional connectivity, aesthetic sustainability, emotional durability 
  • The role of purpose in moving beyond economic value, towards human values, ethical values, emotional values, social values and cultural values 
  • The importance of agency; embodied subjectivity, ethical subjectivity and material agency 
  • Developing a new kind of aesthetics, with a special role for all the senses 
  • Fashion’s power to create desire and imaginary worlds in order to transition into a more regenerative future society 
  • The role of resilience in fashion and design 
  • Other innovations that challenge our understanding of ‘new luxury’ 

The Fashion Colloquium 2108 is organized by ArtEZ University of the Arts, in collaboration with State of Fashion.

ArtEZ University of the Arts

ArtEZ University of the Arts has a strong tradition and international reputation in Fashion Design with award winning courses and many renowned graduates such as Viktor & Rolf, Iris van Herpen and Lucas Ossendrijver. ArtEZ is increasingly becoming the home base for researchers in the arts and in design. Since 2002, the Fashion Professorship has played a leading role in developing fashion research and theory in the Netherlands. The Fashion Professorship aims to make a positive contribution to developing new insights and visions for the future of the fashion system in relation to the changing social, economic and technological developments. Since 2012, the Fashion Professorship has been leading CLICKNL – the Dutch national research agenda for fashion and textiles – in which a strong network of researchers, educational institutes and companies has been created. In 2015, the Centre of Expertise Future Makers was initiated, which focuses on the development and application of new materials and manufacturing processes in fashion and design. The ArtEZ Centre of Expertise Future Makers believes that research through creative design practices leads to new insights and thought-provoking questions regarding urgent societal challenges. We envision a more sustainable future in the fields of fashion and design, starting from human values and a more responsible and ethical engagement with material objects that surround our bodies and living spaces.


State of Fashion

The first edition of State of Fashion opens on 1 June 2018 under the title ‘Searching for the New Luxury’, curated by José Teunissen. State of Fashion is a four-yearly fashion event dedicated to a sustainable future, based in Arnhem, the Netherlands. An international and interdisciplinary platform for ideas, experiment, research and collaboration, State of Fashion brings together designers, companies and educators in fashion and textiles with a shared aim of making their design practice and the industry more forward-thinking and fair, as well as more innovative and ecologically solid. The event follows in the footsteps of the successful Arnhem Fashion Biennale, initiated by ArtEZ University of the Arts and the City of Arnhem, which saw five editions between 2007 and 2013. State of Fashion, organised by the Sonsbeek & State of Fashion foundation, is supported by the City of Arnhem, the province of Gelderland and the national Ministry for the Arts, and has ArtEZ and the Museum Arnhem as its main partners.


Fashion Colloquia

The FASHION COLLOQUIA is made up of a core network of 4 institutions (IFM Paris, Parsons New York, LCF London, Domus Milan) connected by their residence and involvement in the four big ‘Fashion weeks’ across the globe and housed at the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. The aim is to attract a rich variety of contributions from a broad selection of people – from academia, media and practice – and utilize contributions for uploading to a newly established international repository for fashion. At each colloquium there will be a mixture of specific themes of particular relevance to the specific location, and series themes, which will allow different sets of contributions to be added and explored. Some events at each of the colloquia will be streamed ‘live’ to pre-registered users. We also aim to upload all the content from each colloquium. Previous Fashion Colloquia addressed a variety of topics, including: local production (Ho Chi Min, July 2016); Sustainable development in social, economic, environmental, cultural and geographic dimensions (Sao Paulo, April 2016); The future of the fashion weeks (Milan, September 2015).


Supported by C&A Foundation

The ‘Fashion Colloquium: Searching for the New Luxury’ is supported by the C&A Foundation. C&A Foundation is a corporate foundation here to transform the fashion industry. We give our partners financial support, expertise and networks so they can make the fashion industry work better for every person it touches. We do this because we believe that despite the vast and complex challenges we face, we can work together to make fashion a force for good.


ArtEZ Studium Generale

ArtEZ Studium Generale is involved in the Fashion Colloquium as knowledge curator. Selected scientific papers and artistic contributions will be presented in a first issue of The Generator, a new digital platform published by ArtEZ Press and Studium Generale.


ArtEZ Press

ArtEZ Press is ArtEZ’s publisher. The publications it puts out stimulate research and theorization within the various disciplines of art education. These publications reflect the richness and diversity of the knowledge and skills available within ArtEZ on the subjects of art, culture and education.


As a visitor of the Fashion Colloquium you can pre-order our Fashion Colloquium book bundle. The bundle includes:

  • Dissolving the Ego of Fashion. Engaging with Human Matters by Daniëlle Bruggeman
  • A Fashion Odyssey. Progress in Fashion and Sustainability by Olivier Assouly et al.

And a free copy of:

  • Beyond Green. Sustainability and Fashion by Karim Benammar et al.

You can pre-order from 1 May until 27 May, and can collect your book bundle at the ArtEZ Press stand during the Fashion Colloquium.

For Dutch editions, please pre-order here.

For English editions, please pre-order here.

The scientific committee is responsible for the selection of abstracts, papers and creative practice proposals, and represents the academic partner institutions.

  • José Teunissen, Professor (London College of Fashion, State of Fashion)
  • Danielle Bruggeman, Professor of Fashion (ArtEZ University of the Arts)
  • Kim Poldner, Professor of Entrepreneurship (Wageningen University & Research)
  • Anneke Smelik, Professor of Visual Culture (Radboud University Nijmegen)
  • Ian King, Professor (London College of Fashion and University of the Arts, London)
  • Jeroen van den Eijnde, Professor of Product Design & Interior Architecture, ArtEZ University of the Arts