Aesthetics, Fashion and Psychology
30 June-1 July 2016
London College of Fashion
On Thursday June 30th and Friday 1st July, approximately 100 people attended the first international conference on Aesthetics, Fashion and Psychology hosted at London College of Fashion (LCF) and co-organised by the University of Leeds.
The conference aimed to promote psychological and philosophical study, research and discussion of the aesthetic aspects of fashion. More broadly, the aim was to contribute to research on everyday aesthetics, as well as to offer a distinctive participatory model for interdisciplinary work involving philosophers, psychologists and fashion researchers.
Thursday evening initiated the proceedings with a panel discussion, which was open to the public and produced interesting discussion and debate around the relationships between philosophy, psychology and fashion. Panellists included London-based fashion designer Oscar Quiroz, Hannah Almasi (former editor of Grazia), Dr Carolyn Mair (LCF) and Dr Aaron Meskin (Leeds). Issues taken up by the panel and audience alike included reasons for the relative neglect of fashion by philosophy, recent interest in the psychology of fashion, and importantly the potential role of psychology and philosophy in fashion education.
On Friday, keynote lectures were offered by Dr Cynthia Freeland of the University of Houston (Philosophy) and Professor Claus-Christian Carbon of the University of Bamberg (Psychology). In addition to the keynote lectures papers were delivered by an international group of scholars. Dr. Victor Dura-Villa (Leeds) asked whether moral considerations should affect our aesthetic enjoyment of fashion. Irene Martínez Marín (Murcia) spoke to the role of sentimental emotions in New Sincerity fashion films, while Dr. Jessica Bugg (RMIT) argued for the aesthetic and embodied experience of dress in film. Dr. Carol Gould (Houston) discussed the distinction between having style and being stylish and Gioia Laura Iannilli (Bologna) addressed the neglect of fashion within everyday aesthetics.
In addition to generous support from the BSA, the event drew attention from the British Psychological Society (BPS). To show their support, the BPS London & Home Counties branch contributed £250 to the funding and advertised the Conference in flyers distributed in the BPS’s monthly publication, The Psychologist. Many psychologists attended the event.
In line with the BPA/SWIP Good Practice Scheme, one of the keynote speakers was female, two out of four panellists were female and five of six papers were delivered by women. The conference organisers ensured that arrangements for childcare would be available during the evening panel. A significant majority of the attendees to both the panel and conference were female, many students. Male and female contributors were given equal billing on all conference marketing materials.
A highlight of the event was the graphic facilitation provided by artist Pen Mendonca. Pen produced graphic drawings in response to the key themes raised during the conference and also invited speakers and audience alike to contribute their own images and text to the large works.