Programme update Fashion in the Anthropocene

Thursday 27th October 2022, 14.00-17.00 NU Building, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

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Today, the fashion industry forcefully promotes its sustainability credentials. From branding and promotion strategies to recycling, resale, rental and reuse, fashion companies are keen to demonstrate awareness of the climate crisis. But are these responses adequate? As the damage the Anthropocene represents for ecosystems becomes clearer, the scale and speed of fashion consumption continues to seriously threaten the environment.

Major contributors to problems of the fashion system include the demand for cheap fashion items, extractive and growth-driven practices, and the creation of conspicuous waste. A complex, global, multi-layered supply chain undermines efforts to redirect fashion industry priorities but there are also moves to improve transparency, recycling, new business models and bio-based materials, but also including reverse trends of gentrification of the vintage markets. Recently, a lawsuit was filed against Swedish fast fashion retailer H&M in New York (August 2022), accusing them of ‘greenwashing.’ The founder of Patagonia recently (September 2022) relinquished ownership of the company to ensure that future profits will be used to combat climate change.

The current event, ‘ Fashion and the Anthropocene: towards a sustainable fashion future’ at Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam, organised by the Environmental Humanities Center (EHC) and the Amsterdam Sustainability Institute (ASI) brings together academics, activists, and non-profit organisations to explore how the fashion system might transition to more ethical, connected, and sustainable futures. What is the role of the consumer? Is the prospect of a ‘good’ fashion industry realistic, and what strategies might have transformative effects? We ask whether the age of the Anthropocene is seeing the fashion industry transition towards sustainability.


14,00-14.10: Introduction Fashion in the Anthropocene

14,10-14,40: Keynote Dr. Mariangela Lavanga (Erasmus University Rotterdam

14.40-15.00: Response to Keynote, by Prof. Dr. Angela McRobbie (Goldsmith’s College, University of London).

15.00-16.00: Pitches of representants of the industry, organisations and museums, panel discussion with speakers and audience. Panel members: Mariangela Lavanga, Marité Flores and Roosmarie Ruigrok.

16.00-17.00: Clothing Swap organised by the Green Office/Drinks reception


Mariangela Lavanga is Associate Professor Cultural Economics and Entrepreneurship. DIT Academic – Design Impact Transition (DIT) is a new platform under the Erasmus University Rotterdam “Strategy 2024”. Academic Coordinator and Head of the Admission Team MA Cultural Economics and Entrepreneurship. Co-founder and Coordinator Minor Fashion Industry. Co-founder Culture.Fashion (supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of The Netherlands).

Angela McRobbie FBA (born 1951[1]) is a British cultural theorist, feminist and commentator whose work combines the study of popular culture, contemporary media practices and feminism through conceptions of a third-person reflexive gaze. She is a professor of communications at Goldsmiths College, University of London. McRobbie’s academic research spans almost four decades, influenced by the work of Stuart Hall and the British sociologists of the school of Birmingham in its inception, and developed from the theoretical traditions of feminism and Marxism, economy, feminism and the rise of neoliberalism.

Marité Flores is an industrial engineer from Chile with a background in fashion business, sustainability, and circular economy. Marité graduated from the London College of Fashion MBA program in 2019. She works at the local, social and circular brand New Optimist as a project manager and is a lecturer at the Master in Innovative Textile Development at Saxion University. She joined Fashion Revolution as a volunteer in 2016 in Chile. While she was studying in London she kept volunteering as a student ambassador at UAL, and in 2022 she joined the Fashion Revolution team in the Netherlands.

Roosmarie Ruigrok (advisor Circular Textiles City of Amsterdam) experienced circular textile expert with a demonstrated history of working in the textiles industry. Skilled in Corporate Social Responsibility, International Relations and market Research. Strong business development professional with a Bachelor’s Degree focused in CSR from Open University Amsterdam.

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