Prof. Ian King was until recently the Professor of Aesthetics & Management in London College of Fashion at the University of Arts, London. He is currently visiting professor at the three universities in Belgium, UK & USA. He has an extremely optimistic viewpoint relating to the design scenario and awareness of responsible fashion in India.
He first initiated the Fashion Colloquia which evolved to be one of the most significant fashion events across the globe. His presence and support during the Fashion Colloquia 2020 at ARCH College in Jaipur made it all the more meaningful.
This Instagram live session hosted by ARCH founder & director Ms. Archana Surana was aimed at highlighting the key developments and insights in the context of responsible fashion in India and around the world.
Here are the highlights of the enlightening session with our very special guest:
There has been an obvious paradigm shift in the field of fashion and in terms of a sense of responsibility after the pandemic. Covid-19 has introduced and given space to some proactive ideologies while accelerating the presence of sustainable fashion around the world.
To begin with, Prof. King addressed the change that this pandemic and lockdown brought to the industry. In his opinion, with the world under quarantine and the economy frozen, industries and professionals got the chance to re-evaluate their roles and responsibilities on a bigger scale and for a better future.
“Fashion itself has the opportunity to take a giant step forward and the young people around the world are given a fresh chance to take the responsibility of making that step possible.”
Referring to India and other countries that are newly emerging in the fashion scenario, he thinks that the most impactful move would be to lead the way instead of following western footsteps. He also added his remarks to the Jaipur Fashion Colloquia by claiming it as his favorite, while making his point as to why countries like India have to lead the path to a responsible future.
Fashion, and its ability to save the world:
Prof. King firmly believes that Fashion has the ability to save the world. His proposal is truly remarkable, as he puts forward the idea of using fashion as a vehicle of ideological dialogue. For instance, professionals like stockbrokers, doctors, engineers are all aware of how they are contributing to society, and all of them have a sense of clothing, a fashion ethic, which they don’t think about that much. But in reality, their fashion choices can convey deeper messages into society and introduce the required sense of responsibility.
Creativity and Perspective in Fashion:
Upon contemplating how much evolution we have already seen in Fashion, it is a little hard to imagine what is the next innovation that’s going to emerge. Our host, Ms. Archana Surana posed this really important question to understand the role of creativity and fresh perspectives in fashion.
According to Prof. King, the notion of creativity covers three aspects: being able to create, being creative, and being at the creation. And these three aspects will become more important when we talk about responsible innovation in the fashion industry.
Adding to his notion of creativity, Prof. King addressed the need for innovation in the industry by inquiring if fashion can still be creative!
“Innovation is about taking what we have and reinventing, redesigning, and rethinking it until it efficiently serves the purpose.”
The cross-cultural interpretations in a global world:
Talking about a Social Entrepreneurship project, Ms. Archana highlighted the fascinating epiphany about the subject – What would social entrepreneurship mean in different cultures? It would of course be interpreted differently.
Similarly, in terms of fashion or fashion heritage, every culture will have its own interpretation of a particular subject.
Realizing the importance of a collaborative community:
Unlike the European countries where individualism is greatly prevalent, Prof. King highlights how India works, thinks, and even leads as a community.
Keeping the focus on this point, Ms. Archana added that to attain a sustainable future, it’s not just the manufacturer who will assume the responsibility – it depends very much on the consumer as well. Since the consumer culture is driven by the creation of desire, there has to be a collaborative effort on the community’s part to assume and uphold these responsibilities.
“Maybe this is a new opportunity for people to unlearn what they already know and adopt fresh ways of thinking.”
New buying habits and their impact on responsible future:
With the pandemic still going on and restrictions in Europe, buying habits have changed significantly and are more welcoming of e-Commerce and online methods.
Now, the interesting take that Prof. King had about this shift of buying habits is whether it’ll have a temporary impact or a more permanent one. For instance, much of shopping in the European countries have now moved to the internet.
This eliminates the sense of community awareness that retail culture had introduced among consumers. When we talk about a responsible future, we have to visualize what the future is going to look like. And for that visualization, it is important to keep track of where we are headed.
It, therefore, becomes imperative for us to be mindful of what we’re leaving behind and how we’re deciding to move forward.
“I’m optimistic about this change because young people have taken it up in a responsible manner.”
“The future of fashion is to turn towards a responsible future and renounce its exploitative past and thus invest in the future well-being of people and our planet. Fashion needs to act now and move forward to take responsibility for its and our future.”
- Summary excerpt from “Fashion Manifesto” drafted during the conclusion of Fashion Colloquia 2020.
Fashion is the primary need that facilitates us with a sense of identity and brings forward notions that can not be expressed by language. All things considered, any step that the industry takes towards a responsible future is an inspiration to everything else in the world. The very idea that moved global experts from 15 different nations to come together and discuss the possibilities of a shared and responsible future is inspiring enough to make us look forward to a brighter future.