The BMBF-funded InnoTexGes project organises the first conference in the DRESSED series about the multifaceted relationship between clothing and society and invites interested scholars and designers to submit papers for presentations. The conference will be held via zoom the 22nd to the 24th of June 2022 (Wednesday to Friday). 

Introduction

Clothing has been central to human existence for many millennia. However, its multifaceted relationship to the various areas of society is still vastly underestimated. 

Clothing fulfils a wide range of practical communicative and social functions: It is a creative toolkit that enables us to enhance our skill-set to meet new challenges. It is an artistic language to communicate our personal and cultural narrative. Furthermore, as a collective memory, it traces the changing eras and their social structures and therefore represents the past, present and future. 

In doing so, clothing reveals wide-ranging information about their wearers but also the technological and cultural knowledge, the availability of resources and even the innovation skills of societies. 

Through our clothes, we embody our strategies and give our ideas a concrete form. Producing clothes is a complex task, which is solved by converting creative ideas into a mathematical concept and applying it to a specific problem. Therefore, clothing is a powerful driving force for economic and social networking and the development of new technologies. As a consequence, clothing can even be an essential momentum for significant social change. 

In order to dress, we have repeatedly developed innovative ideas, technologies and concepts over the millennia to face new challenges and creatively express who we are. Equally, we have created outstanding strategies to use valuable resources effectively. Today we are responsible for a sustainable future, and we are developing new strategies using clothes to reshape our social interactions and deepen our interpersonal communication. Therefore, understanding clothing in its complexity is an essential precondition to constantly reinventing ourselves. 

This conference aims to explore the multifaceted relationship between clothing and society through the ages, from the past to the future. The conference intends to open new ways to think about clothing and investigate a complex phenomenon that has been central to human existence for thousands of years and will be central to us in the future. The conference welcomes historical, contemporary and interdisciplinary approaches to the topic and invites contributions from: textile, dress and design researchers, dress and design historians, curators, conservators, archaeologists, and students and scholars in related fields; as well as writers, practitioners, educators and museum professionals who engage with the role of dress in society. The conference provides three tracks to discuss the topic from different perspectives and to interlink textile and design research and practice with data science:

Track 1 — Perspectives on Dress History: Understanding the past and finding the big picture

Track 2 — Pattern Recognition: Structuring data methodically

Track 3 — Creating the Future: Responding to Society

Track 1 Perspectives on Dress History: Understanding the past and finding the big picture

Clothing strikingly characterises the social structures and epochs in their ongoing change through its many functions and diverse qualities. What could be more bound to individual and cultural identity, human beliefs, social behaviour or cultural values than the garments people wore? Historic clothing is layered with such insights, and clothes, like data archives, contain, even after several thousand years, their creators‘ ideas, concepts, and strategies within themselves.

Like forensic scientists, the researchers from the various fields unravel through distinct methods and sources the different layers of the many-sided meaning of our clothes throughout history. There are infinite perspectives and methodological approaches to discover the complex phenomenon from different angles. 

Track 1 aims to explore the various insights we can discover translating the complex language of clothing through versatile data and sources. Furthermore, it intends to discuss how we could put together the different puzzle pieces to investigate the diverse traces that clothing left behind throughout the ages by interlinking perspectives and approaches. Track 1 welcomes all the many-faceted aspects of dress as well as textile and clothing production in society throughout history. Relevant topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Archived Data in the Material Culture
  • New Strategies and Concepts in Historical Textile and Clothing Production
  • Analysing, Reconstructing, Modelling and Testing Historical Clothing and Craftsmanship
  • Clothing as Personal or Collective Memory
  • Reimagining the Relations between Dress and History
  • Exhibiting and Curating the Collective Memory of the Dress
  • The Meaning of Clothing and Fashion in the Context of Historical Texts and Pictorial Sources
  • Understanding Clothing, Fashion and Textile Crafts through Conservation

Track 2 Pattern Recognition: Structuring data methodically

Even though it does not strike us at first glance due to clothing’s artistic expression: producing clothes is solved by converting creative ideas into a mathematical concept and applying it to a specific problem. It is a complex task that almost always includes an impressive fusion of diverse skills, elaborate strategies and creative thoughts. Consequently, a vast amount of wide-ranging information is archived in the material culture and other relevant sources related to the many functions of clothing and clothing production. However, carefully and systematically extracting those data from the sources is just the beginning. 

How can we structure the collected data to gain those interesting hidden insights that go far beyond an individual object or a specific group of sources? How can we achieve methodological and systematical standards and intelligently interlink our data so that the collected information is best possibly comparable, reasonable and in its structure adaptable and expandable? How can we analyse, understand, communicate and exchange relevant information?  

Track 2 aims to explore how to structure and interlink data efficiently and, by doing so, to learn how to problem-solve, think creatively, and ask meaningful questions. Furthermore, it intends to discuss how to wire data and our thoughts by extension. Track 2 welcomes all aspects of data structuring, machine learning, and methodological approaches in this field. Relevant topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Structuring Data-Sets: The Challenges of Data Digitalization
  • Digital Metrics and Evaluation Tools: Analysing, Systemizing and Sharing Data
  • Data Cultures in Dress and Textile Research
  • Decoding Archived Knowledge: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue
  • Practice: Defining Quality Standards and Understanding the Big Picture
  • The Future of our Collective Memory: Data and Data Science 

Track 3 Creating the Future: Responding to Society


Designing clothes is an exceptionally creative and equally problem-solving discipline, responding to recent social and cultural developments and new technologies. Fashion and textile designers creatively invent new clothing concepts or cultivate a unique perspective through their artistic reflections on society. Today, we even widen the range of clothes‘ practical communicative and social functions by implementing new technologies, experimenting with novel materials, and realigning the production process. By doing so, we influence every area of our society and our lives. 

We are equally responsible for a sustainable future, as we are developing new strategies using clothes to reshape our social interactions and deepen our interpersonal communication. How do we want to understand, define, cultivate and design the current role that clothing holds in our society? Which areas of society do we want to involve actively? 

Track 3 aims to explore new ideas for designing, cultivating, and researching the recent role that clothing holds in society through new production strategies, materials, clothing concepts, and practical research approaches. How do we choose to understand and reinvent ourselves through our clothes and create our future? Track 3 welcomes all aspects of designing clothing concepts, creating new production strategies, novel materials and practical research approaches. Relevant topics include, but are not limited to:

  • The Future of our Collective Memory: Design-driven Approaches, Responding to Society
  • An Alternative Archive for the Future: Fashion Now 
  • Interactive and Smart Textiles
  • Smart Materials and Digital Process for Wearable Technology
  • Creating Personalised Clothing: To See and Design in Reverse
  • Designing Systems: Sustainable Ways of Integrating Functional Wear and Fashion into Society

Submit to present

To submit a proposal for a 20-minute presentation at the conference, please email the following information as a .doc or .docx attachment.

  • A 250-word (maximum) abstract (word counting without footnotes and title) that describes your presentation.
  • A 70-word (maximum) biography to be published in the programme.
  • Optional: An image that represents your presentation (with a complete reference/citation)

Procedures for proposals

  1. Please submit your abstract for your presentation by 20 April 2022 via mail@dressconference.org The paper or abstract should indicate the conference track.
  2. Submissions will be reviewed, and acceptance decisions will be issued by 15 May 2022.
  1. The full paper submission for the conference proceedings will be shortly after the conference. The deadline for submitting the conference proceeding papers will be by 25 July 2022.

Please download the Call for Papers here: Call_for_Papers_dressed-conference_final