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Critical is the New Black: Fashion in the 21st Century

Photo: Juho Huttunen

In the 21st century, it has become fashionable to claim that fashion is dead. The death of fashion refers to the rise of “fast fashion” which has accelerated the cycle of trends and highlighted ethical problems of fashion production.

CRITICAL IS THE NEW BLACK addresses the negation of fashion. It asks, what are the possibilities of fashion as social commentary and critique beyond consumerism? How can fashion help us reflect and rethink culture, world and ourselves? How can fashion help to create a better future in the face of current cultural, political, economical and climatological challenges?

CRITICAL IS THE NEW BLACK brings together leading scholars of fashion: Professor Hazel Clark (Parsons School of Design, New York), Professor Peter McNeil (University of Technology Sydney), Professor Paula Hohti (Aalto University), Professor Sofia Pantouvaki (Aalto University), Ilari Laamanen (Curator and Project Manager, The Finnish Cultural Institute in New York), Reetta Kalaojo (Chief Curator, EMMA Museum of Modern Art) and Hanne Jurmu (MA Fashion Design student, Aalto University). The event is hosted by Adjunct Professor Annamari Vänskä (Aalto University).

CRITICAL IS THE NEW BLACK is organised jointly with EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art in conjunction with the exhibition For Fashion’s Sake.


13.00 Annamari Vänskä: Introduction: Why Critical Fashion Now?
13.15 Peter McNeil: Fashion and the Instagram Effect
13.30 Paula Hohti: When Did Western Fashion Become ‘Democratic’ – or Did It?
13.45 Sofia Pantouvaki: Beyond the Striped Uniform: Stereotypes and Politics of Identification in WWII Concentration Camp Clothing
14.00 Hazel Clark and Ilari Laamanen: Fashion Curating as the New Critical
14.15 Reetta Kalajo: Curator's Word: Finding the Critical
14.30 Transition to the For Fashion’s Sake! -exhibition where the designer Hanne Jurmu presents the work “Folk Witch on the Path and the Moon Mother Magic”
15.00 Coffee break
15.30 Screening of Eckhaus Latta and Alexa Karolinski’s film Coco – Fall/Winter 2017
16.15 Closing discussion

Participation is included in the museum’s admission fee. Free entrance for students.

This event is in English.

Visit the event website

EMMA - Espoo Museum of Modern Art
Aitio Hall
Ahertajantie 5
02100 Espoo

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Contact for this event:

Annamari Vänskä
Fashion, Clothing and Textile Design
+358 50 337 8465
Reveal e-mail