DRESSED: The Widespread Role of Clothes, Textile Production and Clothing Concepts in Society Interweaving Perspectives


The Complex Dimensions of Clothing in Society – Interweaving Perspectives and Finding the Big Picture 

The Dress Research Association organises the second 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 in November 2023


Clothing has been central to human existence for many millennia. However, its multifaceted relationship with the various areas of society still needs to be recognised. 

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, it traces the changing eras and their social structures as a collective memory. It, therefore, represents the past, present and future. 

In doing so, clothing reveals wide-ranging information about their wearers, 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, 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. Consequently, clothing can 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 developing new techniques 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 explores 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 and the Narrative of Clothing: How Clothes and Textile Production Characterise Societies

Track 2 — Data Digitalization & Structuring: What can we learn about clothing and society through Data Digitalisation and even AI Learning? 

Track 3 — The Political and Economic Dimensions of Clothing: From Sustainability and Production Concepts to affect and even shaping Social Values