HYDERABAD, India — Dept. of Fashion Design, School of Arts & Design, Woxsen University has orchestrated an International Conference on Fashion as a Tool for Social Change (FTSC) last week. The two-day conference surrounded around the theme ‘Cultural Preservation and Innovation,’ has brought together delegates from around the globe, converging on a shared vision of transforming the fashion industry into a force for positive change. The knowledge partners of the conference are IBA Crafts, UP and White House Apparels, Hyderabad.
In a dazzling showcase of creativity and conscience, the Fashion as a Tool for Social Change Conference (FTSC) 2023 unfolded over two days, leaving an indelible mark on the intersection of fashion, culture, and social progress. The event comprised of various keynote speeches, panel discussions, and around 20 paper presentations mainly focusing on fashion and sustainability, cultural and traditional preservation, craft revival, fashion and mental well-being, marginalized communities in fashion, inclusivity and diversity.
During her Keynote Speech, Prof. Margaret Bishop, Adjunct Professor of Strategic Management at Parsons School of Design, USA, delved into the ‘Role of fashion in promoting environmental sustainability’, and urged the industry to take significant strides towards a greener future. Prof. Bishop shared her insights on the dark side of fashion and the role of fashion in promoting environmental sustainability, highlighting the environmental impact of the fashion industry, particularly fast fashion. She further added, “There is a pressing need for sustainable alternatives and collective responsibility of all the stakeholders in promoting environmental sustainability through fashion.”
Nitin Kapoor, CEO and Co-Founder of IBA Crafts has delivered a key note speech on ‘Fashion, Technology & Sustainability.’ He said, “One of the most significant challenges that the sustainable fashion industry faces is managing the supply chain. The use of technology can help in this regard. In fact a lot of companies are adopting to technology-based supply chain management solutions, including Block Chain, AI & ML. These technologies help in maintaining transparency and accountability throughout the supply chain.”
A riveting panel discussion on “Diversity and Inclusion in the Fashion Industry” featured esteemed panellists including Prof. Margaret Bishop, Nitin Kapoor, Dr. Stephen C. Patton, Prof. Puneesh Lamba, Gaurav Logishetty, and Munwar Khan. The discussion explored various aspects such as AI integration, economic development, cultural support, and the role of technology in embracing diversity within the fashion industry.
Dr. Stephen C. Patton, Director (South Asia), El Puerto De Liverpool, Mexico took the stage for the third keynote, presenting ‘Couture Cognition: Cracking the Code of Informed Fashion.’ Dr. Patton shed light on the intricacies of informed decision-making in the world of fashion. He also provided insights on the influence of fashion choices on sustainability and ethical practices. The conference also featured presentations by Fashion Design students on reviving traditional textiles and cultural practices, cancer awareness, colour psychology, and chromotherapies indulging in insightful thoughts and discussions.
The day two of the conference unravelled insightful discussions and presentations on crucial topics such as the representation of marginalized communities in fashion, fashion & body dysmorphia, how fashion can help avoid accidents, help people with dyslexia to improve self-esteem, creating sustainable fashion from deadstock and leftover fabrics: a step towards greener future.
The organizing team, led by Prof. Rajesh Kumar, Fashion Program Director, along with Dr. Sadhna, Vishakha Rao & Anthima Rao, facilitated robust discussions and laid the groundwork for future collaborations in the fashion industry. Aligned with Woxsen University’s core pillars, the conference emphasizes internationalization, industry-academia linkage, and supports Sustainable Development Goals through cross-cultural collaboration, enriching global research and fostering student understanding of diversity and inclusion.